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BLACKHAWK! was founded in 1993 by former Navy SEAL mike Noell. BLACKHAWK!'s meticulous obsession with quality has made it the ops gear of choice for Special Operation units worldwide. Mike Noell's US Navy experience provided him the inspiration for the gear BLACKHAWK! now manufactures. While operating inside Northern Iraq, he had to hump "a ton" of gear by foot in an enemy minefield. The pack failed, dumping his gear into the mine-ridden grounds. "If I get out of this alive, I will make this stuff the way it needs to be built," he remarked to a fellow operator. Upon entering the private sector, that's exactly what he did, making gear and packs in a garage, and growing ever since.