I’ve done a lot of dumb things on behalf of Uncle Sam. I’ve painted white rocks a different shade of white, cut grass with scissors, stood at attention for hours (don’t lock you knees), waited for days while flight crews got their mandatory “crew rest” (I’m still not sure that’s a real thing) and jumped out of airplanes into shark infested oceans (spoiler alert…I lived). But by far and away the dumbest and most tedious task I’ve done in my military career was wasted hours, sometimes days building pallets to deploy overseas to a war zone when I needed to be doing 100 other things. We struggled to organize, stack, and secure cheap plastic boxes, ruck sacks, MRE boxes and other gear only to hear “rebuild” from the Load Master. I’ve had to rebuild the same pallets after they failed a flight line inspection, on the flight line, because the monstrosity of a pallet we built was in danger of “shifting during flight”. On average, the tough boxes we were packing were full of radios, batteries, weapon mounts, tools, breaching kits and the like. It was not unusual for a box to weigh up to 250 lbs., especially the commo boxes. When I was packing the pallets, it was like playing a really physically demanding, very limited, wasteful game of 3 dimensional Tetris. It was nightmare that typically took up to three hours per pallet. My ODA was allowed to take three pallets plus an ISU 90. That equated to 9+ hours of hard physical labor that was appropriate for a North Korea prison camp, not a Special Forces company at Ft. Bragg, NC.
The second most ridiculous task to overcome, happened when we got to our team house in some austere part of the world. The CH-47s would kick our kit that we palletized onto an HLZ 250 meters from our team house. Again, on average each box weighed 250 lbs. full of a really expensive, no nonsense kit. After the birds took off and the dust settled, it looked like a gypsy camp. We had to put four guys to one box multiplied by about thirty boxes. For a twelve-man team, that duffle bag drag easily took two hours because the officers won’t carry anything, and even if they would, wouldn’t want them to. The commo guys were “busy getting coms up with. The medics were too valuable for manual labor, and the weapons guys required too much time explaining. That left a couple of engineers and a bunch of indigenous personnel to move about a ton of equipment into shelter and safety. As I was doing this for the one-too-many-ith time, it occurred to me that our species has had the lever and the wheel for about 3,000 years. Why couldn’t we just have a packing solution with beefy wheels and a ridiculously strong handle? It was then and there on a HLZ in rural Afghanistan that I vowed I would do something about this. Not for the betterment of the US Department of Defense, but for myself. That was the genesis of Speedbox.
When I got home I started sketching what I thought was the perfect solution. A big, non-destructible container that was tough as hell, that when used as a system, snapped together like Legos and was easy to move. After a few years of drawing, refining and testing, I’m proud to say that we created a box that fits perfectly on a 463-L pallet, is easy to move (beefy wheels and heavy-duty handle), waterproof, buoyant, locks and most importantly…looks cool (because that’s rule number one).
So if anyone wants to know where Speedbox came from, there it is…it’s a product born out of frustration built for myself. I hope you can get some use out of it too.
Founder of Speedbox
Former 18C (Special Forces Engineer)