Goodies for a deploying Marine?

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Goodies for a deploying Marine?

Post by John_Garner » Sat Feb 01, 2003 6:23 pm

Good Afternoon, All --

My Marine son has told us that it looks like he'll be deploying to the Mid East in the near future.

His mom and I want to send him a pre-departure "Care package" of goodies, but we understand that he needs to be able to be able to carry whatever personal equipment he takes while also carrying his official load of USMC equipment. Obviously, we'll need to select what we send carefully.

Based on my own Air Force experience, none of which was spent on deployment, I'm planning on sending him an LED pocket flashlight and a small pair of Vise-Grip pliers. His mom is thinking of socks, sunscreen, and maybe some skin cream (Vaseline, Neosporin, or something like that).

My question to those of you who have military time in the field: What did you find to be the most worthwhile "goodies" to take on deployment?

We'll be waiting for your replies, and extend our thanks in advance.


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Re: Goodies for a deploying Marine?

Post by kurt » Sat Feb 01, 2003 6:40 pm

Lots letters from home.

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Re: Goodies for a deploying Marine?

Post by GeneT » Sat Feb 01, 2003 6:40 pm

I spent 8 months in the Mideast (Desert Shield/Storm) while in the Corps and these are the things that were most universally desireable:
1. Avon 'Skin So Soft' - decent for the skin, and a darn good all-round bug repellent.
2. Powdered drink mixes, variety is nice - I don't think I can ever drink Tang again, but I was glad to have it at the time.
3. If you get a flashlight it needs a red lens if your son is anywhere in the 'front'. The type that fit on your head are nice for reading, writing, etc 'hands free'.
4. Tabasco, and any other good seasonings to make the umpteenth MRE a little more palatable.
5. Playing cards, darts, books, etc. Until something starts it's going to be boring as ****.
6. Desert water bag. (This is like a canvas canteen, evaporation keeps the water cool.)
There are a number of other things that will depend on what kind of a unit he's in, and how much he can take. If he can pack it, an extra e-mat and poncho liner are nice. There're also some bands that swell when soaked in water that you put around your neck and the evaporation keeps you cool. They are available in camouflage. (Sorry I don't know the proper name.)

Some of this may be dated knowledge. Hopefully we have better logistics this time around, since we have had a presence over there for 10+ years. (Lordy, has it *really* been that long?)

Regards to you and yours,
--Semper Fi--

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Re: Goodies for a deploying Marine?

Post by GeneT » Sat Feb 01, 2003 6:57 pm

Hi John,
I knew I had some around here somewhere, those neck coolers are called 'Sun Quencher' and are from
Kerico Diversified
2281 Graystone Drive
St. Charles, MO 63303

I have a dozen new ones here I'll gladly ship to you if you send me a private mail with your address.


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Re: Goodies for a deploying Marine?

Post by gunzilla » Sat Feb 01, 2003 11:15 pm


Looking at my boonie bag, I have to agree with Gene on:

1. Hot Sauce, I prefer Frank's Red Hot myself... but a must have
2. Skin-So-Soft, greatest bug off ever

Would also like to add:

1. A bottle opener
2. Clear fingernail polish <= This may need some explaination, unbeatable for locking the thumb nuts on all the doo-dads on his rifle, keeps "quick detach" from becoming "self detach" (hopefully)... also good for minor repairs to some gear, waterproofing seals and has some first-aid use as well against parasitic insects.
3. Toe Nail Clippers... you learn a whole new respect for the care and maintenance of your feet when you go everyplace via LPC.

Other thoughts... as for the LED flashlight, like was mentioned make sure it is "night vision friendly" many still use red light, we have swithed to blue. By all means, make sure that it uses batteries that one can get a days walk beyond BFE as they say.

I have had several orders lately for custom 1911 pistols, it seems that some units are allowing (or turning a blind eye) to personell taking their own sidearm, this is a very expensive gift however and unless he is with an MEU or something, probably not a good idea -- what I bet he would use and cherish is a GOOD knife, a practical (short, sturdy fixed blade) knife is very valuable -- I have gotten years of use out of a Cold Steel Master Hunter, but there are many good blades out there like it, even some better choices I am sure... add to that it being a gift from his father.

Along those lines, If your family is so inclined, I have a small cross that has been with me for almost 25 years now... A man does a lot of growing up in a short time and has a lot of time to think, having such a gift from his mother may be a great reminder of the people that are thinking of him.

And by all means, this last one is simple and free, give him all of our heartfelt thanks and let him know that he is in his nation's prayers...


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Re: Goodies for a deploying Marine?

