Countermeasure October 1997 by maclaren1


									VOL 18 NO 10   OCTOBER 1997

    Peering into the darkness
                BC dies in night
                operation accident

                         wo soldiers operating an M3A2,               As the two vehicles turned off onto a
                         Cavalry Fighting Vehicle(CFV),            tank trail, the HMMWV encountered a
                         encountered catastrophe while             mud hole. The NCOIC decided to return
                en route from a Unit Maintenance                   to the MSR and wait until daylight to
                Collection Point(UMCP) back to their               continue. As he drove past the CFV he
                troop assembly area.                               shouted (in the dark, over the engine
                    The gunner acting as the Bradley               noise of both vehicles and through the
                Commander(BC) and the assigned                     CVC helmet) for the BC to turn around
                driver were escorted from the UMCP by              and follow him to the MSR. The NCOIC
                a HMMWV at approximately 2000                      returned to the MSR, allowing the CFV
                hours. The BC used the AN/PVS 7-B                  operated by two Specialists to continue
                Night Vision Goggles(NVG) and the                  on by itself to the Assembly Area. When
                driver was using the AN/VVS-2,                     they arrived at the Assembly Area the
                Driver’s Night Vision Viewer(DNVV).                Troop was no longer there. The BC
                Visibility was limited by the near zero            called the Platoon Leader(PLT LDR) for
                illumination that night. The blackout              new instructions. The PLT LDR told him
                drive headlights were not used to assist           to go to the Troop Operations
                in movement because it was not                     Center(TOC). He also warned him of an
                consistent with unit SOP.                          arroyo that was near the TOC. The BC
                                                                                            did not have a
                                                                                            map so he could
                                                                                            not ascertain the
                                                                                            exact location of
                                                                                            the hazard in
                                                                                            relation to his
                                                                                            path to the TOC.
                                                                                            The BC radioed
                                                                                            the TOC OIC for
                                                                                            the grid
                                                                                            The OIC
                                                                                            suggested to the
                                                                                            BC that “his best
                                                                                            bet was to go to
                                                                                            ground” due to
                                                                                            the visibility and
                                                                                            the arroyo to the
                                                                                            north of the TOC.
                                                                                            The BC continued
                                                                                            towards the TOC
                                                                                            aided by the
                                                                                            NVG and the
                                                                                            DNVV. One hour
                                                                                            later the CFV
                                                                                            drove over a 14
                                                                                            foot cliff(arroyo),
  BC died as a result of this accident. Accident occurred during near zero illumination     landing on its
  while en route to unit location.                                                          turret and killing
                                                                                            the BC.

