Opinions Needed on Free Gear Donations - ITS Tactical

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Opinions Needed on Free Gear Donations

By Bryan Black

I think we’ve really tapped into something bigger than expected with our post Tuesday on Free Gear for Those Fighting the Good Fight.

Many of you had some great suggestions on doing something more like donating money into a fund to get those in need the gear they need.

I’ll be honest, it’s going to be a tough job to figure out who really needs this gear we’re giving away the most. It’s something we’ve discussed and no easy task by any means.

So what I’d like to do with this post is start a place for some dialouge in the comments where we toss some ideas around about how best to improve upon what we’re already doing (thanks to Eric). As there are many legal issues surrounding collecting funds for donations, we’re hoping to especially get some opinions from those who know about these kind of things.

We’re not sure what exactly to do yet, but we know that we want to continue to help our guys in harms way get the gear they need. We know of quite a few organizations that do similar things like American Snipers.org but none that we’re currently aware of that cover LE, MIL and Contractors. If you know of one, please leave a comment.

Let us know your thoughts and big thank you to all that protect us!

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  • Dan Dusablon

    I WISH I was able to get free gear when I was deployed in 03. We barely had IBA protection, drove around in trucks with no armor. Great Deal!!

  • Personal opinion.

    Active duty and active contractors get first dibs. Anyone currently deployed OCONUS or deploying within the next 30 days get first dibs.

    After that, anyone in service
    SAR after that.
    Then everyone else.

    To recap;
    Active deployed OCONUS (combat zone preferably)
    deploying within 30 days to OCONUS (conbat zone preferably)
    CONUS serving
    The rest of us.

    Again, just an opinion and I think this runs down the list pretty fairly as far as who would be able to put it to best use. I could be a little mistaken on the CONUS serving and SAR though, those are always the hardest to determine who’s going to use gear like this more.

    I threw my hat in the ring for gear, but as far as I’m concerned, I’m on the bottom of the list with “the rest of us” crowd.

    This is a great thing that’s taking shape. I hope it becomes even a bigger trend that what’s happening now.

  • Jared H Ferguson

    I do not believe active duty guys should have first dibs, I firmly believe ANYONE deployed should have first dibs. Trust me reserves get bent over compared to active duty guys when it comes to gear. But the decision is yours just my 2 cents.

  • I think you misunderstood my intentions, when I said active deployed, that included anyone who is actively deployed, not just active over reserve. I don’t consider reserve as non-active. I consider them as ‘Active’ duty when they are deployed and ‘Reserve’ or ‘Guard’ when they’re not deployed.

    I also don’t consider ‘Active’ duty personnel as being ‘active’ when they’re not deployed.

    We’re on the same wavelength here, just a misunderstanding due to semantics. πŸ™‚

    I believe you about the ‘reservists’ getting bent over, I’ve seen it many times in many different forms.

    • Jared H Ferguson

      ok well since it was a misunderstanding, I will appologize. I get hit in the head way to much. Thanks for clarifying norman.

  • You could have a gear pool like on the other post and at the end of a set period you divide up the gear based on need. I saw a guy in the other post that wanted a pack for hunting. I’m pretty sure that’s not the type of help that you’re offering.

    And active duty is active duty all the time not just while were deployed.

    Just my 2 cents.

  • VooDoo3

    I think the lowest ranking Active Duty should get the gear if they go outside the wire. I’m an E-6 and I am getting ready to deploy, but as an E-6 the pay isn’t bad and I can buy extra gear if I need to. The lower ranking guys can’t afford to buy high end shit. So, I say prioritize by rank and job description. You can be an E-1, but if you’re a cook, you may not need the extra gear.

  • Ok,
    Let me set the record straight here on something that I think everyone is misunderstanding about what I’m saying. In my opinion, when a soldier is performing their duties no matter if they’re ‘active, reserve or guard’, in a ‘active’ area, they’re active. When they’re in an area that’s ‘not active’, I’m not saying they’re not active duty, they’re just not … you know what, I’m just going to muddle up and confuse everyone more then they already are at this point.

