Must Haves on Deployment [Archive] - Glock Talk

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ezterra
10-06-2007, 10:03
Now that I can see the light at the end of the tunnel for AIT, I'm kind of wondering what are some must haves when you deploy? I'm talking about gear related things that the Army does not issue. So far, the soldiers who already have their orders are all going to places that will be deploying within six months of them arriving. So I'm trying to get an idea of how much money I should start saving to get things for when I deploy. I'm pretty sure when I get to my duty station, they will be able to give me this information, but I'd like to start saving and looking around till then.

I am currently in EOD school. So, although I'm not combat arms, I will be spending most of my time in the field.

Thanks!

syntaxerrorsix
10-06-2007, 18:44
Ok I'll start. Creature comforts such as under clothing, a balaclava an extra poncho liner :> Don't forget fingernail clippers and a small, sharp quality folder. Remember if you pack it you hump it. Maybe a deck of cards,Ipod ,batteries,reading material. Issue flashlights suck, and you can never have to many pairs of socks. Thats my start for the list.

deadday
10-06-2007, 23:18
Gerber or Leatherman style multi-tool...Damned thing will save your life...Some units are issuing them with RFI, but not all..If you are bringing battery operated gear, buy a solar powered battery charger and some good rechargeable batteries...New batteries may not be around but you will never be without sun...Under-Armor boxer briefs...Love them...Don't go overboard with electronics, wait till you get where your going and have them sent to you, or buy them when you get there...Porn is a great distraction (everybody is thinking, but don't want to say it ;-) ) but that is also something that will have to be sent discretely once you arrive..DO NOT DO NOT DO NOT have anyone send you alcohol. Do not drink any while you are there. It will get you in trouble. Get you busted in rank. Take your pay. Could get you killed. Could get your buddies killed. Believe me, you can make up for the lost time at your 2 week, and again at your Post Deployment Reception Ball or whatever your unit does..


drew

jeff copeland
10-11-2007, 16:17
it also depends on where you go, who you go with what px and local support and what the other units left behind
my first time it was pack ammo med supplies water and food
the second was what type of laptop to take and what ps2 games to get

shaneman153d
10-17-2007, 20:38
my first time it was pack ammo med supplies water and food
the second was what type of laptop to take and what ps2 games to get

+1!! Find out where you're going for sure then plan from there. Iraq has more creature comforts and nicer "housing" than Afghanistan. (For the most part) #1 morale lifesaver for me was a laptop. "gearwise" I'd suggest a handheld GPS on your person. You can buy them loaded with Iraq map data, costs quite a bit, but could be a lifesaver. http://www.foxgraph.com/garmin/eTrexVistaCx_bundle.htm

MrMurphy
10-18-2007, 01:27
I am Air Force, not Army, but I'm Security Forces, about the most armylike group we've got other than PJs and CCT/TACP guys, and I'm currently deployed.

WHere i am is a "cake post" i.e we have a BX, movie theater and crap like that, and nobody shoots at us. Yes, there's sand, bugs, and the usual (as well as a lot of Army guys here too) but some things don't change.



As noted, your RFI gives you tons of good stuff. Friend of mine who went to Tikrit got so much crap I was jealous. :)

Gerber or Leatherman. I have both, the Gerber is on my gear, the Leatherman stayed at home.

Good blade(s). Check out the Spyderco Chinook II or Manix for strong, sharp, yet affordable folder of decent size.

Good lights. Today was a case of "two is one and none is dead", we had to do a building search on the perimeter, and the other guy had no light (it was 0200) and neither of us had NVGs available (with the ambient light from the runways etc they wouldnt' have helped much). I carry a pair of Surefires (weaponmounted, and handheld) so he got my handheld and a serious *****ing out afterward. He's 19, he lived to learn.