October 1997 Countermeasure                                   2
   n The AN/VVS-2, Driver’s Night                   n Ensure that the brightness is set
Vision Viewer(DNVV) for track vehicles,          using a target that is 50 feet away. If the
is a second generation night device              target cannot be clearly seen at 50 feet,
which is not very effective for detailing        notify unit maintenance so the VVS-2 can
differences in terrain, especially depth         be properly adjusted.
perception.                                         n Use a high contrast target, the best
   The AN/VVS-2 is a passive night               is NSN 5855-01-027-1567, listed in the
vision imaging device that uses an image         AN/VVAS-2 technical manual. Too
intensification tube similar to the night        much brightness can wash out detail,
vision goggles (NODs). Like the NODs,            and too little brightness can make the
the VVS-2s amplify ambient illumination          overall scene too dark.
and present an image of the viewed                  AN/PVS-7 operators should go
scene. These night vision devices are            through the focusing procedure listed in
terrific combat multipliers and, when            the operator’s manual. When focusing
operators are                                                           the NVGs, be sure to
properly trained and                                                    also focus on a high
the device limitations                                                 contrast target. (See
are planned for,
make night
                            Night vision                               Feb 96
operations more             devices are                                article “Less is
effective, easier and                                                  More” with NVGs.)
safer.                    terrific combat                              Normally, when
   Several other
accidents involving      multipliers and,                              using the PVS-7s on
                                                                       vehicles, the goggles
VVS-2s have revealed
some consistent          when operators                                objective lens should
                                                                       be focused at infinity
problem areas that
leaders, planners,          are properly                               or all the way to the
                                                                       clockwise stop. The
and users can easily
and quickly resolve.       trained, make                               eyepieces should be
                                                                       focused for
   The use of the
VVS-2 by the vehicle
                         night operations                              individual acuity but
                                                                       should always be
driver, combined
with the vehicle
                          more effective,                              “plused up”. To
                                                                       “plus up” the PVS-
AN/PVS-7’s is an
                         easier and safer.                             7s, make the basic
                                                                       focus adjustments,
effective                                                               then take the
combination when                                                        individual diopter
both devices are optimized. The proper           or eyepiece rings and slowly turn them
use of this combination can reduce the           counterclockwise. If the image instantly
mission risk level. To optimize these            gets fuzzy, stop and go back to the
devices, operators must ensure all pre-          original setting. If the image stays clear,
operational checks are completed.                continue counterclockwise until it gets
   In the case of the VVS-2, operators           fuzzy and then re-adjust clockwise until
must ensure the mirrors or prisms and            the image is clear. (When operators
the eyepieces are clean. In addition to          “over minus” the eyepiece or diopter
preventive maintenance checks and                ring, the eye muscles accommodate and
services (PMCS), operators should pay            the scene is seen clearly. However, the
close attention to the Operating                 muscles can become tired after a while
procedures listed in paragraph 2-5 of            and cause eye strain and headaches.)
TM 11-5855-249-10, Driver’s Night                   When operating with both the VVS-2
Vision Viewer Operator’s Manual. This            and PVS-7, operators should recognize
paragraph is very often overlooked by            two not-so-obvious issues:
users but is key in optimizing the device.       n All VVS-2s are second generation
   When adjusting the brightness of the          image intensifiers. Resolution or how
device, users must consider two very             well you can see with them will
important elements:                              normally be poorer than with the PVS-7s

                                             3                                October 1997 Countermeasure
                 regardless of the generation of tube in                 Many TCs use the PVS-7s like
                 the NVG. PVS-7 users will be able to see            binoculars rather than mounting the
                 things clearer and should not assume the            NODs because of the difficulty of
                 driver using the VVS-2 can see the same             moving up and down in the cupola.
                 things. The majority of PVS-7s have                 When the PVS-7s are used like
                 third-generation tubes in them. Leaders             binoculars, TCs should know that when
                 should identify the PVS-7s that have                they first remove the NODs from their
                 third generation tubes in them by using             face, their eyes are not fully dark
                 the TS-4348 so they can be used on the              adapted. It will take 2 to 3 minutes for
                 darker nights. A smaller target can be              their vision to fully adapt every time
                 discerned with the third generation                 they remove the goggles. This will
                 NVG. (Presently, there is not a program             reduce the TC’s ability to see at night.
                 to upgrade the VVS-2 with newer                         There are times when there is not
                 generation tubes. The long term fix is to           enough light for the devices to work
                 field the Driver’s Vision Enhancement               well without supplemental lights. The
                 [DVE], a thermal imaging system).                   use of low-intensity lights like black out
                 n When using these systems together,                drive and black out marker lights can
                 there are different viewing angles for              make large improvements in the device’s
                 each of the systems. Because the VVS-2              resolution. If the tactical situation limits
                 is located lower on the vehicle than the            the use of blackout drive lights,
                 TC’s head, the driver has a flatter                 commander’s should consider the use of
                 viewing angle, which will hide some                 ground guides to reduce the risk when
                 obstacles the TC can see using the PVS-             dangerous terrain or obstacles are
                 7s . The fact that the TC can see things            present in the area. Commanders
                 that the driver cannot makes crew                   should make a Risk Assessment to
                 coordination important when these two               determine if ground guides or other
                 devices are used together.                          controls are necessary to reduce the risk
                                                                                         of a tragedy like the
                                                                                         one described above.
                                                                                            An important point
                                                                                         leaders should
                                                                                         consider is that
                                                                                         operator training is
                                                                                         key to the safe,
                                                                                         effective use of the
                                                                                         NVDs. Not only
                                                                                         should the basic night
                                                                                         vision training be
                                                                                         thorough and
                                                                                         detailed, leaders must
                                                                                         know that NVD
                                                                                         proficiency is highly
                                                                                         perishable. The unit
                                                                                         training program
                                                                                         should include time to
                                                                                         update training on
                                                                                         this equipment. Just
                                                                                         because a driver used
                                                                                         the VVS-2 during the
                                                                                         last NTC rotation does
                                                                                         not mean the driver
                                                                                         can to do the same
                                                                                         missions six months
                                                                                         later without refresher
A soldier uses a special light designated for Night Vision use to locate equipment.      training.
This type of lighting devices are essential on nights when the illumination levels are   Commanders must
very low and NVD operations could not occur.                                             ensure that they have

