U.S. Army Entrenching tool

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This is required equipment for NATO U.S. Army participants.

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A pioneer or entrenching tool is required for all U.S. Army participants. You may bring any military issue, shovel, entrenching tool, pick, mattock or pulaski. Only military issue tools are acceptable, no reproduction tools as they are of dismally low quality.

Selecting your tool

  • Remember that you will be packing the tool you select with you so while a full sized shovel is very handy for trenching a tent, it can be a real pain to carry on a patrol.
  • Our current AO is D-Day Adventure Park in Wyandotte, Oklahoma. While this is a great AO in most every way it is a very difficult AO to dig holes in due to the rocky soil and high clay content. Make sure that your tool is up to the task, a poor quality tool or one that is in poor condition makes an already hard job considerably harder.
  • The standard issue tri-fold shovel is the obvious choice. It works well as long as it is in decent condition and is actually an issue piece not an Asian made replica. The dead correct shovels are generally made by Ames but the newer generation shovels made by Gerber are acceptable as well. Make sure that your shovel is in good order, the locking knob turns freely, and the edges are at least reasonably sharp.

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  • The USGI Pulaski is probably the most sought after tool for digging at East Wind. These are quite troublesome to find since although they are fairly common on the market, sellers generaly do not know what to call them and they do not have any obvious names on either the tool itself or even the tags that are frequently found on them. When you do find one, they are generally well worth the money. The adz hoe side is a very efficient digging tool in the soil at DDAP and the axe side is handy for grubbing roots, limbing branches and clearing brush. Take the time to dress the edges of your tool up but remember, this one is designed to work in hard soil and rocks so you are looking for more of a chisel tip than a fine tip to avoid chipping or breaking your edges.


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  • The older USGI Pick/mattock is a good option as well. It has a shorter handle than the pulaski which is helpful when carrying it but a detriment when digging with it. The pick side is generally less useful than the ax side of the pulaski but it's still much faster to dig in rough ground with the pick/mattock than with the standard trifold shovel. Look for original units with the pouch and do not even consider getting a "new" one since these are very commonly made with sand cast heads in Asia that have been known to break while carrying them never mind actually digging.