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GWOT hot wash, straight from the wire

Welcome to The Sandbox, a forum for service members who have served or are currently serving in Iraq and Afghanistan, returned vets, spouses and caregivers. The Sandbox's focus is not on policy and partisanship (go to our Blowback page for that), but on the unclassified details of deployment -- the everyday, the extraordinary, the wonderful, the messed-up, the absurd. All correspondence is read, and as much as possible is posted, lightly edited. If you know someone who is deployed who might have something to say, please tell them about us. To submit a post click here.

THINGS TO HOLD CLOSE |

November 26, 2007

THINGS TO HOLD CLOSE
Name: Eric Coulson
Posting date: 11/26/07
Stationed in: Iraq
Milblog url: badgersforward.blogspot.com
Email: badger.six@gmail.com

Soldiers have traditionally, for very practical reasons, carried very little in the way of personal items with them. In an historical context those of us in Iraq have traveled very heavy. Nonetheless we carry little compared to what we have in our homes, and I still find that I have many things that I can do without. I anticipate much simplifying when I do finally return home.

There are however six things that are now almost like a second skin to me, that I feel truly naked without.

My watch. My Breitling SuperOcean was a gift to myself following law school. A rugged time piece is important in this environment, and military operations are very time oriented. It was important to me before I came to Iraq, but now it is a reminder of everything, because when something important happened we always needed to know what time it was.

My black fleece
. Our last few wars seem to have produced some signature clothing items. To me it is the black fleece jacket. Comfortable, soft and warm, I have two that have warmed both my body and soul when it seemed like nothing else would. Should I wear them out some day, no doubt I will need to replace them.

My desert boots. Belleville 390s. The most comfortable boot ever. Many veterans of Vietnam continued to wear their jungle boots at home, and I can imagine these remaining fairly ubiquitous footwear for, if not the rest of my life, a long time.

A green fleece blanket. A gift from my in-laws last Christmas. I have slept with this every night since I received it; I took it home on leave and slept with it, and all summer long in the cool air-conditioned room I needed something to keep me warm. I will sleep with that until it wears out. Again, it's something that has kept me warm when nothing else could.

A pillow case. When we arrived in Ramadi last year, the unit we replaced had received a box of pillow cases from someone in North Dakota. For some reason this struck my fancy and I picked one out. It had the name and address of the person who made it, and I sent them a thank you letter. I sleep on it every night (yes I have washed it) and will do so until it is no longer usable.

My sunglasses. Oakley Half-Jacket XLJ with polarized lenses. This item is what got me thinking about this list. Mine broke today. I have had them with me every day, and they are on all the time when I'm outdoors. I finally wore the plastic hinge out so it simply would not stay seated, and I lost one of the arms. I was very upset, almost unreasonably so until I analyzed why. Well, I have a new pair on the way, thanks to the Oakley US Standard Issue account.

Comments

Nothing like a man and his blankie and Breitling, I always say. Stay safe, Eric.
Aprille

Your comment about Vietnam vets and jungle boots is absolutely true. I've worn out a whole bunch of 'em in the 38 years since I returned. They remain the most comfortable boots (or shoes, for that matter) that I own.

I have repaired several glasses with the same problem described.
Obtain a drill and a very small diameter bit, and a screw or nut and bolt of the diameter that fits into the arm hole.
If a screw is used, drill a pilot or short hole so that the threads will hold and screw it in.
If a bolt, drill completely through.
Place the arm in position and secure as is suitable.
Then file or grind the tip if it projects, to prevent scratching.
I have had good results with this method.

It's so lucky for me to find your blog! So shocking and great! Just one suggestion: It will be better and easier to follow if your blog can offer rrs subscription service.

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