October 1997 Countermeasure                                     4
a driver’s night training program
that familiarizes drivers with how
to check all night vision devices to
ensure they are operating within
                                          Night convoys
required parameters. Drivers must                   onvoys have their own hazards; night
become very familiar with the -10                   operations increase them. For convoying with
for the VVS-2s. It explains in                      NVDs, leaders must ensure that soldiers are
detail how to ensure that the sight       trained on tactics, techniques, and procedures. The
is functioning properly. Sight            following guidelines will help leaders get their equipment
must also be serviced at the              where it is needed.
required interval and documented.             n Brief drivers to look not only ahead of the vehicle
    In the accident described several     but also down to the side occasionally to maintain
other control measures could have         awareness of their speed over the ground.
been implemented which may                    n Standardize vehicle lighting.
have reduced the severity of the              n Ensure all vehicle windows are clean.
accident or eliminated it                     n Establish assistant driver’s role and responsibilities.
completely.                                   n Brief all participants on route, road conditions, and
n The BC was standing out of the          other METT-T factors.
hatch at waist level. This may not            n Develop procedures for communication problems;
have allowed the BC sufficient            i.e. a vehicle loses contact with the vehicle in front.
time to get into the turret when the          n Develop procedures to avoid obstructing traffic for
vehicle started to fall. Had the BC       mechanical problems.
been at name tag defilade he may              n Specify ambush, air attack, and other procedures.
have made it into the turret.                 n Ensure that drivers know standard emergency
Although not doctrine in the              signals and procedures outlined in FM 21-305, figures A-
Bradley community, commanders             4, A-5, and A-6.
should consider enforcing name                n Know and use the 5-step risk-management process
tag defilade when conducting              in every facet of convoy planning and execution:
operations.                                   1. Identify the hazard
n The M3A2 crew was not using                 2. Assess the hazard
the blackout drive headlight to               3. Make risk decisions
supplement the near zero                      4. Control or eliminate the hazard
illumination. Policy was that scout           5. Supervise
vehicles don’t use the blackout
drive headlight. If visibility is low
and the tactical situation restricts
the use of black out drive then a
ground guide should have been
n The BC did not have a map to
assist in the identification of terrain
features. He was solely relying on
the plugger for navigation.
    The identification of hazards
and the implementation of
effective controls if properly
supervised will prevent the
needless loss of a soldier’s life.
The breakdown in this accident
was not in identifying the hazard
but in implementing and
supervising the controls which
were available.
POC: LTC Pete Simmons for the
accident, DSN 558-2926 and CW5
Bobby Brooks for night vision, DSN