    What I’m trying to say is just because they’re not a ‘full time soldier’, doesn’t mean they’re not active in my opinion. I’ve know reservers and guardsmen that have more of a soldier attitude then some active soldiers.

    It’s a case by case basis.

    As far as the gear distribution, I agree with VooDoo3 about it (to be honest, I didn’t think about the pay issue to be honest). Deployed lower ranking soldiers and job descriptions.

    So, now that I’ve pretty much accidentally enraged everybody and confused the hell out of them, I’m just going to shut up for the rest of this thread.

  • jordan

    Marine grunts should get first dibs. No kidding one guy in my fireteam had 550 cord replacing his rear take down pin till we could get back to the armorer in camp ripper. Then when we finally get back to a main camp like al asad and there were pogues walking around with brand new m4s all geared up with vltor and aimsights. then you find out they do your taxes or something. No disrespect to the army but they have a big budget. Marines get left overs. Hell the boarding teams on the ships had better gear then us. I saw one sailor get stuck in a porthole cause he had too much gear on.

  • jordan
  • Will

    Job desriptions for sure. No offense but we don’t need anymore fobbits sporting their kit around the boardwalk at kaf on the way to the chow hall. Low ranking combat arms first. Consequently regular army/gd/reserves before sof forces. If your trying to get a pouch for your backup “bug out” or e&e kit that kind od defeats the purpose

  • How do you lose a take down pin? I mean seriously that’s basic training mickey mouse shit.

    • jordan

      I never said lost. They break.

  • randypb

    The idea I suggested earlier would not be for this giveaway (thanks again for calling attention to this need with your generous gift Eric!) but set up on the forum. Individuals could post items that they or a friend (military and LEO. or anyone in harm’s way ) desperately need. Based on the an honor system of need. An item they honestly can’t afford to purchase and it’s needed to protect their life. I’d hate to see resources taken when they should be going to those whose life depends on it. Maybe the cost (in the area of the world they’re in to facilitate them purchasing it themselves and avoid shipping), and the reason for the need. Or, if they can’t purchase it, the exact order number to make sure it can be purchased here and shipped. This could blow up fast because there’s so much need, so it needs to be well thought out before starting something. Or not.

  • Reddog

    As the head of a non-profit, let me recommend that you AVIOD the collection/dispersion of cash at all costs. Also aviod the temptation of becoming a non-profit if you can make it happen without. (It is good tax-wise for those donating, but is a hassle otherwise. There are a LOT of regulations that go along with this.)
    Collect money to defray shipping costs, but when you deal with cash, you open all sorts of accounting issues, both in the recieving and giving. Records have to be kept, forms have to be sent out to both parties, (givers and getters), etc. Find a CPA and just broach the subject of volunteering for this duty and watch the terror in their eyes. Collecting a box of gear and giving away pieces of gear as a couple of Joes is one thing, but taking it to the next step and making it what it could be is consuming and expensive in both time and money. Remember the maxim: No good deed goes unpunished. And this would be a very good deed indeed.
    Also, you will want to incorporate this endeavour to protect yourself and loved ones in the event something goes wrong or someone gets sued. For example, if you give someone a shoestring, and that shoestring breaks at a bad time, leading to the owner tripping and getting shot and killed, and the family/estate wants to sue. You do not want to lose everything you own defending yourself, or worse, losing to a crazy jury. If protected by a corporation, it takes the hit, and you can just fold it if needed. A good lawyer can help set this up for a small amount. (In Oklahoma, it would be $125 for the INC papers, and any lawyer can help do the paperwork. This is a lot cheaper than moving because someone won your house in damages.) It also keeps the items from having to be counted as personal income from a tax standpoint.
    If you still feel compelled to do this, I would suggest setting up a separate site, do a box a month (or whatever time period the gear/time allows) similar to what you are doing now, require a .pdf of their official ID and a release of liability, and set up a system and stick with it. (I like the idea of rank, area of operation, and job being part of the priority process. Ex.give each a certain number of points, and high total wins. Set up a standard form so the information is uniform. This will save time. ) Also understand that there will be lying sacks of crap who don’t deserve rancid ballsweat that will get some of the good stuff. You will find out, and you will be pissed. It’s just the world we live in. But most will go where it belongs, and it will be very rewarding.
    Your picture with number format here is workable. Keep it simple, keep it easy. There is a lot more to think about, but you can talk to people who are doing similar things, and can contact me at my email if you have additional questions. This is a great thing, no doubt, but go in with your eyes open.

