1) The new body armor: Thumbs up. Relatively light at approx. 6 lbs. and can reliably be expected to soak up small shrapnel and even will stop an AK-47 round.
The bad news: Hot as sh-t to wear, almost unbearable in the summer heat (which averages over 120 degrees). Also, the enemy now goes for head shots whenever possible. All the bull sh-t about the “old” body armor making our guys vulnerable to the IED’s was a non-starter. The IED explosions are enormous and body armor doesn’t make any difference at all in most cases.
2) Night Vision and Infrared Equipment: Thumbs way up. Spectacular performance. Our guys see in the dark and own the night, period. Very little enemy action after evening prayers. More and more enemy being whacked at night during movement by our hunter-killer teams. We’ve all seen the videos.
3) Lights: Thumbs up. Most of the weapon mounted and personal lights are Surefire’s, and the troops love’em. Invaluable for night urban operations. A buddy carried a $34 Surefire G2 on a neck lanyard and loved it. I can’t help but notice that most of the good fighting weapons and ordnance are 50 or more years old! With all our technology, it’s the WWII and Vietnam era weapons that everybody wants! The infantry fighting is frequent, up close and brutal. No quarter is given or shown.