                                          5                               October 1997 Countermeasure
              Aggressive drivers?
               “W                      e estimate that
                                       about one-third of
                                       these crashes and
               about two-thirds of the resulting
               fatalities can be attributed to behavior
                                                                the Subcommittee, he explained that for
                                                                years the highway safety spotlight has
                                                                been focused on the impaired driver, the
                                                                speeding driver, and the unbelted driver
                                                                and passengers. Today we must add the
               associated with aggressive driving”              aggressive driver to the list of those
               stated the Honorable Richard Martinez,           contributing to the problems on our
               MD, Administrator National Highway               nation’s roads and highways.
               Traffic Safety Administration on July 17,        Aggressive drivers exhibit “driving
               1997, when he addressed the U.S. House           behavior that endangers or is likely to
                  of Representatives. In his address to         endanger people or property”. This
                                                                definition includes a diverse range of
                                                                driving behaviors, ranging from erratic
                                                                or abnormal maneuvers and escalating
                                                                into dueling or violence on the road.
                                                                Aggressive drivers are most
                                                                likely to:
                                                                n Speed, tailgate, fail to yield, weave in
                                                                   and out of traffic, pass on the right,
                                                                     make improper and unsafe lane
                                                                     changes, run stop signs and red
                                                                     lights, make hand and facial
                                                                      gestures, scream, honk, and flash
                                                                        their lights
                                                                         n Climb into the anonymity of
                                                                          an automobile and take out
                                                                          their frustrations on others at
                                                                            any time
                                                                             n Allow high frustration
                                                                             levels to diminish any
                                                                             concern for fellow motorists
                                                                        n Be impaired by alcohol or
                                                                         drugs, and drive unbelted or
                                                                         take other unsafe actions
                                                                        What causes aggressive
                                                                        Three factors in particular are
                                                                        linked to aggressive driving:
                                                                         (1) Lack of responsible driving
                                                                        (2) Reduced levels of traffic
                                                                     (3) Increased congestion in our
                                                                     urban areas.
                                                                      Aggressive driving
                                                                      countermeasures. Focus on the 3
                                                                    E’s: education, enforcement, and

October 1997 Countermeasure                                 6
What can we do now?
n Don’t become part of the problem
                                                 Questions and Answers
n Don’t personalize or challenge                 on Commercial Drivers
n Report aggressive driving behavior             Licenses(CDL)
The good news is that we are beginning
to see an increased nationwide awareness
of the consequences of aggressive                The following questions and
driving. A few recent cases have charged         corresponding answers are in
aggressive drivers with negligent                response to an article published in the
homicide.                                        July 1997 issue of Countermeasure.
Conclusion. Seat belts are the best
defense against aggressive driving! Seat         Question 1: Are school and church bus
belts are now saving 9,500 lives annually.
A person is twice as likely to die or            drivers required to obtain a CDL?
sustain a serious injury in a crash if
unbelted. The experience of 11 States            Answer: Yes, if they drive vehicles
that already have a primary seat-belt use        designed to transport 16 or more people.
law has shown that these laws are one of
the most effective strategies for                Question 2: Do mechanics, shop
increasing seat belt—use and saving              helper, and other occasional drivers need
   The testimony can be found on                 a CDL if they are operating a Civilian               motor Vehicle(CMV) or if they only test
testimony/aggres2.html SUBJECT:                  drive a vehicle?
Aggressive Drivers
   When Confronted by Aggressive                 Answer: Yes, if the vehicle is operated
Drivers. Get out of their way. Do not
challenge them by speeding up or                 or test-driven on a public highway.
attempting to “hold your own” in your
travel lane.                                     Question: Do active duty military
   Wear your seat belt; not only will it         personnel not wearing military uniforms,
hold you in your seat and behind the             qualify for a waiver from CDL
wheel in case you need to make an
abrupt driving maneuver, but it will
                                                 requirements if the CMVs are rental
protect you in a crash.                          trucks or leased buses from the General
n Avoid eye contact.                             Services Administration?
n Ignore gestures and refuse to return
them.                                            Answer: Yes, the driver(s) in question
n Report aggressive drivers to the               do not need to be in military uniform to
appropriate authorities by providing a
vehicle description, license number,             qualify for the waivers as long as they
location, and if possible, direction of          are on active duty and the vehicle is
travel.                                          owned or operated by the Department of
n Don’t block the passing lane, do not           Defense.
block the road while talking to a
n Don’t tailgate.                                Question: Does the waiver of the CDL
n Don’t switch lanes without first               requirements for military personnel
signaling.                                       include National Guard technicians?
n Don’t raise your middle finger, you
may be playing Russian roulette.                 Answer: Yes, the waiver includes
n Use your horn sparingly.
n Avoid the turning lanes if you are not
                                                 National Guard civilian technicians.
n Do not take more then one parking

