Aug 31 at 1:01am by David Tate
Can’t believe how well everything has come together for this trip. Considering I had just one month’s notice, it was actually quite extrordinary if you knew me and anything about the luck I seem to generate. Everything I ordered has now arrived minus one item. Military folks use the little micro-lights that come in various colors (most importantly, red) that clip on a belt loop or whatever. Anyway, I ordered five and the company never responded. So, the internet-broker refunded my $20. Other than that, I’m set.
When dealing with conflict situations, everyone will have their own methods and what not. These are mine based on my experience. Two things I learned from my prolonged time in Afghanistan:
First is to make sure you have good bedding that is light. This time I’m going with the Recon 3: (http://www.extremeoutfitters.us/browseproducts/Recon-3-Sleeping-Bag.HTML).
At 27 ounces, it’s perfect. It’s also a dual season bag that I hope will be suitable for Iraq. I also picked up a light, but sturdy sleeping mat. Very important to seperate yourself from the ground, not to mention the comfort factor.
Second thing is: Travel light. You have to keep in mind that if you’re embedding with US troops, you will have access to the base PX, which will carry most of any need you may have. What you take, you often have to carry, a lot. So keep it in mind. For this three week embed, this is what I’m packing:
Main bag – Standard military seabag. Everything goes in this bag. With today’s security issues, it is simply the easiest way to go. Contains body armor, helmet, clothing and secondary bag.
Secondary bag (goes in seabag when travelling) - CamelBak HAWG (in black- http://www.extremeoutfitters.us/index.asp?PageAction=VIEWPROD&ProdID=617).
This bag is the one you take on patrol. It carries 100 ounces of water plus has adequate space for your sleeping gear and some extra essentials. Always be prepared to sleep outside on patrols and operations.
Carry On – I use good sized Jansport hipsack. I’ve used the same one on every single embed I’ve ever been on and it still looks and works great. In this bag I keep my camera and other important small stuff that I don’t trust going through checkin. This bag stays with me always.
When embedding with the military, you’re going to be around guys and gals who often times don’t shower for prolonged periods of time, obviously due to the nature of the situation. In general, I keep it very simple:
- 5 UnderArmour T’s
- 7 Grey Tshirts
- 1 pair blue jeans
- 1 pair BDU (tan)
- 5 pair UnderArmour boxer/briefs
- 12 pairs of socks
- 2 long sleeve T’s
- Hooded sweatshirt
- 1 pair of shorts
- Flipflops (for the shower.. a MUST!)
I use UnderArmour because it has cooling properties, it’s light and compact and it is easily washed, quickly dried. Good stuff and worth the investment ($224 for all the UnderArmour).
This time around I’m taking a Palm w/keyboard to act as a word processor. My primary mission this time around is pictures and video. I need to concentrate on getting as many pertinent images as possible, mostly in video. Besides, I don’t have the money to replace the laptop that was destroyed in Afghanistan.
So that’s the load. Don’t take more than you can carry and you’ll do fine. This is not a fashion show, go basic.
So today was my last day at my day job for the next month. I have some personal business to take care of early next week, then it’s off to Kuwait via DC and Qatar. I expect to be in Kuwait by next Friday 9/7.
For archives of previous trips: http://dgtate.blogspot.com/2007_08_01_archive.html
The Fourth Rail is who I am doing my current work for: http://www.billroggio.com
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