An admin pouch might not be the first thing that springs to mind when considering what an operator will need in the field. In the world of marketing products towards military service members and other operators, tactical awesomeness sometimes overshadows daily usefulness. I had many dreams at ITB of taking the fight to the War on Terrorism with nothing but my newest pocket knife, latest model G-Shock, and weaponized flashlight (with the extra-spikey bevel). Unfortunately, the reality of daily life in the infantry is much more mundane than that.
The most action my knife saw was slaying boxes and bags of MRE’s. The strap to my G-Shock snapped on its second outing in the field after getting caught on the shoulder straps of my pack. And the flashlight was about as useless as it looked in the field. Luckily, I was not the only one to make these “boot-ish” decisions, as many of the guys around me had gear that they started ditching as soon as they realized its usefulness (or lack thereof).
So I turned my attention to what the more salty team leaders and squad leaders kept on them and their plate carriers. They all seemed to carry next to nothing, opting to stay as light as possible rather than take everything and the kitchen sink with them. The more time I spent in the field, the more I learned that I had to write things down. I needed to keep track of how to call for certain things on the radio, for instance, like calling for fire or giving a 9-line for medical evacuation.
Before each training exercise or patrol overseas, we’d start by getting a brief from the platoon commander (notes). After that, the platoon sergeant would give his brief (more notes). Then the squad leader would tell us what we actually needed to know (even more notes). These notes would provide us with important waypoints on a patrol, BOLOs (be on look-out’s) that concerned our AO (area of operation), and plenty of other relevant information that needed to be written down. I had learned to keep my notebook handy and wanted a way to be able to quickly reference the pertinent information for each training exercise/ patrol.
The Enhanced Modular Admin Pouch from BDS Tactical is hands down the most used “non-issued” piece of gear I had while serving. My first team leader gave me mine as he was exiting the Marines. It sits just above the magazines on a plate carrier or it can be added to any piece of gear using the MOLLE (Modular Lightweight Load-carrying Equipment) platform. It serves as a pouch for items Marines or Soldiers use most often and need to be kept at the ready. It has an adjustable pistol magazine pocket, which most guys I knew carried a multi-tool of some kind in (I carried a Leatherman Super Tool 300).
I also kept my Garmin Foretrex 401 strapped to that pocket. On the back of the admin pouch is a large main pocket where you could easily fit map pens, normal pens, lights, smokes, dip, extra batteries, a small notebook… you name it. For me, it was a lighter, dip, batteries for my Garmin and NOD’s, and a compass.
Lifting the front velcro flap allows for the pocket to expand and drop down into 2 clear panels that serve as a quick reference area for your notes, a range card, or a hand-drawn map of the AO. I usually kept a laminated call for fire template as well as a 9-line template (I know, I know, every good Marine has it memorized, but I at least knew what I didn’t know). I also kept important information pertaining to whatever mission I was on that had changed from the previous briefs in the pouch.
There is a smaller pocket that opens under the front flap, as well. This is another area for you to stuff an extra notebook or, as I did, keep a Sawyer mini water filtration device. This pouch saved my pockets. I always hated the feeling of having stuff jammed into my pockets, or sitting on things, or things bending or breaking in them. I also hated digging around in my pockets when I needed to reference my notes or write new ones.
My admin pouch lived on my plate carrier and I don’t know how I ever managed to go to the field without it. Soon after I received mine, I noticed how many other leaders and higher ranks utilized this pouch or one of the others from BDS Tactical. Having information or small, frequently used items readily accessible and centrally located will always be important, and definitely worth the weight. It is pieces of gear like this that make life in the field or outside the wire that much easier. It’s also the last piece of gear I would’ve dreamed about using so much during my Rambo inspired dreams at ITB.