                                             7                       October 1997 Countermeasure
              place, do not park in handicapped                blades, and swords.
              parking, do not allow your door to tap           n Hurled projectiles, beer, liquor bottles,
              another vehicle and look before backing          rocks, coins, soda cans, and garbage.
              up.                                              n Other clubs, crowbars, lead pipes,
              n Don’t approach a vehicle from the rear         batons, 4X4 timbers and canes(with the
              with high beams and then dim your                elderly)
              lights as soon as you pass alongside that        n Defensive sprays, Mace and pepper
              vehicle.                                         spray.
              n Don’t let the car phone become a               n Miscellaneous, eggs, water pistols.
              distraction.                                        Domestic violence plays a significant
              n When buying an alarm, select one that          role in aggressive violence. Spouses and
              turns off after a short period of time.          lovers often take to the road to vent their
              n Refrain from showing any type of               rage. When the flames of passion burn
              bumper sticker or slogan that could be           out, love turns to hate. Incidents
              offensive.                                       involving hate or racism occur among
                 If you have a “Cell” phone, and can           every ethnic group. These disputes are
              do it safely, call the police; many have         usually committed by groups of men
              special numbers (e.g. 9-1-1 or #77). If an       and are directed towards a specific
              aggressive driver is involved in a crash,        group(s) and the victims are usually
              stop a safe distance down the road from          sought out.
              the crash scene, wait for the police to             Some aggressive drivers are
              arrive and report the driving behavior           struggling with their own inner demons
              that you witnessed.                              and are just angry at the world.
                 Avoid the challenges or                       Frequently they vent their anger by
              confrontations of an aggressive driver           crashing through offices, homes,
              and support law enforcement’s efforts to         hospitals, schools or other properties.
              rid the streets and highways of this             Aggressive drivers have intentionally
              menace.                                          plowed their vehicles into crowds of
                 Examples of violent traffic disputes:
              Each of the quotes listed below were             Some control measures for the
              taken from incidents that resulted in a          person who feels frustration when
              death or serious injury:                         driving:
              n “It was an argument over a parking             n Alter your schedule.
              place”.                                          n Change your route for variety.
              n “He cut me off”.                               n Improve the comfort of your vehicle.
              n “She wouldn’t let me pass”.                    n Concentrate on relaxation when in
              n “Because he hit my car”.                       traffic.
              n “Nobody gives ME the finger”.                  n Don’t drive angry.
              n “Because they were playing their radio         n Give the other driver the benefit of the
              too loud”.                                       doubt.
              n “The Mth! kept honking their horn”.            n Allow more time to arrive.
              n “They were driving too slowly”.                n Relax, relax, relax. Driving relaxed
              n “Braking and accelerating, braking and         may take more time, but an accident or
              speeding up”.                                    confrontation will guarantee you’ll be
              n “They kept crossing lanes without              late. The outcome is also often
              signaling-—maybe I overcorrected but it          permanent death or injury.
              taught them a lesson”.                              Additional information can be found
              n “I never would have shot him if he             in the AAA Foundation, Three Studies,
              hadn’t rear-ended me”.                           1440 New York Avenue, NW Suite 201,
                                                               Washington, D.C. 2005on the Internet at
              Weapons used by aggressive             
                                                               POC: Mr Al Brown, Force Management
              n Fists and feet.                                Division, U.S. Army Safety Center, DSN
              n Tire irons and jack handles.                   558-9377 (334-255-9377), e-mail
              n Baseball bats.                       
              n Knives, bayonets, ice picks, razor