  • Grunt

    OK, now that I think (really hope) that we have this definition of service down; I want to throw an idea out there. Understanding that there are many legal issues surrounding collecting funds for donations, is it possible for you guys (ITS) to work a deal with your participating venders to get gear.

    What I mean is to get them to run a link that would allow us to purchase gear at a reduced rate. After the purchase it could be distributed to the individuals. The distribution could be in bulk to ITS or directly to the individual from the vender. The decision of priority for the gear is still on you guys; however you decide to work that nightmare.

    I thought this might be a good way to get around the straight money donation legalities.

    I do agree with some of you about the lower ranking getting the gear, but on the same hand, I had more money to blow when I was a young E4 in the 82d ABN than any other time in my life. I would spend more money at the bars in a night than I have to buy ammo for a month now.

  • Raymond

    Reddog…damn bro, u nailed it…Brian, considering how much of a pain in the ass this is starting to be, I would be wary of doing this again. It’s unfortunate that this is what happens when you want to do something good for people, it actually turns them against one another…I don’t know how you’ll figure this out, but good luck bro.
    Irregardless, this is still an awesome thing that Eric did.

  • jordan

    I’ve been thinking about this now and realized all of this gear is really nice to have but unnecessary. You can make the stuff you get issued work. It would be better to auction off that stuff to members then use the money to buy the stuff guys really want. Dip, snacks and magazines(the kind with girls).

  • randypb

    I had a feeling that when money’s involved the headaches begin. Thanks for the heads up Reddog. Thanks again Eric, and thanks Bryan for managing this giveaway!

  • Here is a first draft of my thoughts:

    (Top to bottom = need to want)


    – Those getting shot at

    – In harms way daily


    – Deployed personnel but not outside the wire

    – Deployed personnel not in “danger zone”


    – All MIL / LEO / Armed contractors


    – All others

    – i.e. DoD / contractor techies / civilians /


    Also some things to consider:

    – Should the branch be specific?

    * i.e. Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force, Coast Guard, reserve components, etc.

    – Special operations specific?

    * i.e. SEALs, Rangers, Green Berets, First Recon, Pararescue, etc.

    – MOS Specific?

    * i.e. Infantry vs Military Intelligence, etc.

    – Rank specific?

    * Enlisted vs Officer, etc.


    Real world talk for a minute. Guys/gals… we know who needs this, we just need to agree on a process. If you can’t afford the gear you need and you are truly in need of it as well as in harms way, then that’s who gets first dibs. Right?

    ** Disclaimer: I have not served and I apologize if I forgot some one or some branch or some MOS, I’m just trying to lay a skeleton on this.

  • Reddog

    I mentioned a point system and “form” in my earlier post, and MJP offered a good framework. I was Guard (11B) before I went active Army (12B), all front line units, but out before the fun began, and a bit familiar with all three sides of this equation. Here are my thoughts, for what it’s worth. A point system based on a matrix of danger and need. Normally, I would make it branch specific just to screw with the squids, but I have Navy friends who have been deployed with the Army for a tour in Iraq, so that seems a bit self serving. Also, given that a truck driver is in as much danger sometimes as an infantryman, is seems hard to say one is more deserving than the other based on job or MOS. Tally up the points, high score wins the swag, ties go to longest (or shortest, as you can make an argument for either) time in service. On big stuff, reserve the right to have a copy of orders or ID faxed for authentication.

