Clayton Montgomery is the "Monkey" behind Mil-Spec Monkey. He's never worn a uniform, but you wouldn't know it by his product. Clayton is an artist. In studying for a project while working as a U.S. Army video game developer, he created his first design based on the movie Team America in 2006. He credits the idea for that patch to the socnet.com forum.
For his first experiment, Clayton only made 50 patches or so. He didn't have any way to estimate demand for them, but when pictures of troops wearing them while deployed overseas were posted on the Internet, business took off. It's now a full-time operation. Clayton's work has been noticed by more than just those in uniform. He's also completed work for the likes of AAC, Remington Defense and VTAC.
So what are the most popular morale patches? "It's a mix," says Clayton. "Some new recruits don't know the older movies. Then, all of the sudden, we'll have a huge request, as if an entire generation discovered a particular film. The 'Haji Don't Surf' patch is a good example of a throwback to a classic that comes in spurts."
This self-described tactical geek is now a success. He has a warehouse armory, drives a Scion XD (because it gets good gas mileage), has no debt and isn't married. What would the Monkey tell his younger self? "Don't worry, you'll get more chicks later. Once I hit 30, I was on a dating spree that my high school self would be pretty proud of." If you haven't done so already, take some time to get to know Mil-Spec Monkey.
Who lives in a pineapple under the sea? Not this guy; he lives in your nightmares.
Major League Doorkicker
If busting into fortified compounds was a sport, our troops would be pros.
Pork Eating Crusader
This flies in the face of Islam, and oh my Allah, is it delicious.
We're not guessing on this one.
Your Mom Sends Me Care Packages
We're sure your mom is a very nice lady.
Suck Meter/Fun Meter
How much does it suck? How fun is it? Now you'll always be sure.
Patches in Action
We discovered SPC Chase Steely, a Nashville native and the photographer who snapped this shot, through his amazing Flickr account
. He enlisted in 2009 and was deployed to the Tangi Valley, Afghanistan, from Oct. 21, 2010, through Oct. 15, 2011, with 4th Brigade, 10th Mountain, 2/4 Infantry Creek Co., Black Sheep Platoon. We have three reasons to like him: He has a great sense of humor, loves sweet tea and he's sure to become one of this war's most epic photographers to capture life in the midst of combat.
"Eat my nuts."
Flying Trunk Monkey
For all you gunners back there protecting the boys on the ground.
Ohhh, that's who you are.
Combat Arms takes a technical, informative and sometimes humorous look at the life of the military professional. Published each spring, Combat Arms features the latest rifles, pistols, scopes and equipment to carry into the battlespace and gives perspective on training from professionals such as Scott Reitz.
Look for it on newsstands April 3, 2012.