This was quite the find. When some people read this, they might get rather upset. I’m not a collector. I opened some stuff. So, if you’re historically inclined, you might want to just gloss over the pictures and then move on to another article.
FRAASS Survival Systems, Inc.
I cannot find any information on this old company. I have owned various items over the years that was manufactured or “packaged” by FRAASS. Most of these items were “Battle Dressings” and various trauma bandages and compresses clearly marked, “FRAASS Survival Systems.”
There is something about the slightly disturbing stench of an old fishing tacklebox that has been deprived of clean air for a few years. It’s that melted rubber worm – half melted soft plastic smell mixed with a little bit of mustiness that takes you back… That is, if you messed around with a lot of old fishing tackle when you were a kid.
If you’re anyone else, you just smell that particular odor and say, “That stinks!”
Well, that is the way this little (soft) plastic survival kit smelled like. I was like, “Whew, that’s pleasant!”
Then I opened it; of course the odor became even stronger. But it was not so much offensive as fondly remembered.
Sort of the way country people feel when they travel hundreds, if not thousands, of miles “back home” and smell the fields. Ya know what I mean?
This picture is taken with an ALICE pack, just to show you the size of the FRAASS Kit’s container, compared with the straps of the pack.
And a side view…
I think this container is only one of about three or four containers that had the same, basic design and were just tweaked over the years. The way the kit’s contents interact with the container itself is what was tweaked over the years. The basic two-piece box with some sort of “hinge design” is basically the same. I don’t know if hot glue was used with the fold out flaps on all versions or not, but it was on this kit I have.
To best describe this plastic… Well, on a scale of 1 to 10. 1 being the most brittle type of plastic – like plastic tableware and 10 being the softest type of plastic like you would find in…a plastic worm for fishing! Well, the FRAASS Survival Kit container is about a 6 or possibly a 7 then. More pliable than you might think…
The Tropical Individual Survival Kit is an extremely simple affair. Of course, there is an emphasis on bug control. Bugs in the tropics have a tendency to make you so sick that it can derail your efforts to escape and evade from the enemy so it makes sense for the military to dwell on this.
The nylon mosquito headnet and mittens are in this kit. Excellent gear. Just being able to sleep without the skeeters being able to home in on your breath has a lot to do with survival. You need your rest, especially if you are injured. If you do not get some rest, your chances of survival diminish.
This kit is, more than anything, a “fast mover” kit. It is more about keeping on the move and not falling victim to “down time” from being sick. Notice the medication in the kit and the bug control items. Other than that, there is not much more in this kit. You have the saw because you can cut branches and whatnot for simple shelter, etc., you have the compass for general direction finding – even that points to – moving out! Simple Band-Aids and disinfectant for patching minor injuries.
There are anti-malarial tablets (named below) as well as insect repellant, a very small “stick” form applicator.
In the picture below I have numbered a few things.
1. Baggy to gather water or food. Has old type wire ties
2. (Inside Kit) Johnson & Johnson Brand Band-Aids
3. (Inside Kit) USGI Water Purification Tablets
4. Povidone-Iodine Solution
5. Nylon Mosquito Headnet and Mittens
6. List of contents, Mini-Hot Weather Survival Booklet and Pencil
7. FRASS Survival Systems bandage
There are a couple of red dots I placed on some other items. The red dot above the number 3 points to more Johnson & Johnson brand Band-Aids.
Two red dots to the right: Upper red dot is on packages of Aspirin and lower red dot is on end of package containing Cadmium-plated Wire Saw.
The red dot on the bottom – center of the kit is on the book of matches in a plastic bag.
Contents List Sheet (Included inside Kit)
SURVIVAL KIT, INDIVIDUAL
TROPICAL, TACTICAL AIR CREW
FRAASS SURVIVAL SYSTEMS, INC.
CONTRACT NO. DLA 120-82-C-4874
LIST OF CONTENTS AND INSTRUCTIONS FOR USE
(What follows is Item Identification, Quantity, Use for and Dosage)
PAIN KILLER TABS, ASPIRIN TABLETS, (6505-00-118-1948), 10, HEADACHE & ACUTE PAIN, 1 OR 2 TABLETS EVERY 4 HOURS UP TO 4 TIMES A DAY.
ANTI-MALARIA TABS, CHLOROQUINE AND PRIMAQUINE AND PHOSPHATE TABLETS (6505-00-913-7905), 2, MALARIA PREVENTION, TAKE 1 TABLET PER WEEK WITH OR AFTER FOOD. SWALLOW - DO NOT CHEW.
ANTI-DIARRHEA TABS, DIPHENOXYLATE HYDROCHLORIDE & ATROPINE SULFATE TABLETS (6505-00-118-1914), 10, DIARREAH, TAKE 2 TABLETS 3 OR 4 TIMES DAILY.