ALWAYS carry a spare. Depending on your MOS you may get issued a Surefire, but at minimum a 6P or G2 should always be on you. A Gerber Recon makes a nice LED admin light, with all four lens colors it puts out as much light as an anglehead and it's the size of your finger. Runs on 1 AA for about a year, mine goes everywhere with me. Good for late night bathroom runs too.


That is a good start. Poncho liners come in handy for an extra "wall" for your bunk or a blanket too, I take mine everywhere.

17 hours awake, need to crash. Sorry.

deadday
10-18-2007, 08:28
And please, for the love of God, do everything you can to leave MrMurphy on Rear D. That man could **** up a one man marching band (not you personnaly bro, our good friend Murphy that tags along on every mission, causes blowouts in the worst part of the AO, causes weapons malfunctions in the middle of firefights, yada yada)



drew

Biscuitsjam
11-28-2007, 12:09
I edited my post somewhat and added a few more things. My suggestion is to get a decent pocketknife, multitool, pillow and blanket, extra shirts, socks, and underwear, a laptop computer, and whatever other entertainment device you want (mp3 player, dvd player, handheld gaming device). Don't spend all your money up front. If you forget to bring something that you later decide that you want, you can always ask your folks to mail it to you.



I've posted various versions of this many times now. Here it comes again though (care package suggestions):

Really, what you ought to send depends on the kind of base that your soldiers are in. Older bases typically have libraries of donated books, while newer bases have virtually no reading material. Big bases have PXs with american food and good chow halls, while smaller bases have neither. Bases in safer areas typically have access to hajji markets, where pirated DVD movies can be cheaply purchased, while dangerous areas (and especially remote areas) do not have them.

The key to a successful care package, I think, is to make it memorable. Include things that no one else has.


Entertainment:
Most soldiers have laptop computers, but a handful don't. We had one guy ask his office for their old laptops, which he then sent to us. The recipients were excited beyond belief.

DVD movies are one of the primary sources of entertainment. HOWEVER, most soldiers have access to the local "hajimarts" where they can buy pirated movies for ridiculously-low costs. I wouldn't recommend sending them unless they are asked for.

Computer games are in very high demand but were not available for purchase anywhere while I was over there. Almost everybody has a laptop and we all played lots of video games, but the only way to ever get new ones was to have someone ship them to us. I'd recommend asking for recommendations out of the bargain bin. You can get good games that are a couple years old for $10-20, instead of the $40-50 for brand-new games. Since most of the laptops aren't top-of-the-line, the older games are ideal anyway.

Playstation, Nintendo, and Xbox games and controllers are also popular. Unlike computer games, console games are usually carried in military shoppettes (at full price). Many "hajimarts" also have pirated versions of these games at steep discounts. I'd ask before sending any type of console game, mostly because there are so many types of consoles out there. Computer games are cheaper, more popular and accessible for more soldiers.

Most everybody does a lot of reading over there, even soldiers that have never read a book for fun before. Over time, established bases usually end up with a room somewhere full of donated books. Unfortunately, the best books are usually held onto and only the least-desired stuff makes it onto the shelves. Romance novels, murder mysteries, and lawyer stories are very plentiful, but fantasy books, war fiction, nonfiction books, horror, historical fiction, and science fiction are almost entirely unavailable.

Magazines are also very popular. Since the majority of people sending care packages are women and they usually send what they have lying around the house, that means that we all got to keep up with the celebrity gossip. EVERY magazine got read and usually multiple times. The magazines like Maxim, Stuff, and FHM were the most popular, but I'd also recommend Reader's Digest and Guideposts. Those contain numerous short stories that are generally uplifting.

Board games go over well also. However, I'd stick to established favorites, like Chess, Checkers, Risk, Stratego, or Axis&Allies.

Playing cards are great too. We spent a lot of time playing spades, hearts, hell, and other such games.

It might be nice to throw in a local newspaper from home also. I especially liked the comics, but it was also nice just being able to keep up with daily stuff also. I didn't like when people tried to censor news to keep morale up.


