SoldierMod.Com :: Soldier Modernisation
  SoldierMod Volume 13 - June 2014
Volume 13 Articles

ATK Online ExclusiveDry Run

Soldier Modernisation talks to Eric Heid, Director, Military Operations, USIA CORP

PDF icon Download article as PDF
Eric Heid, Director, Military Operations, USIA CORP
Eric Heid, Director, Military Operations, USIA CORP

Eric Heid began his career in Special Forces in 1979 with 7th SFG(A) at the age of 19. Upon completion of Pathfinder, Ranger and CDQC Schools Eric was soon assigned to ODA745 “THE PIG TEAM” and Deployed on both Operations and MTT’s throughout Central and South America the Caribbean as well as South East Asia. He spent 54 months with ODA 124 HALO. Eric was reassigned to Ft Bragg in 1989 and assisted in standing up USASOCOM as a new MACOM, where he served as the Operation NCOIC. In 1999 he retired, but continued on as a civilian advisor to 1st SFG(A) thru 2003. Eric has since worked as the Executive Director of Military Operations Foreign & Domestic for USIA CORP; he holds numerous Commercial, Public Safety and Civilian Diving Instructor Trainer Certifications. Eric continues to train Military Combat Divers around the Global in both 02 and Mixed Gas Rebreathes and OTH Operations.

USIA is an American based manufacture of dry dive suits and thermal protection gear for recreation, public safety and the military. The military defense division of USIA is a leading innovator of surface and diving dry suits, waterproof weapon bags, backpacks and thermal protection undergarments.

Q: What makes SEAL and other SOF underwater gear different from even the most advanced equipment used by recreational, or even commercial divers?
A: SOF gear has no room for failure, it has to work every time the first time around. It must be durable and of uncompromising quality, form, fit and function, and as close to the Magic three as you can get it. Lightweight, unbreakable, and easy to use.

Q: What are the particular challenges with designing SCUBA gear for the SEALS and other SOF’s?
A: The large variety of different missions, no one type of equipment is good for everyone or every SOF unit, as well as the small end-user market, we are a company and every idea that goes into production has to have a ROI for us to stay in business. When we ask 12 SOF guys what they need to get the mission done in the underwater realm we get 12 different ideas, it’s being able to sort through these ideas that has allowed USIA to stay ahead in the market place. USSOCOM’s commercial integration partnership has opened a lot of doors for USIA as well.

Q: What types of equipment does USIA provide?
A: We provide a Nose to Toes solution for keeping the Operator and their gear dry and operational in the most extreme operational environments on earth. This includes Dry and Surface Suits, Dry and Water Resistant Equipment and Weapons bags Custom Flotation Vests and Tactical Gear. USIA through strategic business relationships builds Custom SKO’s (Set-Kits and Outfits) with everything the end user requires and can make sure the right equipment is delivered to the right place through our Denied Area Logistics partnerships.

Q: Is that made to Spec under contract, or Commercial Off The Shelf – or both?
A: We provide both, USIA has a full line of COTS gear which is our staple, most of these items were designed by SOF Operators and Professionals. Our R&D Department can and has done 24/7 mission development for SOF units as needed. They fly in with the gear and fly out with a dry solution to meet the required mission timeline. USIA is always ready for the challenge.

Q: With what you are at liberty to disclose, where is your gear deployed?
A: Globally, with in all branches of the US Military and Public Safety Professionals, we also provide equipment to our partner nations through the FMS program and an International Distribution Network.

Q: Briefly, what is it that is unique about your Military Diving Suits? What is it that you feel USIA does differently than your competition?
A: We ask the Operator what they want and let them have a hand in developing what best meets their needs. Whereas some of our competitors say, “this is what we have, make it work for you,” I like to say, “if you want pink elephants on your ass, I’ll put them there.” When it can be done, we at USIA will make sure it gets done.

Q: What kind of feedback have you received from unit commanders or from individual SEAL or other SOF team divers who have used your products?
A: No feedback is the best feedback. For us that means the gear we build at USIA is doing what it’s designed to do. These are professionals and they only buy what they know is going to work not what they hope is going to get them through. With that said, a SEAL Medic came to meet with me at the 2013 SOFMED Conference in Tampa and said the only dry medical gear they had left was in our Combat Trauma Medical Bag... and yes it was designed by several Navy SEAL Medic’s back in 2002.

Q: Without revealing anything that may be proprietary, what is next in Dive Suit Technology from USIA?
A: We are currently working on some things that can only be discussed through USSOCOM Public Affairs, but all I can say at this point is, it’s going to solve a lot of current issues.


Upcoming Events
SoldierMod on eReader
Click here for more
Valid XHTML 1.0 Strict
Other publications by Intercomms: