TRH: Tell me a bit about your background.
I was in the US Navy as a Corpsman, attached to the Marines as they don’t have their own medical staff. I initially joined the Navy in 2006 as a Search and Rescue Swimmer, but I dropped out of that and picked up the Corpsman rating. In 2008 I attended Field Medical Training Battalion to pick up the 8404 (Field Med Tech) NEC (Navy Enlisted Classification), which I graduated from in December 2008. I did two tours to Afghanistan during OEF 9.2 (2009-2010) and OEF 11.2 (2011-2012), then I finished out my last few years at a Naval Hospital up until March 2016 when I separated from the Navy.
What drew you to Airsoft loadouts so close to your professional life?
Originally I wasn’t into kits close to simulating or recreating a certain unit, but instead just ran what I thought was cool and comfortable. I didn’t really start to get into the MILSIM and Impression game until about 2014. At first it was about very relaxed inspirations off the US Navy SEALs, like the camo color and such – nothing too specific; but I had a friend on DEVT6 Group 3 Red Team and he talked to the team leader and got me on as a probie. DT6 had some very strict guidelines into what was appropriate for what we were trying to recreate and so my knowledge, which was very minimal at the time, grew vastly and actually got me more and more addicted to the gear, guns, and overall look. From there over the next few years my knowledge continued to grow as well as my kits and impressions. I now have a SEAL loadout, a MARSOC loadout, USMC Grunt Corpsman loadout, and a few work in progresses like my 2006 NSW kit and Russian FSB kits.
And combining emergency medical care with Airsoft?
Yeah, I have always thought about combining the two. Even as a corpsman I was already combining the two simply by having a bit more of an advanced IFAK, but as for kits based off a unit’s Medic I hadn’t actually recreated one until I dove into the MARSOC and USMC impressions. Since I was a Corpsman who had served with Marines this was very easy for me to do. For my USMC Corpsman kit, I basically just built my kit like I had it on my 2nd deployment. And as for my SARC (Special Amphibious Reconnaissance Corpsman) I basically just built a kit like a normal MSOB Operator and just added the medical aspects to it. So with those 2 kits I could now successfully fill that role as a real world medic while looking the part.
It’s quite rare for players in the UK to be in more than one team. How does being part of DEVTSIX, Blue Diamond Group and MSORT work out?
Haha yeah! I have my work cut out for me there and I’m also actually probie for a Russian FSB impressions team as well. To be honest it’s not that hard to juggle the teams since MSORT 8511 is split between Northern California and Southern California and with the birth of Blue Diamond Group we kinda got absorbed into the fold since they needed members to bolster their ranks. Also since MSORT 8511 is split we never really get a chance to get the full MSORT together to play any games or do any MILSIM events like Milsim West.
As for DEVTSIX, Group 3’s Red Team has become somewhat inactive in the past two years, everyone having different life events going on that made it difficult for us to all get together. But since I love NSW impressions so much and is my “Main” impression I make sure to keep that as up to date and constantly improving it, even though Red Team is inactive.
The only hard part is I have also started my own local team with some friends, for when we go to big events like Milsim West. Our team is called Booty Squad which is a SEAL/MARSOC impressions team. I am The Captain (TC06) and there are about 5 of us that are fully active in SoCal for local games. We have some friends up in the Pacific North West that are like our Washington Chapter, I guess, who merge with us when we do events. So with events like MSW (Milsim West) I now have different avenues I could go with. So it does make it hard choosing which way I’m going to go and which team to represent and run with and I will basically always end up fighting against friends – which is fun!
How much leeway did you have in kit choices in the Navy?
I honestly didn’t have much leeway at all. We had very strict SOPs on personal purchase stuff like pouches, or a chest rig ran over our issued carrier. Really the only thing I had complete leeway on was my medical gear: what I wanted to carry, what kind of pouches or kits I wanted to use, and how I wanted to carry it was all up to me.
Has this professional framework transferred into your Airsoft load out?
It kind of has, but at the same time it’s very hard to really personalize your gear as an impressionist, as some things may be “kosher” for the look and impression and some things may not. Reference pics help a lot with what can be used so I can still customize my pouch layouts and such, as long as I am using the approved gear and kits of the unit being portrayed.
How does your walk-on loadout differ from milsim ones?
My walk on load outs sometimes are my milsim ones, unless it’s a piece of kit I haven’t used in a long time or at all. Like just recently I did a walk on kit with just my Crye aor1 bottoms, a T Shirt, my GHK Block II, and my Allied Industries MBSS, which is actually part of my WIP 2006 NSW kit. It was actually really nice to just kind of throw something together that I wanted to run with without having to worry about an impression or anything.
What piece of kit is working so well you’d recommend others check it out?