Post by Roy » Sun Feb 02, 2003 9:21 pm

While I spent most of my career in the USAf, I started in the Army. Back then we really only carried very samll items such as a personal knife or some momento of home. Being infantry / armor made it difficult to transport most things in the jungle. Once I transitioned to the USAF, and got to go to the sand box, the devices as mentioned that you wet and place around yuor neck is great, as is a good skin conditioner, and all the other items mentioned, but things are pretty good anymore, as a lot of things are now supplied right along with the GI's themselves, such as cards and darts etc....MWR units go right with the GI's in todays military (don;t know if this applies to the Marines, but they usually get what they want either by hook or crook or fair trade. Flashlights are usually issued, but the small penlight flashights are nice and don't take up much room, as is a leatherman or Gerber tool. Batteries are usually easy to come by and most all units will have them available.

Oh yea, the new MRE's now contain small bottles of tobasco sauce....mighty nice our Uncle Sam is taking so much pain to make the little things that mean something available.

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Re: Goodies for a deploying Marine?

Post by Victor_R » Mon Feb 03, 2003 12:34 am

Hi John,

The other folks have covered most items, but I can think of two more. Chapstick or Blistex. The desert can be very windy. Goldbond medicated powder for inside the socks and groin area for when it gets hot. This may be suppied nowdays, dunno.

The machines are gaining ground upon us; day by day we are becoming more subservient to them ~ Samuel Butler (1863)

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Re: Goodies for a deploying Marine?

Post by Dog1 » Tue Feb 04, 2003 11:07 am

You might want to add a Lansky Knife Sharpening kit to your list. I paid for a lot of haircuts and other tradeable services in the last Gulf War by sharpening knives for people.

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Re: Goodies for a deploying Marine?

Post by Jon_Bohlander » Tue Feb 04, 2003 1:21 pm

-lots of AA batteries

There will be alot of downtime. Tell him to keep "the sand out of his boots & his head down". That's what my Dad told me before I left for the first one. My thoughts are with him and all the others


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Re: Goodies for a deploying Marine?

Post by philinmt » Tue Feb 04, 2003 2:30 pm

A small shortwave radio is nice to have, there is a lot of radio broadcasts that carry english programs he could recieve...Phil in Mt

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Re: Goodies for a deploying Marine?

Post by gmac » Thu Feb 13, 2003 3:51 pm

small portable tools are always nice in the field - helps to both fix stuff and to give you something to play with and chat about in bull circles, sometimes comes in handy for a poker game or to earn a few quid on oddjobs for others.

if you send him with a knife sharpener from lansky or Gatco or a knockoff like it - make sure it is the diamond-lap model. many items are too hard to sharpen well with the regular stones that come with the ordinary models, the diamond units will work on almost anything -8-16 oz kit.

other suggestions

- a few pocket diamond sharpening stones like made by dia-sharp are excellent trade goods and take very little space - about the size of a credit card -1/2 oz each

-a decent pair of small scissors and a decent pair of tweezers ( leatherman micra) 1 oz
-a small forceps , <1 oz
-a magnifying glass -1 oz
-two or three fingernail clippers - these will disappear quickly in some - 1 oz - circumstances so being that they are cheap and small - take a few, great for trade also. same for toenail clippers if you have the space.

-a regular climbers carabiner and a few loops of good cord ( a bootlace can do for this) so all the tools can be hooked up to one place and found easily - keeps them from getting away to unknown places so fast and lets you make sure you have all of them accounted for, its like a toolbox but very lightweight and it's a tool itself.and extra could be a good trade item too. 1-2 oz

-always handy are the tiny tool sets - like a leatherman WAVE or gerber, or other quality multitool, a small double-ended screwdriver - 3 or 4 oz

-a medium to small good-quality pocketknife with a ring or loop for lanyard 3-4 oz

- 1 0r 2 spare button batteries for his watch, LED flashlite, other battery-powered items -1 oz

a foot or so of velcro - miscellaneous for attaching stuff

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Re: Goodies for a deploying Marine?

Post by CYoung » Sat Feb 15, 2003 10:08 am

I was with 5th MEB long ago.

Won't reinterate what's already been listed. The others are hitting the nails on the head with current knowledge.

Just a few words and thoughts.

To a grunt / ground pounder and the like, what you carry on you or on your back, is all you have. The basics haven't changed much in 30 +/- yrs.

With that in mind, and when your son gets in country, and with US advancement of how a solider (still hate that word) is treated in a combat zone, most likely he'll have additional convenience available.

It's not allways the big things that are important, it still boils down to the little things you begin to miss as time passes.

Letters: you don't have to write one ever day, it dosen' have to be lengthy, "we love you, and a very proud of what you're doing (even if you disagree with it), and think of you daily" Love Mom and Dad can make a difference. But when mail call comes and goes, and you walk away day after day empty handed, you guessed it. Even though he's with his team mates, keep him connected to the "world" across the "pond", to HIS Family.

May God be with him and you.


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