ANTISEPTIC SOLUTION, POVIDONE-IODINE SOLUTION (6505-00-914-3593), 1, FUNGUS INFECTIONS, CUTS, BITES AND SCRATCHES, APPLY TO SKIN AS REQUIRED FOR INSECT BITES, RUB IN.
WATER PURIFICATION TABLETS (6850-00-985-7166), 50, PURIFYING WATER, 2 TABLETS PER QT. OF WATER IN TROPIC ZONE. SHAKE WELL. WAIT 20 MINUTES BEFORE USING.
SULFACETAMIDE SODIUM OPTHALMIC OINTMENT USP, 10%, 1/8 oz. (3.5 grams) (6505-00-183-9419), 1, EYE IRRITATION, APPLY A SMALL AMOUNT TO INSIDE OF LOWER EYE LID 4 TIMES IN 24 HOURS. DO NOT RUB EYE.
RAZOR KNIFE (6515-00-926-2089), 1, SHAVING HAIR & OPENING WOUNDS, AS REQUIRED.
BANDAGE, GAUZE, ELASTIC, 2 PLY, 2 INCHES BY 5 YARDS (6510-00-913-7906), 1, CUT IN LENGTHS AS REQUIRED FOR BANDAGING INJURIES.
ADHESIVE TAPE, SURGICAL (6510-01-060-1639), 1, MINOR CUTS AND CLOTHING REPAIRS.
BANDAGE ADHESIVE, ¾ x 3 INCHES (6510-00-913-7909) (BAND AIDS), 12, MINOR CUTS AS REQUIRED.
HEADNET AND MITTEN SET, 1, PROTECTION AGAINST INSECTS. APPLY INSECT REPELLANT BEFORE USING.
STICK OF INSECT REPELLANT (6840-00-142-8965)*, 1, PREVENTION OF INSECT BITES. APPLY TO CLOTHING AND EXPOSED SKIN, AS NEEDED.
COMPASS (6605-00-307-1322)v, 1, AS REQUIRED.
SAW, FLEXIBLE (6515-00-296-2529)v, 1, AS REQUIRED.
MATCHES, SAFETY, HUMIDITY RESISTANT 20, AS REQUIRED.
SURVIVAL BOOKLET WITH PENCIL (7610-00-965-2487), 1, READ AND FOLLOW INSTRUCTIONS.
BAG, FOOD SAMPLE (6695-00-118-2918), 3, CARRYING WATER, WRAPPING FOOD, PROTECTING VALUABLES FROM MOISTURE AND WATER.
*-MANAGED BY DGSC
v-WILL NOT BE RESUPPLIED, REPLACEMENT MUST BE OBTAINED LOCALLY
No Match Safe? No Metal Match? No Magnesium Firestarter? You got to be joking!
Nope, a book of paper matches like you find nowadays in regular MREs, that’s what was in this Kit. Sealed in a little plastic bag.
I don’t have to write anything else about that – other than to say that is totally inadequate.
Also totally unacceptable given that other items were in the National Inventory and they could have been placed in there. (I think other versions of this same kit had better firestarters, etc. FRAASS actually made the Metal Match; at least their name is printed on the end of the grip, on the Metal Match that I own. It came out of another Airmen’s Kit and that is the subject of another article.)
In the tropics, obviously, you don’t have to worry about hypothermia. It still should have better firestarting capability.
Here it is, still sealed in the plastic after all of these years…
The years change and the terminology changes with the years it seems. This little compass could be called an “escape compass” or an “escape and evasion compass” or “survival compass” or even a “neck compass.”
It is a tad bit larger than what we would normally refer to as a, “button compass” but I guess you could call it that as well. Here it is next to the “NATO” Button Compass in the picture below.
This is really the gem in an old Survival Kit like this, I have to be honest, it’s the reason I obtained the kit – besides having something else interesting to write about!
This compass was never intended to be something that you would call artillery in with. Like the old British SOE and RAF compasses and the modern counterpart, the NATO brass button compass, this is a compass for an emergency situation where you just have to get your ass moving in a general direction to get to safety. Don’t think in “degrees,” think about, “Move your ass thataway!”
It keeps you from being totally disoriented, that’s all. Land navigation with the most bare-bone tool that they can stuff into a Survival Kit.
When you think about it that way and you examine this compass, you realize that this really is an awesome little piece of gear.
This is the same Cadmium-plated (“Varco”) wire saw that I wrote about in the other Survival Kit article, “Airman’s Survival Kit.”
Go check it out!
Same as above! This FRAASS Tropical Survival Kit came with a Derma-Shave folding razor blade and like the wire saw, I covered that piece of equipment in the Airman’s Survival Kit. No sense wasting space for text or pictures on something covered elsewhere on the site.
This Kit is a neat piece of history and something good to study. As a type of Survival Kit that was actually issued to military personnel…it leaves a lot to be desired.
It is really interesting to see the thought that went into the various types of containers and ideas on packing.
Stay tuned for more in the future. You never know what I might get my hands on next!
copyright 2004 DonRearic.Com
Back to the Main Index