Of all of the miserable and awful ideas you run into during training that some 0-7 probably signed off on thinking Marines would love, MILES gear has to be one of the worst. “MILES” is not actually a person, but an acronym (in the military?!) that stands for “Multiple Integrated Laser Engagement System.” At least, that’s what the package says. I’m pretty sure it actually stands for “Annoying, Heavy Asshole Beads Wrapped Around My Head That Beep And Give Me Cancer.” The purpose is basically laser tag–except it’s not because laser-tag is usually fun. It’s like laser tag developed by douchebag fun-nazis that hate Marines in a secret underground lair below the White House.
Basically, prior to a field op, your company spends 6 hours at the armory getting issued this useless shit developed in the 80′s that comes in three pieces. The body, head and rifle attachment. Pretty self-explanatory: you put the cumbersome body gear over your already-too-heavy flak jacket–this is great, because it completely stops you from being able to access any of your regular flak-stuff like magazines and whatnot since it’s so huge and always-in-the-way.
The headpiece is a bunch of sensors that wrap around your kevlar–well, I say sensors, but I really mean condensed lead and possibly uranium since it weighs about 312 lbs. When you’re not fighting to keep your own head up with the extra weight, you’re probably trying to fix it while it continually falls off with even the lightest of regular movement.
The rifle adapter is where the actual laser comes from, you know this because it has a warning sticker on it that warns you of radiation. This is great, because you’re pointing it at your friends and giving them eyeball cancer. It also adds about 40 lbs to the barrel of your rifle, because carrying around a 10 lb jagged-metal baby with you at all times isn’t already annoying enough.
The best part, though, is that in order to let you know that you’re dead, it continually beeps. It doesn’t stop beeping until one of the higher-up guys with a reset gun resets your gear for you. This is awesome because they’re usually nowhere to be found when it happens, and the slightest bump of your rifle will cause one of your own team members to beep uncontrollably.
I’m sure the training meeting starts off something like this, “Oh lets use the MILES gear guys! Marines love that shit!” The Staff NCO’s and Officers in the battalion headquarters all concur that Marines in fact love things the average person would find stupid and cumbersome as hell. They issue the gear to you in a giant unorganized clusterfuck and within 24 hours all the Marines have taken the gear off and put it in their packs so they can actually do some real training.
The simple truth is that the MILES gear adds absolutely nothing to the training. You can do all of the same scenarios and gunplay with just blanks and some coyotes moderating the scenario. A much better solution are SIM rounds, which is basically playing paintball with your real rifles.
Moral of the story? MILES gear sucks balls.
Lastly, I was drinking tonight and I drew this:
I put it up on my portfolio site, take a look!