October 1997 Countermeasure                                8
‘Tis the Season to be…
          s the days begin to shorten and the            hunters can). Most states have a minimum
          evening air turns briskly cool, many of        amount that you must wear, so check your local
          us will feel a quiet desperation and           game laws.
almost longing for the woods on a bitter cold            n NEVER wear blue or red during Turkey
day. This feeling is commonly referred to as             season. You might be mistaken for a Turkey.
buck fever. You can almost taste the excitement          n NEVER wear brown or white during deer
as many hunters around the country eagerly               season. These are the primary colors of a deer
await the opening of their favorite season.              and you may get shot at by mistake. It is
    Most of us won’t think of Risk Management            important to note that these rules apply to all
as part of our preparations for the onset of the              people in the woods during hunting season,
season. However, Risk Management is                                 no matter what the reason.
necessary if we want to see the                                           2. Never carry a deer or turkey on
next season. We must                                                        your shoulder through the woods.
apply the same thought                                                       Carry it as low as possible. It is
process to our recreation                                                     also a good idea to mark it with
as we do our work. It is                                                       blaze orange to prevent
imperative to protect                                                           someone else from shooting at
ourselves from hazards                                                          it.
that each type of hunt                                                          3. Never shoot at sound or
presents.                                                                       movement. Make sure you
   Almost every state now has                                                    identify your target before you
a requirement for hunter safety                                                   shoot. Make sure you also
course if born after a certain                                                    check the background. Don’t
date. These courses are                                                          shoot if you’re uncertain
interesting, informative and                                                    where the bullet might end up.
have significantly reduced                                                      4. If you see another hunter,
hunting accident rates. If you                                                   but are concealed from his
have never attended one or its                                                   view, step out into the open so
been awhile, it might be a good                                                   he can see you.
idea to get a refresher. Another                                                  5. Make sure everyone in the
way to approach the course is to                                                 hunting party knows where
go with a young hunter and help                                                  each other is hunting and pre-
teach the next generation of                                                    coordinate any movements.
hunters.                                                                       6. Use a flashlight and unloaded
   Hunting is one of the safest                                               weapon when moving in
sports in terms of the ratio of                                              darkness. Always carry a spare
people involved to people injured or                                 flashlight.
killed. However, due to the nature of the sport,         7. Never use your scope for binoculars.
most accidents have drastic results. If hunting is       8. When in a ground stand or a blind keep a rock
to survive as a safe sport, hunters must apply           or tree to your back to prevent getting shot in the
Risk Management when they go into the field.             back.
   The most frightening hazard when hunting is           9. Always handle firearms as if they were loaded.
the risk of being shot by another hunter. There          Never assume someone is handing you an
are several controls if thought about ahead of           unloaded weapon. Visually check it and then
time and implemented properly will reduce the            treat it as if it is still loaded.
risk of becoming an accidental target.                   10. Make sure someone knows where you’re
1.The proper dress for the type of season open.          going and when you plan to return. Never hunt
n BLAZE ORANGE during deer season. The                   alone. t
more the better(the deer can’t see it; but other

                                                     9                        October 1997 Countermeasure
                  Understanding your
                  ballistic helmet…
                 Sized To Provide Comfort and Protection?