Food:

Access to food depends on location. Bigger bases have better chow, but even that can get old pretty fast (smaller bases have army cooks, and that usually means weight loss). Importantly, soldiers often miss meal times because of erratic schedules - they have to go on patrols, guard duty, or other assignments at all hours of the day or night, sleeping when they can. Snack food that can keep them going is very important.

Granola bars, peanut-butter crackers, and cheese crackers are wonderful, but just about everyone sends them. Try to be a little original and send something unique. Fig Newtons, Cheese-its, Summer Sausage, German candy...

Microwavable food was very popular. Believe it or not, most soldiers have access to a microwave. The Iraqis sell them, and a few enterprising souls managed to bring them in their duffle bags. When a unit leaves, the microwaves get passed on to the replacement unit. I had my folks send me stuff to make bean burritos and pizzas. Other people sent prepackaged microwaveable meals of other sorts.


Phone cards

Honestly, I wouldn't recommend sending phone cards, unless you know they are needed at that particular base. Some bases use commercial payphones that require phone cards. Other bases use DSN (special military phonelines) or VoIP (computer and headset) phones that do not. Everybody wants to make phone calls home, but a large percentage of bases have ways of doing so that do not involve phone cards.


The locals

Candy and toys. I had three churches and numerous individuals sponsoring me while I was over there. I mainly asked them to send us stuff for the Iraqi children, which we regularly gave out on patrols. It always put a huge smile on the kids faces to get something and it put just as big of smiles on ours to give things out. We actually had so much stuff to give out that we set up a special patrol where we loaded up two humvees all the way up with stuff and brought 30 dismounted soldiers to the Yusufiyah marketplace just to distribute everything we had.

Soccer balls. This is the national pasttime in Iraq, but the locals often don't have decent balls to play with. We distributed hundreds of balls, and they really helped build goodwill. Don't forget to send a pump to inflate them, also.

Polaroid camera with film. The Iraqis almost always got a huge kick out of having their pictures taken. Cameras are rare over there, and they think it somehow makes them special to be in a photograph. If you can take their picture and give them a copy, it goes over HUGE.

"Freaky Freaky" Magazines (anything with a picture of a woman in it, even fully-clothed), soap, shampoo, and shaving cream were great trading items with the Iraqi army and police. Unfortunately, they didn't really have anything to trade in return, other than illegal contraband.


More popular stuff:

Moisture-wicking shirts are VERY popular. The most popular brand is Underarmor, but some of the alternative brands like Coolmax are pretty decent too.

Socks are often in short supply. I'd recommend military-style bootsocks. However, even white cotton socks will be used.

You might also want to consider sending sealed packages of underwear.

For those soldiers with Checkmate-brand pistol magazines, it would be advantageous to send Beretta-brand pistol magazines. The Checkmate ones are extremely unreliable but are still being issued to many units. If you are unsure, don't send them. You especially don't need to send rifle magazines, since the soldiers that need them can usually get as many as they wish to carry.

Ballistic glasses are issued, but they often become scratched and unuseable. Simple safety glasses are pretty cheap, but they work well and you can send a lot of them. Make sure they are impact-resistent rated! I'm especially partial to the Uvex XC glasses. Soldiers need clear lenses for night ops and tinted lenses for day ops.

Baby wipes. Everybody uses them and everybody needs them. They are also included in every care package. I'd include a few, but I probably wouldn't devote the bulk of the package to them, since you have no idea how many other care packages that unit has received.

Boresnakes let soldiers clean weapons much faster and with less effort than if they used issued weapons cleaning kits. The most common military calibers are 5.56mm, 7.62mm, and 9mm, roughly in that order, but you ought to check which caliber your soldier uses before sending this type of item.

Militec oil. Some love it, some hate it. Personally, I thought it worked great if you followed the directions. If you didn't, you'd probably end up with a mess on your hands.

