|Go Gentle Into That Good Night|
But it was definitely dark: an inky, solid, utterly flat blackness at an abandoned airstrip just south of Marine HQ at Quantico.
Yet a quarter-mile off I could see what looked to be a whole platoon of tough guys -- maybe eight of them. Two were smoking. A couple were chatting. All looked totally, completely bored mulling around in the middle of the night.
Yet even in the total darkness, I could see them clear as day. Welcome to the high-tech, straight-out-of-Hollywood world of military-grade night optics. Few people outside the military know it, but regular folks like us can own these marvels of Ghost Rider night vision provided we can foot the bill and, in some cases, tolerate some snooping into our personal lives to prove we're not planning a coup of some sort. Granted, these systems are preposterously expensive. But if you suffer from acute male-pattern outdoor foolishness, as I do, you will know that seeing well on a dark and stormy night is of utter and complete importance. "If you have $8,000 to spend on a pair of night binoculars and you and are willing to work through the security clearances, we can definitely work with you," says J. Allen Thornton, a member of the domestic business development team at Sensor Technology Systems, a Beaver Creek, Ohio-based manufacturer of advanced night-vision systems. The booming night-vision sector is jam-packed with players. Companies like