                            ecent surveys conducted by the            and above both ears. Second, head
                            U.S. Army Natick Research,                length is measured using calipers.
                            Development and Engineering               Lastly, the head width is measured by
                  Center found that the Helmet, Ground                using the calipers. The soldier is then
                  Troops and Parachutist’s (PASGT),                   issued a helmet based on the largest of
                  better known as the Kevlar® Helmet, is              the three measurements.
                  not being properly fitted. One of the               A properly fitted helmet will—
                  major reasons for conducting the                    n Maintain a minimum ½-inch stand-off
                  surveys was to obtain data on how                   from your head in all directions for
                  soldiers are sized for issuance of a                cooling and ballistics.
                  helmet. A large percentage of the                   n Be stable, whether marching, running,
                  respondents stated that they were asked             or hitting the dirt.
                  “What size hat do you wear?”, then                  n Be compatible with your weapons,
                  issued a helmet based on their hat size.            equipment and clothing, even in the
                     Determining the correct size helmet to           prone position.
                  issue is the responsibility of the Central          n Provide comfort and protection.
                  Issue Facility (CIF) that services your             The PASGT helmet is the best ballistic
                  unit or installation. The proper                    protective helmet in the world.
                  procedure for sizing the PASGT includes             However, if not properly sized, the
                  obtaining three separate measurements               helmet may not provide the protection
                  of the head. The first measures the                 that it was designed to provide. Before
                  circumference of the head using a tape              you leave CIF the next time, ask yourself
                  measure placed just above the eyebrows              “Does my helmet fit properly?”
                                                                      Remember that a projectile that hits the
                                                                      helmet will cause an indentation, and the
                                                                      kinetic energy of the impact will
                                                                      dissipate over the surface of the helmet.
                                                                      Proper sizing is critical to this process.
                                                                         U.S. Army Natick Research,
                                                                      Development and Engineering Center
                                                                      has written an instruction pamphlet for
                                                                      the helmet. The title is This is your
                                                                      Ballistic Helmet. The instruction
                                                                      pamphlet comes with each new helmet
                                                                      from the manufacturer. Try to get a
                                                                      copy from your CIF and become familiar
                                                                      with its contents. Additional
                                                                      information can be obtained from the
                                                                      Natick homepage http://www-
                                                            , or by contacting Mr.
                                                                      Scott Bennet, DSN 256-5442, (508)233-
                                                                      5442, e-mail sbennet@natick-
This close-up photo shows permanent deformation to a Kevlar           POC: MSG William R. Gunter, U.S. Army
helmet that occurred when struck with a fragment simulating           Safety Center, DSN 558-2913, comm’l
projectile, during testing. The need for the ½ standoff that a        (334)255-2913, e-mail gunterw@safety-
properly sized helmet allows is clearly illustrated.        