Bug spray is sometimes available and it is sometimes not. It is certainly needed though. Avoid aerosol cans. Either wipes or pushbottles work.

Tobacco products are always in very high demand. Soldiers want their personal favorite brands of cigarettes and dip and they want it as fresh as possible. However, I never asked anyone to send any since I didn't use the stuff. Copenhagen dip was probably in the highest demand.

Photographs.

Hygeine products are really hit-or-miss. We got a ton of toothbrushes and shampoo (we have no hair!), but nobody ever sent us deoderant or toothpaste. We gave what we didn't need to the Iraqi army. Iraqis seem to go nuts over any kind of hygeine stuff (just watch Iraqi TV sometime).

Some folks back home sent things like flags and stickers of favorite sports teams. We also flew a pirate flag from our tank for a while. I kept trying to get one of my friends to send me a school flag to take a picture with and send back to him (to hang at the fraternity house), but he'd never do it.

I built a regulation-sized ping pong table out of scrap lumber right after we got over there. The folks back home sent ping pong paddles, balls, and a net. They also sent a basketball goal, basketballs, and pump and of course, footballs.


Big Ticket items (check before you send anything like these):

Wireless routers are very desireable. We all played video games, but we needed a wireless router to be able to play against eachother.

12v or 24v power inverters (depending on the vehicle) make life a whole lot easier for those soldiers that go out on patrol. Also, I'd recommend throwing in a few fans to cool things off (very few vehicles have airconditioning). Fans that can work on both 110v and 220v are best, since the electrical outlets inside the barracks can be either voltage.

A snowcone maker. Yes, I installed a snowcone maker in my tank.

I managed to find a great deal on image-stabilized binoculars before I left. They're nice for using on a moving vehicle.

A lot of soldiers always carried really nice fixed-blade knives and small pocketknives.

GPS devices were popular, particularly the Garmin Rino (it also has a radio built-in, which often came in useful). The maps usually aren't available for our areas, but you can kind of make your own by saving "trackbacks."

Most soldiers try to acquire an MP3 player and a portable DVD player at some point, and handheld gaming systems are highly popular.

It was a real pain to get gamepads or joysticks for soldiers that wanted to play certain types of computer games.

Nice compact flashlights are almost impossible to find over there, so if yours breaks, you are SOL. Also, my folks bought me a reading lamp, which saw a lot of use not only for reading, but also for stumbling around in the dark when getting ready to go to guard duty or getting back from patrol.

I wore out my boots while I was over there, but I never did manage to convince anyone to send me a replacement.

Every soldier needs a digital camera to take pictures.

Most of us tried to find external hard drives and memory sticks to store all the music, video games, and photos that we shared.

Real sheets, lightweight blankets, and foam pillows were also pretty nice to have.


Contraband:

Porn - it's a UCMJ violation to possess pornography in certain countries, including Iraq. Almost everybody has some, though, and very few leader-types will object. Still, it's probably not a good idea to send porn.

Alcohol - Alcohol is prohibited to all U.S. soldiers, even though civilian contractors and soldiers from every other country are allowed to drink. Even the Iraqi Army is often intoxicated. This is a common contraband item, often hidden deep inside packages or inside other types of containers because of the slim possibility that a box could be searched or accidently opened in front of a senior NCO/officer. Don't send alcohol, ESPECIALLY if it isn't expected on the other end.

ezterra
12-03-2007, 15:15
That's pretty helpful Buiscuitjam. Thanks. Several people suggested a handheld GPS. That's something I think I might start saving for. I'll have to find out exactly what comes in the RFI kit.

Keep the suggestions coming.

RoyG
12-04-2007, 08:16
You're going to need shower shoes. Check out Crocs or Waldies.

Trust me they are worth it.

deadday
12-04-2007, 08:40
You're going to need shower shoes. Check out Crocs or Waldies.

Trust me they are worth it.

