All-Purpose Lightweight Individual Carrying Equipment (ALICE) introduced in 1974 was made up of components for two types of load: the "fighting load" and the "existence load". The ALICE system was designed for use in all environments, whether hot, temperate, cold-wet or even cold-dry arctic conditions. It replaced all prior systems for both the U.S. Army and Marine Corps, including the M1956 Lightweight Load-Carrying Equipment and the M1967 Individual Load-Carrying Equipment.
All-Purpose Lightweight Individual Carrying Equipment (ALICE) is described in a 1976 Training Circular (TC 10-19), a document that was carried over to the 1977 version of FM 21-15, Care and Use of Individual Clothing and Equipment.
The fighting load is the minimum needed by a combat soldier who has to be able to move quickly and with agility. It is anchored by the Individual Equipment Belt, successor to the Utility Belt of the two World Wars. The Individual Equipment Belt Suspenders attach to the belt with snap hooks and shift the load to the shoulders. The suspenders allow many other attachment points for additional gear.
The ALICE Individual Equipment Belt LC-1 used the slide fastener "keepers" for attached equipment such as the canteen, first aid pouch, or intrenching tool, keepers that came into use with the M-1956 series of equipment. The keepers replaced the old-style M1910 wire hooks for all attachments. The Individual Equipment Belt had two rows of grommetted holes: the bottom row that could accept the old hooks so all equipment did not have to be replaced at once and the top row for attaching the suspenders. The Individual Equipment Belt was closed by a plastic clip fastener, replacing the M1967 "Davis buckle." In 1981 the Individual Equipment Belt LC-2 replaced the earlier closure with a green plastic quick-release buckle.
Front and rear of Case, Small Arms Ammunition (2) 30 rd. mag.
The components of the Fighting Load are numbered in the diagram as follows:
Belt, Individual Equipment (size Medium or Large)
Case, Small Arms Ammunition (2) 30 rd. mag.
Suspenders, Belt,Individual Equipment
Carrier, Intrenching Tool, Plastic
Cover, Canteen 1 Quart
Case, Field First Aid Dressing/Unmounted Magnetic Compass
ALICE: Existence Load
The Existence Load components carry all the equipment, food, and other essentials to maintain a soldier in the field until resupply is possible. The Combat Pack comes in two sizes to be used depending on the length of the mission and weather conditions.
The components of the Existence Load are numbered in the diagram as follows:
The pack frame is the mount for either the medium or large combat pack. The pack frame can be used with or without the support shelf -- bulky loads such as ammo boxes, water or gas jerry can, radio equipment, or rations should be supported by the shelf and strapped down.
The shoulder straps can be attached on either side of the body with the quick release located for easiest use by the soldier.
The Medium Pack has a pouch with a drawcord closure and three outside pockets. It has a 50 pound capacity. The pouch has an inside pocket designed to fit the AN/PRC-25 or -77 radio, if issued. The pouch flap has a map pocket. The pack may be carried with or without the pack frame by attaching the shoulder straps as desired. Tie-down cords and D-rings inside the pouch can be used to shorten the pack if only partially filled. Equipment hangers for canteens, bayonet, intrenching tool or other equipment are provided on the sides of the pack and above the pockets. Early issue ALICE packs included waterproof liner bags for the main compartment and the three outside pockets, but that was later discontinued. Drainage eyelets are provided in the main pouch and pockets.
Bedrolls can be strapped to the top or bottom of the pack, using loops provided, or can be stuffed inside if there is room.
The Large Pack is used for long missions or in the Arctic where more clothing and shelter must be carried. It has a 70 pound capacity. In addition to the features of the Medium Pack, there is another row of three small pockets on the outside above the regular pockets. The large pack is always carried on the pack frame.
White, olive green, and camouflage pattern covers are available for different field conditions.
ALICE packs and related accessories are available from militaria dealers or sources like eBay, as well as from other vendors of military items. Amazon.com lists several versions of the ALICE pack.
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