January 30, 2009:
Since September 11, 2001, the U.S. Army has dramatically increased the number of new weapons and equipment items for the troops. But the Internet has enabled rumors of the new stuff, and what it can do, to spread very fast. The rumors are often wrong, leading to disappointment or confusion when the real goods arrive. So to improve the quality of information, the army has been putting on road shows, where collections of new gear, and troops trained to explain it all, travel around to army bases. The PEO (Program Executive Office) Soldier, which supervises the development of new items, has been organizing and running the shows.
The current Expo is making its way through bases in Europe. Troops can see, and try on, the new, lighter, body army (with its quick release feature, which saves troops from drowning when they fall into water, or burning if their armor is caught on something during a vehicle accident or attack) and helmet. There is new night vision gear and new weapons (like the M320 40mm grenade launcher, the 25mm M25 "smart shell" weapon.)
There are new navigation devices, like a computer that attaches to just above your knee, and provides, in effect, an electronic map of where you are, and makes navigation, in a new area, much easier (similar to the GPS devices in automobiles). The shows have been popular, and the quality of rumors has improved.