Yup, you figure that out the first time you step in the mud, and rip your flops off...


drew

Broylz
12-11-2007, 19:12
i would second the GPS and Laptop. those are the two things i used most. the army's GPS, cant remember the acronym, is okay but slow and difficult to mark objects. i have a garmin vista cx that i had in afghanistan. had a rino in OIF 1 but then hadji got them too and started ambushig us since it transmits yur GPS through a walkie talkie. stay away from rinos, i think they are not allowed anymore also. might look into a set of walkie talkies to BS off the net. just remember OPSEC. also i took my laptop. plays dvds games and music. also comes in handy if they have n internet cafe. no waiting in line for the .gov computers.
dont be the young idiot that buys all the dvds from hadjimart. save your money and borrow them from friends after they got their 2 dollars worth out of them or have a team movie thing set up.
i also prefer gun and jeep magazines. kept my mind busy thinking about what i was going to reward myself with when i got home. had the wife send them with cigarettes. dont trust the hadjis. they have poisoned smokes before. they also taste like crap.

Broylz
12-11-2007, 19:20
if you are stuck in a truck for very long, get an AC/DC converter. you can connect it to one of the batteries under the seat of the HMMWV and you can use it to recharge batteries while out on mission and such. it came in handy alot on OIF1

jlday70
12-12-2007, 12:45
BABY WIPES....a must have...

MrMurphy
12-12-2007, 13:12
On the porn front, we've had multiple caught coming through customs here in less than a week.

Unless it's on a thumb drive or an Ipod (rumor has it, I don't have any myself) it will be found and you will lose stripes. Crappy way to drop rank dude.

Broylz
12-12-2007, 15:05
external harddrives work really well to keep your pics and porn on. officially it is prohibited but ive only seen one person without it.

shaneman153d
12-12-2007, 15:49
i would second the GPS and Laptop. those are the two things i used most. the army's GPS, cant remember the acronym, is okay but slow and difficult to mark objects. i have a garmin vista cx that i had in afghanistan. had a rino in OIF 1 but then hadji got them too and started ambushig us since it transmits yur GPS through a walkie talkie. stay away from rinos, i think they are not allowed anymore also.

+1, everyone who owned a rhino got them confiscated, no unsecure radios in MNC-I. Precision Lightweight GPS Receiver (PLGR or "Plugger") is what you were thinking of,

Bravo-Four
12-12-2007, 16:45
Laptop full of porn

duffelbag loaded with plastic bottles of hard alcohol

your favorite personal firearm chambered for something impressive

^
|
|
|

things you dont want to bring ;)

Never know whos gonna go mumblin to the 'j :)

AK_Stick
12-12-2007, 17:59
+1, everyone who owned a rhino got them confiscated, no unsecure radios in MNC-I. Precision Lightweight GPS Receiver (PLGR or "Plugger") is what you were thinking of,

Not everyone got them taken away. I used the hell out of mine.

However, the issue with Rhino's is that most people forget or don't know how to turn send location off, hence hadji could see where you were.

Plugger and Dagger are alright GPS's but I liked the Etrex we got issued more. My personal Garmin (non Rhino) went everywhere with me.

Don't send porn unless whoever your sending it to doesn't have internet, and even then, only send it if he's not a complete moron and will be able to find a place to secure it. Lots of people have internet now, and can surf from thier hooches.

Things I wont leave behind ever in order of necessity

new bagged socks,
Underwear
underarmor
folding camp chair
big 220-110 converter
laptop
ipod
external HD
good digital camera
decent digi camera
fan
cards
good personal m-9 mags
Magpul AR mags.

I carry a multi tool on me, and a good knife anytime I'm in uniform, and another sturdy fixed blade on my flight vest.

Biscuitsjam
12-13-2007, 01:00
On the porn front, we've had multiple caught coming through customs here in less than a week.

