“Nighttime fog and dust on an off-road trip can be a real pain and slow things down to a crawl; fog and dust in Afghanistan during combat can be deadly, especially at night. In 2004 I made my first trip to Afghanistan as a young US Army Military Paratrooper. Back then, we still had the old HUMVEE as our “go everywhere, keep us alive” vehicle. As a driver, I remember being as concerned about a lack of vision at night as I was about IED’s or getting shot at with small arms fire. A rollover in a military vehicle meant the possibility lives were going to be lost. Nighttime could be a great killer.
Fast forward a few years, experience, trips to Afghanistan and equipment improvements later, and there I was yet again in Afghanistan, this time as the Platoon Sergeant, leading some of the greatest Paratroopers and Soldiers around, as one of the last units in Afghanistan running missions in 2014.
In those 10 years, we have seen major improvements in everything from body armor to hydration; but one of the standout improvements we have seen is by far LIGHTING. It seems like such a small thing in the grand scheme of things, but after seeing the devastating effects of rollovers at night or with fog and dust during combat, it had always been something I took notice of.
On my military vehicle for this deployment were these lights that were taking a beating and had been submerged, taken direct impacts and every other thing you could possibly do to piece of equipment. I had heard of this company “Rigid Industries” that was mentioned on the housing of our lights, as I had owned Jeep’s, Bronco’s, and a Ford Raptor. I had seen the Rigid name, but always just thought LED’s were LED’s. I could not believe the beating that Rigid housing took or how after all the abuse there was still no fogging in the LED’s, nothing was turning yellow, none of the wiring was failing. It was nothing short of amazing. These lights could turn night into day when it really mattered and I was sold.
After a tough deployment I came home and like all tough situations, looked to rebound by putting my energy into something constructive. I wanted to get back into the Jeep world, and went and purchased a 2014 AEV Rubicon 4-Door a week after I returned to the states in September 2014. It quickly became my place to feel normal; my place to focus my thoughts, especially when you are still trying to feel normal again.
One of the first purchases I made was a set of Rigid Industry Dually D2’s. They became Dual D2’s for the A-Pillar soon after, as well as my Rigid Fog Lights; more followed to include my Truck Lite headlights.
As time went on and I got back to normal, building my “GrapplerJK” became less about needing it to focus my energy, and more about just having fun again. The lift when on, the big tires, the steering, the amazing Ripp Supercharger and on and on, and like everyone who loves Jeep’s or off-roading, the build continues and hopefully the happy off-road trails continue.
My son asked me one time, “Daddy, what do these do?” as he pointed to the Rigid Industries light bar on the hood. “They turn night time into day son, on the trails or wherever you may be, when it really matters”.
Some other really great companies I’d love to mention are, Ripp Superchargers is awesome, great people, amazing product; I could go on for hours about them. Carolina Metal Masters makes the best steering components in the world; 7075 billet aluminum that will take a beating. Wilson off Road in Fayetteville NC does much of my work; veteran owned and operated.”
-Staff Sergeant Jeff Yurk (Follow him on Instagram @GrapplerJK)
Currently installed on Jeff’s 2014 AEV Rubicon JKU:
In a recent turn of events Rigid Industries LED Lighting is saddened to say devastation has hit the home of Staff Sergeant Jeff Yurk, and his family.
This week a devastating fire that originated in the chimney of Jeff’s house destroyed all of his families earthly possessions. Jeff and his 7 months pregnant wife are dual Military both serving in the 82nd Airborne Division at Fort Bragg, NC. They are being quoted by their insurance company with an out of pocket expense that could reach 100k.
He has set up both a GoFundMe account (http://dm.gofund.me/p78fww) as well as a PayPal account (email@example.com) to collect donations. He needs to collect 100k in less than 30 day. Come on Rigid Nation let’s all show our devoted support to our active Military family and friends.