THE THINGS I CARRIED |
June 02, 2011
Name: Charlie Sherpa
Embedded: with former unit in Afghanistan
Hometown: Boone, Iowa
Milblog: Red Bull Rising
With apologies and acknowledgements to the bound-for-Walden-Pond Henry David Thoreau and the bound-for-Vietnam Tim O'Brien, here's a partial laundry list of my potential laundry downrange:
Things I Packed for the Trip:
- 3 pairs of antimicrobial underwear.
- 3 pairs of antimicrobial socks.
- 1 combat towel.
- 1 inflatable travel pillow.
- 3 long-sleeved shirts.
- 1 short-sleeved shirt.
- 2 pairs of desert-tan cargo pants.
- 1 pair of stone-colored convertible pants. (At least once during the trip, I plan to walk around Afghanistan wearing shorts, and loudly yell "I am not wearing pants!" We'll see how many sergeants major come running.)
- 1 pair combat sandals.
- 1 pair hiking boots.
- My satchel of tricks.
- My "go-to-war" laptop computer.
- My six-shooter coffee cup, with dry-powdered reloads.
Things I Did NOT Pack:
- Anything made of cotton. I miss the feel of it already.
My "deployment copy" of Henry V. While it's once more into the breach for me, this time I opted to replace my usual hip-pocket inspirational with some military-themed science fiction. I used to read a lot of David Drake ("Hammer's Slammers") and Orson Scott Card ("Ender's Game"). I figured that a couple of mass-market science-fiction paperbacks would: (a) fit into a cargo pocket; (b) provide easy distraction from half-day layovers in foreign airports; and (c) avoid barracks discussions about how much Shakespeare does or does not suck. Besides, I got suckered in by this John Scalzi title: "Old Man's War." Don't know why.
My Kevlar helmet and vest. When I still worked at the Magazine Factory, my fellow workaday editors and I were appalled to hear about upper-crust editors-in-chief who sent their luggage via overnight delivery, rather than be hassled by carrying-on or checking-in. Schlepping a gym bag full of heavy-but-still-breakable bulletproof plates on my way to Fort Irwin, Calif. last fall, however, convinced me to send my gear on ahead, courtesy of U.S. Postal Service. As a bonus, now I don't have to worry about them being "confiscated" along the way.
Things I will do while overseas:
- Embed as civilian media to cover the current deployment of the Iowa National Guard's 2nd Brigade Combat Team (B.C.T.), 34th Infantry "Red Bull" Division.
Attempt to post occasional reports to the Red Bull Rising blog.
Things I Promised Household-6 I would NOT do while overseas:
- Take any unnecessary chances.
Grow a moustache.