Armor for Afghanistan

Zack reports that he has begun collecting armor for use by those stationed in Afghanistan who would like to begin SCA-style armored combat training.

Zack writes:


Now that I have all of your attention I am looking for some help. I am in contact with several good people that are serving in Afghanistan. Currently they have the ability to do Rapier Fighting and would like to start Heavy soon the only problem is the armour. So in order to help do my part...

I will be collecting any new or used armour that people are willing to part with. Yes armorers, that means I will take anything from you too, it doesn't have to be old. It doesn't need to be pretty it just needs to be safe. If you have a piece that is in need of a little TLC don't worry. I'm planning on doing a lot of re-strapping and getting things as ready as I can for the folks that are over there giving so much of themselves for us. And as soon as I have a box full it will get fixed (if need be) and shipped over.

Now I know everyone is chomping at the bit to mail me every little thing they have from the lone elbow cop that has been sitting in the bottom of their armour bag, to that old helm that's ugly as hell but tough as a tank.

Please don't. I would hate for your contribution to end up sitting on my porch for several weeks while I'm off saving the world. The way this will work out best for everyone is if you can get that piece of armour to Gulf Wars. Once there, anyone can look me up or drop it by my tent at the war. Go to the Oldenfeld encampment (I believe it's next to the Trimarian Royal Encampment), and as for Zack. Also in the same encampment anyone can look for Sir Cedric of Dorchester, (AKA Cedric the Just).

I'm trying to put together 3 or 4 full sets for the folks over there and anything you have would be greatly appreciated.

Also I know a lot of people aren't going to be able to support this request. I completely understand. However everyone has the ability to at least put pen to paper and write a little note of support for the men and women over there doing what too few people are willing to do so that we may live free. These notes will get delivered same as everything else.

If you have never been there you just can't possibly know how much it will mean to them.

Now here is the hard part. This word needs to get spread. So please pass this on to every list where you haven't seen it. I know the economic times have hit a lot of us and many people out there who would love the opportunity to support the troops over there with Armour will not be able to attend the War. Also many of them are not members of the Archive and we need to reach them with the word.

Thanks for you time and your support.


Armor for Afghanistan : Think Twice


The following response appeared on several lists:


I noticed this posting and discussed it with the gentle from
Ealdormere who is, so far as I know, one of the the only other two
authorized Heavy fighters on Khandahar Air Field. Having said that, I
speak only for myself on this topic.

Apparently it has gone viral throughout most of the Known World, and
I'd appreciate my forwarded response to be sent where ever you have
seen the request for armor to be brought to Gulf Wars. I cc'ed the
SCA in Afghanistan yahoogroup.

First off, let me say how much I personally appreciate the idea--and
even more so, the fact that it would actually happen. I appreciate
that this response might upset some folks who are trying to do what is
a well-intentioned act of charity. But I have to call it like I see
it--and in this case, I'm the one wearing the armor in more ways than

Let me present the obstacles to having loaner gear and holding actual
rattan combat on KAF.

First, the climate. During most of the year, this place is incredibly
dry. We do not have, for the most part, climate-controlled living
conditions. Leather would dry and crack in fairly short order. I
brought a leather half-gauntlet to wear doing pell work, and it has
already split to the point that it would not be safe to wear. During
the rainy season, metal armor would rust solid. We do not have the
shop, equipment, tools, etc. to maintain the armor. Most of us do not
have the time, either.

Second, storage. If I say it is frankly kicking our butts to handle
storage of the rapier loaner gear, it would make the scale of problem
apparent. I personally live in a circus tent with about 150 other
troops. We are on bunk beads, and while lying in my bed I can reach
out and touch the bunks of the people to my left and right. Even
those people who do have space to store a duffel bag of armor and
swords have a hard time making it out regularly enough for the gear to
do any good. It's our biggest issue right now--one of the loaner
rapier bags is in the hands of someone who has not been out to play in
two weeks. Next month, I will likely be out on mission for 5-7 days
at a time--I certainly could not hold loaner gear.

Third, experienced fighters. We have three with experience in rattan
fighting -- and one of them is leaving in two weeks to go home.
Frankly, I feel a lot safer having two utter newbies going at it with
rapiers than with rattan clubs, especially if those people have
military pugil stick or riot baton training and are essentially
trained to fight to submission. Without an SCA group to properly
train newbie how to call blows and what is and is not acceptable, the
safety margin goes straight to pot. Especially if the one or two
authorized marshals happens to not be there that night. Which leads
us into the last two points.

Perception of safety. Unless and until we get a general or three out
here who fights in the SCA, we are dealing with people who don't
understand what we are doing. They tolerate rapier--unofficiall y and
under the radar, so to speak. If we went to rattan, someone would
take notice, and most likely ban it. That stuff LOOKS dangerous, and
the chain of command is risk-adverse as it is.

Finally, safety. All of us have to be at work tomorrow--and for some
of us, "work" consists of going out and killing people for real, who
are trying very, very hard to kill us. If I get a broken collar bone
because some idiot Marine beat me with a club, I fail in my duty. I
would have to send my Soldiers, for whom I am responsible, out the
wire without me. It's not what an Ansteorran hero does--and more
importantly, it is not what a professional Soldier does. What would
be even worse would be for me to "simply" be bruised and battered
enough that it will slow me down on mission. I trust I should not
have to elaborate on the consequences. While it is possible to get
hurt fighting rapier, it is far more likely to get hurt fighting heavy
in minimal armor that doesn't fit properly against people who don't
know what the hell they are doing.

Don't get me wrong--I want to be able to fight heavy. I would love to
have kit that fit me and was servicable enough to make me feel
comfortable doing so. But frankly, I don't see it as practical given
the circumstances at KAF.

Ld. Ioannes Dalassenos
Squire to Sir Giotto di Giovanni

John M. Atkinson