Unless it's on a thumb drive or an Ipod (rumor has it, I don't have any myself) it will be found and you will lose stripes. Crappy way to drop rank dude.They're demoting people for receiving porn through the mail? It isn't like they have any way of knowing whether those guys actually requested the stuff or whether it just got sent unprovoked. I don't know if I could respect an officer that threw the book at soldiers over something like that... There are less severe punishments, like counseling statements, extra duty, and so on.

Our NCOs just looked the other way and didn't even comment when they came across porn on "health and welfare" inspections.

Tennessee Slim
12-13-2007, 04:00
I went over as a civilian puke but my biggest problem was always sleeping. I don't think I'd have lasted without Degil (brand) DePlug earplugs and an eye mask. The military plugs are shyte; Degils are shockingly effective. They're not easy to find and I ended up having to buy a dispenser box with 200 pair from an online safety supply company. The good news is they pack down very small and you can get about 20 pair in an aspirin bottle.

shaneman153d
12-13-2007, 04:30
Not everyone got them taken away. I used the hell out of mine.


Let me re-phrase: Everyone I knew who had one got them confiscated.

One more thing. When you go, bring a lot of cash. Like $300-$500. The unit you relieve is going to get rid of all their **** (TV's, fridge, coffee makers, power converters, etc.) before they leave and it's tough to get large quantities of cash when you first get there. Also, get about 15-20 guys spooled up and ready to purchase a satellite internet dish. I think we paid $3000 for our system and it broke down to about $60/per month.

Broylz
12-13-2007, 15:35
except for personal comfort things and a laptop, i believe that the army, so far at least, has done a decent job of providing phones and internet. you may have to wait a bit but i dont like to spend money i dont have to. lots of people got the dishes and bout satellite or cell phones but ive seen too many 3-500$ bills on up to one $2K bill in a month. people are so dumb. these werent even the newbies thinking they finally got more money than they've ever had either. most were experienced e4/5s. just use your head. its better to save money for a car or new gun when you get home than pay to have internet if its already free two tents down.

MrMurphy
12-13-2007, 16:11
These were "on your person" inspections coming off of flights etc, not in the mail.

In the mail were getting slapped around, but these guys had DVDs etc on them.

shaneman153d
12-13-2007, 18:34
except for personal comfort things and a laptop, i believe that the army, so far at least, has done a decent job of providing phones and internet. you may have to wait a bit but i dont like to spend money i dont have to. lots of people got the dishes and bout satellite or cell phones but ive seen too many 3-500$ bills on up to one $2K bill in a month. people are so dumb. these werent even the newbies thinking they finally got more money than they've ever had either. most were experienced e4/5s. just use your head. its better to save money for a car or new gun when you get home than pay to have internet if its already free two tents down.

True, but not always true. Time is valuable, and the MWR bldg was a 10 min bikeride. Couple that with the 20 minute wait for internet, 30 minute time limit, and the once-a-week commo blackout, and the $60 bill doesn't seem too bad. The bill for those systems is paid quarterly, and I believe it was about $2800. Get enough guys (consider credit checks) and you can have internet in your room. Yahoo messenger has voice + webcam. It's well worth it.

Biscuitsjam
12-13-2007, 19:50
We went about 3 months without phone or internet. It was a couple weeks before we even heard about hurricane Katrina. Looked into getting the satellite stuff, but never pulled the trigger. I was concerned about the costs, particularly since the services all charged huge penalties for going over your monthly bandwidth limits - and, from running networks in the past, I knew that was going to be a losing battle.

jlday70
12-14-2007, 20:20
I just realized you said you were graduating from EOD school, well first of all welcome to the brotherhood. Now as a young Tech the most important thing you need to have over there is your brain. I have lost two Friends from IEDs not because they were bad Techs but because Haji is always slipping something new in. That being said take the advise of the NCOs most of who have been there before, and learn as much as you can.

When you decide to get out of the service the UXO business ain't to bad either.