We just returned from visiting a major US Air Force base where we were amazed by the diverse categories of equipment that require an UID mark.  So many different surfaces and conditions challenge the marking effort.  For example, some conditions require that adhesives bond to a surface temperature up to 160° F. Other conditions required a material that could handle being covered in jet fuel.  Remember that the UID has to last the life of that item, once it’s applied.

As we developed our strategy to support these equipment custodians, the importance of planning before deploying teams to perform “seek and apply” UID marking became apparent.

Equipment lists are critical in identifying items, but nothing can replace actual in-person contact with the equipment.  How could we possibly have identified how and where to mark 3,000 gallon fuel bladders with an expanding and contracting rubber surface, if we hadn’t see one first hand?  Handling a weapon such as an M240 and addressing the issues of optimal marking while considering the “in use” and “in storage” conditions is crucial.

Marking equipment with UID is no small feat.  It requires the right mix of engineering insight and knowledge of the equipment.  Make sure you have the right people ready for the job.