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Tank battalion fields more expedient tents

22 Jan 2010 | Cpl. R. Logan Kyle

Marines have fought successfully in every clime and place, thanks in part to their use of lighter, more efficient shelter systems like the Rapid Deployment System-480 military tent.

Communications Marines with Headquarters and Service Company, 1st Tank Battalion, learned how to set up the tent, which is manufactured by Eureka Johnson Outdoors, during practical application exercises at the battalion’s supply warehouse here Jan. 14.

Raymond P. Goodrum, a service manager with Eureka Johnson Outdoors, said the RDS-480 was designed specifically for the armed forces.

“Our company has made tents for every major American conflict dating back to 1895,” said Goodrum, of Cleveland, Ohio. “That’s a long history, and it’s nice for our company to be able to provide quality gear for Marines to use.”

Staff Sgt. Jonathan Cochran, the data chief for H and S Co., said the unit plans to use the RDS-480 during their next field operation.

“I’ve never used a tent like this before,” said Cochran, of Opelika, Ala. “We’re going to take three of these to the field to be used as a [command operation center] and really put them to the test. My only concern is if it’ll hold up against this wind we have out here.”

According to the company’s Web site, http://www., the RDS-480 can withstand sustained winds of up to 55 mph, ward off rain up to two inches per hour, and hold a snow load of 10 pounds per square foot of tent.

The company, which is headquartered in Bing- hampton, N.Y., has also manufactured several other tents for the Marine Corps and other branches of the armed services like the two-man tent and the extreme cold-weather tent.

The RDS-480 is not new to the Marine Corps, Goodrum said. It has been used by several Corps units for more than three years.

“This tent system only takes four Marines about 15 minutes to set up,” said Goodrum, a retired gunnery sergeant. “Back in my time we would have prayed to have something like this.”

However, for the Marines with H and S, 15 minutes just wasn’t long enough to fully familiarize themselves with the RDS-480. It took that long just to explain how the tent functions.

Cpl. Isaac Solorio, a warehouse clerk with H and S Co., said the RDS-480 will soon save the Marines in his unit a lot of time.

“This tent is simple to put up,” said Solorio, of San Diego. “Having something like this allows unit leaders to have more confidence in their junior Marines and minimize supervision.

“With more practice and repetitions, I’m sure we’ll be able to set this tent up faster than 15 minutes.”

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