User doc for Idea number 483

Here's the product definition draft pdf of the owner's manual. Again, sorry, no graphics. Maybe in the OT&E draft, we'll have rudimentary graphics.

Update: Compatibility of ULG with Individual Body Armor.
Interceptor Type: The ULG can be used to clean heavily soiled Outer Tactical Vest. Remove Small Arms Protective Inserts and Ballistic Inserts, and wash only the Outer Tactical Vest. Clean the inserts according to the Interceptor System user manual.

PASGT Type: The ULG can be used to clean the entire PASGT Vest but it is not recommended unless the ballistic fabric can be removed and cleaned separately. Due to its weight and size, and the shock-absorbing qualities of the ballistic fabric, only one vest can be cleaned or rinsed at a time. Do not expect good results.

Shear-Thickening Fluid Type: Do not use the ULG to launder any body armor component that incorporates STF technology. Check the care label on the component to be certain ("Contains Polyethylene Glycol" or "Natick Type E" are usually in bold at the top of the care label). The STF armor will not be damaged, but the ULG will not find a suitable oscillation frequency and can damage itself. Follow the care label and user manual to clean STF armor using another method.


Idea number 483

Some GIs downrange in the Middle East are asking for manually-operated laundering systems, because they don't trust host-nation laundry concessionaires to treat their uniforms properly (or even to return them), and field laundries are either scarce or have long waiting lines. A GI with only a few hours of his own will not spend them waiting for a washing machine to come open. I've my own downrange scare stories about that (a female lieutenant asked me, "Are you playing with my panties, Sawgeant Pundit?").

So soldiers asking for washboards and such so they can wash their sweaty uniforms out in less time, in their own space, without relying on Force Provider. A washboard sounds like it would take up an inordinate amount of space in a guy's pack. Let's come up with something smaller.

Meanwhile, Procter and Gamble have introduced Tide Buzz, a stain-removal system that combines their Tide detergent and an ultrasonic oscillator that punches the detergent into the stain and shatters the stain itself so the detergent can suspend it.

Hmmmm. How about an ultrasonic oscillator, packaged in a waterproof housing, running on AA or C batteries. Get a 5-gallon bucket, or a sink, or a trashcan, any handy watertight container, add water and some detergent, drop in your clothes, turn the oscillator on and drop it in. Hot water would not be necessary. It sets up sound waves in the water to agitate the clothes and the detergent, runs long enough to knock the sweat and dirt out of the clothing, then sounds a beeper. The GI replaces the wash water with rinse water, sets the oscillator for the rinse cycle, drops it in, and the oscillator agitates the rinse water through the clothing to get the detergent out.

A detail nozzle on one end of the unit allows the soldier to use it like the Tide Buzz unit, holding it in hand and pointing the nozzle directly at a problem stain.

I'll bet this device could be packaged to less than the size of a soda can. Make it so it varies its buoyancy, slowly sinking to the bottom of the container, then rising back to the top, back and forth, to agitate all parts of the laundry load equally.

It would wear out uniforms less than ordinary laundry equipment does. The GI still has to dry the uniforms, and that really tears up fabric, but an item I saw on BoingBoing today might give the answer for that, and it might be as portable as the oscillator. Hell, compressed air from a deuce-and-a-half would dry clothing out right quick.

One drawback will have to be investigated: will this device remove permethrin? GIs commonly treat their uniforms with this stuff to repel insects. The permethrin persists after ordinary laundering, but dry-cleaning will remove it in one pass.

I can't claim this oscillator idea as my own, I saw it in one of those Sunday-newspaper gadget inserts (Brookstone and RealGoods struck out). But I'll take the finder's fee for suggesting this to our GIs.

Update: The Tide Buzz system does not use Tide detergent, but a special fluid. I hacked together a user's manual for a trial product, waiting for Adobe's online PDF converter to kick it back to me. No graphics, sorry, I had a deadline to meet.