There was no time to requisition supplies the old-fashioned way, so new methods were created. Sergeant Dave Betz and his staff called camping stores like REI and Campmor and bought all the socks and tents they had on the shelves—literally everything in stock. Same with the clothes, and when the dealers ran out—as they did with a particular black fleece jacket everyone wanted—the guys called North Face headquarters and bought direct. There were soldiers perusing back issues of Shotgun News magazine and ordering pistol holsters and ammo magazines for AK-47s. They bought CamelBak water hydration systems, thermoses, water filters, tan winter boots made by a company called Rocky's, duffel bags, Iridium satellite phones, generators, tool kits, compressors, electric conversion kits to convert 12-volt DC to 110-volt AC, camp stoves, fuel, and headlamps. Staff guys carried new radios and laptops and PDAs into team rooms, gizmos the men had never seen before. The guys liked the lightweight Garmin Etrex GPSs—the military GPS being heavy and the size of a writing tablet—and couldn't purchase enough, ordering them all over the country, three hundred to four hundred at a time. A supply sergeant would e-mail a supplier, “I want all your GPSs. Hold them.” And they bought batteries. One of Betz's men personally drove over to an enormous store near Fort Campbell called Batteries Plus, bought every double-A they had, and drove off with them in the trunk of his car. As he departed, the sales clerks stared slack-jawed at their empty racks.
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