October 1997 Countermeasure                                      10
Hazard alert for tactical
laser pointers
         he use of potentially hazardous           viewer will only see (at most) a very
         near-infrared laser diodes is             weak “red” dot. Therefore, individuals
         becoming widespread in many               could stare directly into hazardous
applications. Hazards have been                    levels of laser radiation at close range
identified by the laser safety community.          and not realize the serious risk to the
Users of these products need to be                 eye. Individuals should never look at
alerted to the hazards associated with             the laser from within the beam. Buyers
these devices.                                     should be wary of seller claims of device
                                                   safety, unless the laser is clearly labeled
Devices of concern                                 a Class 1 laser product IAW Title 21
One device has raised particular                   CFR, Part 1040. This information, by
concern—the tactical laser pointer.                law, must be on the label.
Relatively inexpensive, readily available
and powered by common batteries, these             How devices are promoted
small lasers can produce a very narrow,            These laser pointers are currently
powerful beam that can be used in night            marketed to military organizations
operations for aiming fire, illuminating           through mailing brochures and electro-
targets and area marking. One accident             optics trade shows. Although some of
has occurred to date, from an individual           these devices contain warning labels,
staring into this type of device. These            many have been erroneously advertised
Class 3b laser products range in power             as “eye safe.”
from 5mW to 500mW, and they can
cause serious eye injury if used                   How to use the devices safely
improperly. Examples of tactical                   Users of the laser pointer must never
pointers of concern are the Torch, LPL-            aim the pointer at unprotected
30 and the GCP-1. The AN/PAQ-4                     personnel. Users could also unscrew
series of tactical laser pointers are Class        the case enough to disable the power
1 IAW ANSI Z136.1 and are not                      source or remove the batteries when
hazardous. An exemption label has been             storing it in their shirt pocket or
affixed to these devices indicating they           rucksack. These devices are not
have been exempted from Title 21, Code             flashlights and should not be used
of Federal Regulations(CFR) Part 1040,             haphazardly.
Performance Standards for Light
Emitting Products. This label suggests             Conclusion
the use of personal protective equipment           Despite their size and the fact that most
and procedures when operating these                are powered by small, commonly
devices. However, during normal                    available batteries, these tactical
operation, the use of personal protective          pointing devices can cause, and have
equipment and procedures is not                    caused, eye damage as a consequence of
necessary.                                         improper operation. The device should
                                                   be clearly labeled a Class 1 laser IAW 21
Hazard identification                              CFR 1040; if not, the organization listed
The hazard is limited to the unprotected           below should be contacted before using
eyes of individuals who look at the laser          these systems.
from within the direct beam. No skin
hazard exists. These lasers are infrared,          POC U.S. Army Center for Health
                                                   Promotion and Preventive Medicine
thus the beam normally is not visible to           ATTN: MCHB-DS-L Aberdeen Proving
the unaided eye. Even looking directly             Ground, MD 21010-5422 Phone: DSN 584-
into the beam at a very close range a              3932/2331 Comm’l (410)671-3932

                                              11                                October 1997 Countermeasure
Maintenance Advisory
Message for the M16A2 Rifle
R       ecently, there have been several reports of accidental firing of the M16A2 rifle.
        TACOM-ACALA has issued Maintenance Advisory Message(MAM) NO. 97-14 for the
        M16A2 rifle.
   The MAM does not contain safety-of-use information, but directs all users to perform the
function check described in TM 9-1005-319-10 THE OPERATOR’S MANUAL M16A2 RIFLE
prior to firing the weapon.

                          MAKE SURE THE WEAPON IS CLEAR
  1. SAFE
  Pull the charging handle to the rear. Place the selector lever on safe. Pull the trigger. The
  hammer should not fall.
  2. SEMI
  Place the selector lever in semi. Pull trigger. Hammer should fall. Holding the trigger to rear,
  charge the weapon and release the trigger slowly without hesitation until the trigger is fully
  forward (an audible click should be heard). Hammer should not fall. Repeat a second time.
  3. BURST
  Place selector lever in burst. Charge weapon and squeeze trigger. Hammer should fall.
  Holding the trigger to the rear pull the charging handle to the rear and release it three
  times. Release trigger. Squeeze trigger. Hammer should fall.
     If any faults are found during the function check notify the unit armorer. The weapon is
  Non-Mission Capable until the faults are corrected at the proper level of maintenance.
     Normal range safety precautions shall be followed at all times. When not in a range
  training situation, normal firearms safety precautions shall be followed; i.e., always point
  weapon in a safe direction, always assume weapon is loaded, always clear weapon before
  disassembly, cleaning, inspecting, transporting, or storing.

  POC: Mr. Neal Christianson, AMSTA-AC-ASIR, DSN 793-0034,

                                                               Report of Army ground accidents; published by the
                                                               U.S. Army Safety Center, Fort Rucker, AL 36362-
                                                               5363. Information is for accident prevention
                                                               purposes only. Specifically prohibited for use for
                                                               punitive purposes or matters of liability, litigation,
                                                               or competition. Address questions about content to
                                                               DSN 558-2688 (334-255-2688). Address
                                                               questions about distribution to DSN 558-2062

                                                               Burt S. Tackaberry
                                                               Brigadier General, USA

October 1997 Countermeasure                       12

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