I have gone through many kits, pouches, different pouch variation and layout on the same kit, many times. I have sold, bought, traded so much just to get the right feel. Like for my NSW kits at one point I had 5 different plate carriers all setup differently trying to figure out which I liked best from each setup and try to consolidate it into one carrier without over burdening my kit.
I also had 3 MARSOC kits 2 based around the LV-MBAV, and one based around the MBAV. I really liked all three setups but because the variations were so extreme in a sense I could just nitpick from each kit to build just one kit. Finally, for NSW I am down to 1 plate carrier and one chest rig, and for MARSOC, I’m down to just one carrier setup.
The thing about gear is everyone is different so what may work for me may not work for someone else. I can praise a certain kit and setup up and down the street, but ultimately the person who is going to be running that kit has the ultimate say on if it is a good setup or kit for them. And it very well may be, but they may want to make some adjustments and fine tune the kit to match their comfort.
You seem to carry most of your load on your PC/rig and are a relatively light belt user. Is that a deliberate choice?
It is. Funny thing is I like belt rigs a lot, but noticed it starts to become cumbersome when run with a plate carrier. So I’ll either run one or the other unless the plate carrier setup is very minimalist like an LV-MBAV. But I still do run some things on my belt like my pistol, and with that comes another set of problems. I love to carry on the hip but, again, plate carrier impedes my draw. So I’ve either kept the pistol side clear on the plate carrier, or I run a high thigh rig or a very low draw belt loop holster to give me a bit more clearance when drawing my sidearm.
As for a dedicated battle belt I don’t really run one. Just a personal choice as I feel like I have more freedom of movement. Plus a lot of the units I recreate don’t run a lot of battle belt setups.
When does the fanny pack (US)/bum bag (UK) come out to play?
Oh, I love that thing! It comes out with the MARSOC impressions. Just like real world use I usually store medical supplies in it, so it can act as a treatment bag or even IFAK; which is very common in the MSOB community. Since it’s airsoft, it’s more that the fanny pack’s front pouch is used as a “booboo” pouch with first aid supplies. The big rear pouch is “pogi bait” storage, for my snack-a-roos.
I noticed you’ve switched some apparel from Crye to Patagucci. How’s that working out?
So I do own both sets: I own a set of Crye AOR1 NC combat uniform and actually 2 sets of Patagonia in AOR2. The combat shirt is a mid gen L9 combat shirt with same color Velcro on the sleeves, a normal L9 field blouse, the pants are old gen pants which take the Crye knee pads, and a set of newer generation pants that take the VIKP (versatile integrated knee pads). And honestly, I like both a lot – but I do like my Patagonia a little more than my Crye. The material just seems so much lighter and more breathable. I know all the Crye-hard fans are probably going to lynch me for saying that I think Pata is better LOL!
You own an awesome AOR1 Eagle Aero. What persuaded you to drop a not inconsiderable sum on it?
Ah yes…the newest pride and joy of my kit collection. What I really wanted to do was be one of the few to own it, for one; but I also really wanted to be one of the few impressionists – if not the only one – to have a fully updated 2016 NSW kit. I had an MMAC just before the Aero, but ever since I’d done a bit of work with the teams for a small training evolution, just seeing all the Aeros made me want one so bad!
At first it was a very huge pipe dream, but a gear resale friend of mine happened upon one in size small and was selling it for $1000. Of course, at the time I didn’t have a grand to drop, and of course someone scooped it up within a day. Well I had messaged my friend to see if he was holding out on me and he had tipped me off that he may have another one coming in, in medium, and he would give it to me for the same price. Soon as I heard that, that’s when I started liquidating kit. In total I had gotten rid of 3 plate carriers, a handful of pouches, some weapon accessories, and a set of Crye AC in Multicam.
My wife nearly killed me when it came in and I told her how much it was, but what was the saving grace was that I thinned out the collection to pay for it.
Lastly, your NGRS Mk17 is really nicely done, with bipod etc; looks like a labour of love?
Yes, it was a labor of love, actually all my rifles are labors of love. I try to make sure they are as accurate as possible to what’s currently being fielded or was fielded at that time, save of course for some minor things like body trades, and accessories trades, as I don’t really care if an item has trades or not as long as it replicates the actual piece being used.
But yes, my TM NGRS MK17 did take a while to get 100% accurate. Took me a while to track down a retailer that would sell and ship a Novel Arms Tac One scope, which is the Night Force 1-4x NXS replica, the MK17 AAC style suppressor, and the replica Atlas Bipod. It was actually setup to resemble the MK17 a NSW Operator would use, but as luck would have it, the setup was also MARSOC appropriate as well. So I had killed 2 birds with one stone.
A huge thanks to Proxxy04 for his words and pics 🙂