SITREP 010 - Infil Complete
18 Series Bag Company SITREP 010 22 January 2022
Infiltration into Las Vegas was relatively smooth. Everything in Vegas is set up for you to get in as fast as possible. The Lambdin’s rented an apartment for the week (highly recommended) which was a five-minute Uber from the strip. Having lived and traveled in Europe for a decade, House-Hold 6 (HH6) needed a competent kitchen and a washer and dryer.
Moving to the Sound of Gunfire
Saturday was our designated setup day. As per SOP, we arrived early to recce the best way to access our booth. Typical of GBs, we parked like we knew what we were doing and began exploring. This garnered the attention of some Union lookouts and some rando began yelling at the back of our heads. Like the rest of my brethren, we spun around and immediately closed the distance to the sound of conflict. We ended up conducting a ‘Shark Attack’ on a union dude at the Caesars Forum. He thought he would just yell at the back of my head for me to move my vehicle, and I would just comply. Apparently, he didn’t get the memo that Green Berets don’t like to be randomly yelled at because he immediately backed off and changed his approach after receiving no fewer than four command hands to the face. Sensing the immediate danger, he had us follow his Polaris to the employee parking lot to allow us to use the side door normally reserved only for Caesar’s employees. He was just doing his job and keeping everything orderly, I get it, but I felt like Christopher Walken in Joe Dirt, “you’re talking to my guy all wrong. It’s the wrong tone. Do it again and I’ll stab you in the face with a soldering iron.”
On Monday the 17th, we traveled out to the Daniel Defense-sponsored range day at the Pro Gun Club. Our 3rd Group brother let us set up in the most highly visible spot, high-fived each one of us, and went about his business. I do not think that we could have had a better introductory day. We didn’t know it at the time, but the day was invite-only for acquisition folks within the US DoD. Our bags were received well, we discussed prices and terms with most, and invited everyone to our booth for a more in-depth conversation. Eric Graves, from soldier systems website, came by and did a quick expose for his website (Soldier Systems). If you’re into the latest gear, you already know how big a deal that is. I left the day with both raccoon eyes from getting blasted with the sun and also a profound respect for a certain former 3rd Group guy in the firearm industry. Because of him, Daniel Defense opened whatever facilities they controlled to help us, their hospitality has been unmatched. We finished the day by returning to the Caesars Forum to finish setting up our bags. It was a great day.
The opening day of SHOT was unbelievable. Our booth had non-stop visitors and we were crowded most of the day. From industry leaders to small-town law enforcement, we met a lot of awesome people. I was happy to see Brent Cooper and the team from the Green Beret Foundation stop by. The GBF team invited us all out to the reunion, held that night, on the strip. We finished the day strong and headed over to the reunion. Immediately upon entering I saw our newest recipient of the Medal of Honor, Earl Plumlee, and gave him a big bear hug. Hard to hide from me and my arms, so with no real sense of social norms, I interrupted his conversation and gave him a big hug. I just thought that it was appropriate. We laughed and I went on my way. Recently, Earl sat down with NBC for an interview. When asked about why he did what he did, Earl replied, “I moved to the sound of the guns. That’s my job. If somebody was going to go, it would have been a Green Beret.” (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2R2uR7VwFoM)
Brent Cooper and Sarah Holzhalb did a great job hosting a room full of GBs, a tough job getting all those egos crammed into one room. It was nice to link up with Travis Wilson again from Alpha Elite https://alphaeliteperformance.com/. He created a new oral rehydration product and gave me a sample. It’s called Rally and Recover. I crushed it the next morning before going to SHOT. It worked as advertised. I’ve been trying to create a new habit of waking up and immediately slamming a liter of water. I feel like it helps me get my day started. Rally and Recover was a nice extra boost that helped me get through a morning of running my suck, standing around, and recovering from two hefeweizens (getting old sucks).
SHOT Show was an unbelievable success. We met with folks from all four branches of the military, countless law enforcement and SWAT teams from across the country, great folks running non-profits, and representatives from Argentina, Australia, Austria, Croatia, England, Germany, Mexico, Poland, and Sweden. We gave the Aussie a hard time because someone might have said he sounded like he was from New Zealand, at which point the Aussie wanted to Russel Crow us and punch us in the mouth (Oi). My new German friend and I knew several of the same people after he showed me a picture of some old commando friends. Anyone that came in telling us that they were from a three-letter government agency immediately found themselves on the defensive as we instantly gave them a hard time (If you’re good with saying ‘three-letter agency’, just say which one it is, otherwise we tease you about being UPS). Everyone that came in received the same focused attention, no matter where they were from or what unit they were representing. Each and every one of them was special and I appreciate them stopping by.
We also met with an industry leader in the apparel industry. He was blown away by how fast we had innovated our bags and brought them to the market. We were also approached by a couple of other gentlemen from the business development (BD) arena. These BD experts represent the top brands in their respective categories so to say that we were caught off-guard was an understatement. People would come up to our booth and ask, “what makes your bags different?” The answer was simple. Our bags are designed by Green Berets who are putting their experience directly into their bags. These bags are built with a purpose for the toughest people that we know.
Another SF entrepreneur from 1st Group stopped by my booth. Mikey started a line of craft seasoning to capture the tastes he experienced during his military adventures. He gave me ‘Point Man’ to try so I threw it on a couple of scrambled eggs. It was so good that I probably won’t share it with my two boys (can’t one thing be dad’s?). You can find these culinary delights at www.smokedbros.com. I highly recommend it.
Throughout SHOT, I met with hundreds of awesome and interesting people. One such person was Tony Cowden. Tony’s an 18C in the Special Forces National Guard who is running for North Carolina’s 4th Congressional District. Tony came by our booth to see what 18 Series Bag Company was all about. Our entire discussion revolved around how our bag line could be successful. Only when we were exchanging business cards at the end did I find out that Tony is running for Congress. Of all his captivating messages, Tony said that although he had been a leader all his life, he wasn’t running for Congress to lead but rather, to represent his constituents. His insight didn’t surprise me at all. Check him out at https://www.tonycowden.com/. As per SOP, my wife Jennifer became besties with Tony’s partner, Melissa, and we had to break them up to let both of our parties get back to business. So many great people came by, we are especially glad that Tony and Melissa did.
Thanks for taking the time to read this, I appreciate the feedback.
Always forward - Matt
NEXT SITREP - The Value proposition for the 18 Series Bag Company