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Who in fact was Eldon Metzger? (LINCLOE, ALICE)


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Right now I'm preparing article for local magazine about ALICE packs, and in a next two months about ALICE gear. Both articles then will be available also in English so I will post them here.


I've been reading Craig Pickrall and C.A Monroe's book that partially inspired me to write these articles, but as we all know, the book is up to 1991 and doesn't describe eveything what was changed later. I do my own research based on my examples of gear I own, specifications and contract information available through internet.

Anyway, in the book, there was mentioned Eldon Metzger as the one who designed Lightweight Rucksack, and probably as I understand in text was involved in LINCLOE program. I would like to get some more info about him. What was in fact his role during LINCLOE program, and maybe some info on his whole career (if he served in army ect.). There were a few Eldon Metzger's even in army and internet isn't really good way to get an info. I think that if he was important for the project, and as I understand he was, I wouldlike to write something about him in context to the gear I write about.


Here is a link to my first article about BDU uniforms. It needs a few tweaks, cause some photos have wrong descriptions or are in wrong places but it will be corrected. Right now it's in my language only but I think that it's good to show you that in other countries poeople are so interested in US gear. In about a month there should be an English version of the article and printed version (I have professional translator for this job, so don't afraid, I know my English is quite...uhm, bad). There will be probably also russian edition in few more weeks.



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pawtwo, I am at work right now (and do not have access to my files), but give me a day or two and I will post what information I have on Metzger and the other individuals directly involved with the ALICE pack design.


C.A. Monroe

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Eldon "Ed" Clinton Metzger


Born: July 12, 1914 in Gresham, Oregon

Died: August 10, 1984 Framingham, Massachusetts


Metzger enlisted in the U.S. Army on February 20, 1941 at Portland, Oregon (Service Number 39300716). Metzger joined the 87th Mountain Infantry Regiment at Fort Lewis, Washington and participated in training in Canada on the Columbia Ice Fields glacier near Lake Louise, B.C. (1942).


[May 1942] Corporal Metzger attaching ski climbers as part of the Mount Rainier Test Expedition, Mount Rainier, Washington. Metzger (at the time with the 87th Mountain Infantry Regiment) is wearing zinc oxide on his lips.

Metzger continued training at Hunter-Liggett Military Reservation near Jolon, California, and was also stationed at Fort Ord, California. Metzger was assigned to Company A of the 87th Infantry Regiment and also served on Kiska Island, Alaska. In 1943, He returned to Camp Hale, Colorado to join the 10th Mountain Division, before being deployed for service in Italy.



[Late 1943] Six men belonging to Company M, 87th Regiment, 10th Mountain Division pose for a photograph outside of their barracks at Camp Hale, Colorado. (Now) Staff Sergeant Metzger stands in the center holding a camera and looking into the view finder.
In December 1943, a detachment was selected at Camp Hale to work as skiing and mountaineering instructors for the British Army (with Metzger being assigned to the detachment). Designated 2662 Mountain Training Detachment, the detachment shipped out to the British Mountain Warfare School in Lebanon. Upon arrival, the detachment found that the school had been disbanded and thus they were shipped to the newly formed British Mountain School at Sepino, Italy, where they conducted winter and summer training in 1944. Then they moved to Terminillo, where they continued training men through autumn and winter 1944-45. In the spring of 1945, they were transferred to the 244th Replacement Depot to train replacements for the casualties suffered by the 10th Division in spearheading two pushes. By the end of the Second World War, Metzger had attained the rank of Technical Sergeant, and was discharged 1 October 1945.


There is a gap in Metzger's history between the end of the Second World War and his employment with QMR&E (United States Army Quartermaster Research and Engineering Command at Natick, Massachusetts - renamed Natick Laboratories in November 1962) in 1961. One source indicates that he served in the Korean War and later as an instructor at the Mountain and Winter Warfare Training Center, Fort Carlson. He, of course, helped design the M-1952 rucksack and nylon lightweight rucksack while working at QMR&E. Metzger also worked on other design projects related to mountain and ski equipments.


At some point during the 1960s, Metzger was a civilian "mountaineer and paratroop adviser" to the ARVN as part of DoD's ARPA (Advanced Research Projects Agency) in Southeast Asia. According to the source, Metzger served as an instructor to ARVN in "airborne training, mountain navigation, and climbing during the Vietnam conflict."


Back at Natick Laboratories, Metzger designed the ARVN rucksack and helped design the tropical rucksack and M-1967 lightweight load-carrying equipment. During that period of time he (and others) filed the patent for the SNAP-HOOK FOR LOAD-CARRYING EQUIPMENT (US Patent 3328858) on June 16, 1965 (later granted on July 4, 1967).




During the late 1960s and early 1970s, Metzger was the LINCLOE LCE project officer - meaning he was in charge of the load-carrying equipment portion of the LINCLOE program. LINCLOE eventually became the ALICE system (with Metzger leading the project). I could not find any information on when Metzger left Natick. I have tried to contact his family (his wife died in 2009, but he had a son and daughter), but neither ever responded to my inquires.
According to Metzger, the following assisted in the design of the ALICE packs:
Major I.E. Stefaniw - who "contributed to the final pack design and curved shoulder straps which improved significantly the comfort when wearing the packs"
Michael M. Arslanian (also part of the group that filed the patent for the snap-hook) - who assisted "in the development of the hardware and pack frame"


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  • 2 weeks later...

Thanks Sgt. Monroe.


I finally finished my own article about ALICE packs here in Poland. Few days back we were taking pictures. If everything will go ok I will post it here because it should be translated (this magazine has it's own translator) ;) I wonder if the translation will be "readable", because it needs a lot of very specific words to describe parts etc. It might be a bit difficult...


Based on live examples from a few guys collections, ebay photos, data from nsn-now.com, few MIL-SPECS that are available as pdf files, E.C. Metzger's LINCLOE report, it might be fun for you to read, as my approach is probably a little bit different than your's and I don't have easy access to all info needed.


What might be interesting I tried to write whole story up to 2000's when last ALICE packs were made.


We also plan to write something about all ALICE LCE, also including gear made after 1990 ;)


But I'm really worried about this translation, there was about 11 pages of text in quite small fonts....

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  • 3 years later...
Crap Game

Ironically, he designed the snap hooks nicknamed "meat hooks" by the Joes using ALICE Equipment that had the rear Y Harness hooks pushed into their backs by the ALICE Rucksack.   Ironically, because "Metzger" is one of the German words for "Butcher"

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