    Sample form
    Name: (sign in name)
    Item wanted:#
    Where serviing and what capacity:XXX
    Imminent danger point:
    5-Bullets flying in anger in the area every day. Real chance of getting hit by something before going to bed. (or in bed.)(Examples-Outside the wire in Iraq or Afghanistan, cop in Chicago, Compton, or NYC. Spec ops, SEALS, Rangers, etc. add a bonus point if you go behind enemy lines.)
    4-Chance of getting shot or shot at on a regular basis. (Examples-In Iraq or Afghanistan, cop in a rougher area.)
    3-Dangerous area of operations, but can expect to go home tonight. (Example-Cop or Deputy Sherriff in a mid-large city. Overseas deployment regularly carrying a gun, or Reserve/Guard member who is issued a gun on the weekends.)
    2-Typical city or suburb with a small chance of something happening. On base. REMF.
    1-The closest I get to action is on my Playstation.

    Pay point:
    5-Enlisted personnel (E-1–E4), any Guard or Reservist deployed and making less than their “real job.” Entry level LEO.
    4-NCO level. Sergeants, leadership level LEO. (E-5–E-6)
    3-Mid level management, entry level officer. (E-7 and up, O-1–O4) Anyone with people on the front line, and who go there on occaision themselves.
    2-Upper level management, Officers (O-5 and up), Chiefs, and Sheriffs.
    1-Staff Officers, private contractors making 6 figures, and bank executives. (What are you doing here? Buy your own stuff and keep these fine people in business!)

    Need Point:
    5-Needed for survival, makes the mission possible, don’t have a usable substitute.
    4-Would be a vast improvement over issue, would make life a lot better, Better than what is issued.
    3-Would make life better, more organized, safer.
    2-Want it for my hunting trip.
    1-It will look cool while I play Call of Duty.

    Tie Breaker-Years in Service

    For example, the highest score I could hope for would be 2+4+3, but would be more like 1+4+2 on almost everything, with 8 years in. And, as you can see, the score will also vary with the item, as the need point can change based on applicability. People could then respond like this:

    Item 4
    Combat Engineer Training NCO in FLW, about to deply to Iraq
    8 years

    Just a thought. This makes it simple and easy to maintain, plus by allowing things to be on the comments section, you can get an idea of how many others want the same thing, and how much more (or less) they need it than you.

  • doesn’t matter….

    For Commissioned Law Enforcement Personnel that do not have ballistic vests visit http://www.tenfourministries.org/vest.html
    submit your basic information and a copy of your commission card and they will donate a vest to you.

  • Red Dog I agree with what you wrote except with the years in service. For us Infantry guys the longer we’ve been in the more gear we collect and are able to afford, usually. Just a thought.

  • Reddog245

    Thompson, thanks for the feedback. I wasn’t sure which way to go with that, because I remember being a big scrounger, but I also supplied a lot of guys that weren’t. I was juggling between rewarding years of service, (The guys that are in for the count deserve some extra recognition,) or recognizing that the newbies haven’t had time to collect as much. I opted to reward service since there are already two need based questions that should already have newbies pretty high. I can go either way on this one.

  • I’d handle this operation myself if its needs help. I have a good idea though. Everybody has a favorite military unit. Since this is a member site. Everybody’s favorite unit should be listed and the equip should go to these units first followed by all the other units that donations usually go to after that. Military only, if anything left, that can go to Corrections(usually have no money)/LE units.

  • Obviously those in the military deploying to combat zones. Next I agree with rank. Prioritize say E1-E4 or E5 because they don’t make much money. Those in the E6 and above group make decent money and can or should be able to afford their own gear.

  • Castle Hill dog training

    It’s sad to see that you-associate with Mike at Baden Kennel.Mike and his son are the worse trainers I’ve seen in 40 years . I purchased a German Shepherd puppy from Baden kennel last year. The pup had Giardia and was loaded with parasites. Both Mike and his son were unable to execute a simple recall. Mike kicked his dog after he tried to recall her twice. Eight months later when I return their due to the bad breeding of the female German Shepherd I purchased there, Mike son tryed to recall his personal dog from 20 yards away when the dog did not respond to his command he grabbed the dog by the spike collar with the dogs rear legs in the air and walked him back to the starting point why the dog was screaming in pain. This guy is a nut . Mike’s son also Robbed me of $1000. Stay as far away from Baden kennels As humanly possible.Mike Ties dogs outside without shelter or water.to sum up Baden kennels, It’s like a Nazi war camp for dogs. Don’t take my word go there and see for yourself.

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