It’s easy to get caught up in the idea of tactical gear being “cool” and losing sight of what’s actually useful for those who need it. I remember dreaming of being an operator and thinking that all I would need is the newest pocket knife, latest model G-Shock, and a weaponized flashlight. However, the reality is that daily life in the infantry is much more mundane than that. An admin pouch is something that might not seem exciting, but it’s actually incredibly useful for operators in the field.
The knife saw the most action when I was opening up boxes and bags of MREs. The strap on my G-Shock snapped pretty quickly – on its second outing in the field after getting caught on the shoulder straps of my pack. And the flashlight was practically useless in the field. I wasn’t the only one with useless gear, though. Many of the guys around me had similar “bootleg” gear that they started ditching as soon as they realized how useless it was.
So I turned my attention to what the more experienced team leaders and squad leaders carried with them on their plate carriers. They all seemed to carry next to nothing, opting to stay as light as possible admin pouches 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.
Carrying around a lot of weight can slow you down and tire you out, so it’s important to only carry what you need when you’re in the field. I also learned that it’s crucial to write things down so that you don’t forget how to do important tasks like calling for fire or medical evacuation.
Before each training exercise or patrol, we would start by getting a brief from the platoon commander. After that, the platoon sergeant would give his brief. Then the squad leader would tell us what we actually needed to know. These notes would provide us with important waypoints on a patrol, BOLOs that concerned our AO, and plenty of other relevant information that needed to be written down. I learned to keep my notebook handy so I could quickly refer to it when needed.
The Enhanced Modular Admin Pouch from BDS Tactical is a highly useful and popular piece of gear among Marines and Soldiers. My first team leader gave me mine as he was exiting the Marines. It can be attached to a plate carrier or any other piece of gear using the MOLLE (Modular Lightweight Load-carrying Equipment) platform. The pouch is designed to hold items that users need to have ready at a moment’s notice. It has an adjustable pistol magazine pocket, making it a versatile and essential piece of equipment.
I also kept my Garmin Foretrex 401 in 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, and a small notebook. For me, it was a lighter, dip, batteries for my Garmin and NOD’s, and a compass.
The front velcro flap provides easy access to the pocket’s two clear panels, which serve as a quick reference area for 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 in the pouch (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. This is another area where you can store 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.