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10/20/2017 1:01:18 AM
9/22/2017 12:11:25 AM
Posted: 5/30/2005 3:00:51 PM EDT
OK, my brother is getting ready to head over to Iraq. This will be his second ME deployment, he was in GWI.

Without stating where or who he is with he will be in the prime (worst and most active) shitholes and won't be on a base. He will be mobile for several weeks (sometimes months) at a time. He will be there for at least a year.

Because he won't be living on base anywhere his personal effects will be limited to mostly what can be carried.

My main concern is trying to help him with some diversion during the down time. To that end I got him a 20 gig Ipod. Something small and light that can help him keep his sanity and find moments of joy and comfort durng a deployment that is pretty much going to suck ass the entire time.

He will also regularly be out of contact so no phone calls or emails will reach him with any regularity.

I want to get him as many "practical" and "useful" things as I can to make sure his deployment is as bearable as possible.

So I'm open for ideas and what to get him before he heads out.

For the guys who were there, what was the most useful thing you had or wish you had?
Link Posted: 5/30/2005 10:30:29 PM EDT
I'm just an bomb loader who never left base but here's some things I thought were handy. An LED flashlight that isn't overty bright preferable one that can take filters. The $12 dollar brinkman at wamart has served well in this roll. Last weeks ona set of batteries and drop proof. The little keychain style lights are good too. If he's carrying an aimpoint extra batteries never hurt. Plus mail him back ups thru the trip. Optics always work better if they are actually on when you use them. Emergency bottle of a wierd hotsauce makes friends fast. Also a mandatory care package item is beef jerky. Send a book to throw in his pack every month or so but not all at once. Not to be too negative but a packet of Quick Clot is a nice reassurance. A small Knife sharpener, MRE's are hell on knife blades. I liked the collapsible diamond sharpers that are the size of a tire pressure gauge the best.
Link Posted: 5/31/2005 5:52:12 AM EDT
I brought over a multi-fuel camping stove for some cooking. It uses kerosene, white gas, unleaded, etc. You can find one for about $60-$100 at some of the nicer camping stores. Coupled with a single-cup coffee maker (from the same kind of store) you can make joe just about anywhere. A self-cleaning shaker-jet kind will clean itself, bring two bottles in case one gets smashed ('nuff said) or is emptied.

A good reclining camp chair is good, but since you said he will carry most of his shiz, I would vote for a conversion kit for a Thermarest-style inflateable mattress. You will be closer to the ground, but a little back support goes a long way in improving your general outlook on things. This is especially true after days of body armor and running and walking in funny-looking shooting positions.

An IP telephone account. Look these up, even though he might not be on a FOB somewhere, these are as light as a piece of paper and can really pay for themselves in clear reception and lack of satellite lag.

A list of stateside DSN numbers can be had (IM me for some) and if there's a DSN phone near, dial one of the operators and place a local call or use a calling card. Even if you have a non-touch-tone phone you can ask for PIN assistance and an operator (telephone... not SFOD-type) will punch in your PIN from their end. If you dial a base near your call's destination, you'll save some cash by making a closer call from a nearby base.

Two thumb drives. One for secure digital info, the other for personal. For those times where email is scarce type out emails in advance (most computers have some version of Microsoft Notepad or .txt program) and when you get to a computer with email access, plug it in and send it.

Small digital camera.

Link Posted: 5/31/2005 3:32:29 PM EDT
Steyr,

The IPOD is a great idea! Well done. Does he have enough MP3's to fill it?

Here are some GREAT hotsauces:

Cackalacky comes in 1.7oz tiny bottles and standard 5oz

Mountainman Roasted Corn Garlic & Chipotle Sauce

The 2 above sauces will make ANYTHING taste good.

Heartfelt best to him on a speedy event free deployment.

Hep
Link Posted: 6/4/2005 7:37:41 AM EDT
Great idea on the MP3 player, but rather than an IPod you might consider the Cowan X5. Same price as an IPod and you get an FM radio, video screen for watching whatever, longer battery life, metal construction instead of plastic, use it as a portable harddrive, picture viewer, text reader, voice recorder, audiophile quality sound and probably more. The Ipod Killer. Mine is on the way and currently in the clutches of UPS.

http://www.cowonamerica.com/products/iaudio/x5/
Link Posted: 6/8/2005 5:57:37 AM EDT
During SFOR, one of the best purchases that I made was a Casio G-Shock watch. The one I picked up in Graf is solar powered (batteries will not go TU at a bad time!), has dual time zones, about 6 alarms, and most importantly, DATA STORAGE!!!. I keep all of my DSN numbers, phone card PIN's and 800 #'s in there. It is easy to lose a wallet, or a piece of paper with important #'s, much more difficult to lose your watch. Also, build like a brick shithouse. Been climbing on/off tanks for many months and not one scratch on the crystal.
KILO OUT!
Link Posted: 6/12/2005 9:39:30 PM EDT
Toyous1 is overthere right now, before he left, he said that when he was there the first time, all of his CDs would get scratched eventually even though he was careful. Maybe one of those solid-state MP3 players would be worth-while.

Those IPODs have a little hard drive in them, I wonder how they are holding up under the harsh conditions of Iraq/Afghanistan?
Link Posted: 6/13/2005 9:47:07 AM EDT

Originally Posted By warlord:
Toyous1 is overthere right now, before he left, he said that when he was there the first time, all of his CDs would get scratched eventually even though he was careful. Maybe one of those solid-state MP3 players would be worth-while.

Those IPODs have a little hard drive in them, I wonder how they are holding up under the harsh conditions of Iraq/Afghanistan?




Actually, isn't the IPOD all solid state? Just memory and li-ion battery?
Link Posted: 6/13/2005 9:55:37 AM EDT

Originally Posted By hepcat85:

Originally Posted By warlord:
Toyous1 is overthere right now, before he left, he said that when he was there the first time, all of his CDs would get scratched eventually even though he was careful. Maybe one of those solid-state MP3 players would be worth-while.

Those IPODs have a little hard drive in them, I wonder how they are holding up under the harsh conditions of Iraq/Afghanistan?




Actually, isn't the IPOD all solid state? Just memory and li-ion battery?



no. the iPod shuffle is a solid state flash-memory player, but the regular iPod has a normal hard drive in it.
Link Posted: 6/14/2005 10:35:20 AM EDT
Better dust goggles are a must. The issue ones suck. I bought some of the Oakley SI dust goggles and was very impressed as to how comfortable they were. If you're going to be mobile for some time, they are a godsend.
Link Posted: 6/19/2005 4:11:42 PM EDT
Guys i just got back from over there. CD, suck. MP3 players, break. The IPOD is a really big hit right now over there. I would go with that one
Link Posted: 6/23/2005 3:43:19 PM EDT
the IPOD is a mp3 player highspeed
Link Posted: 7/2/2005 11:16:41 AM EDT
Downside of the iPod is the relatively short battery life - only 8-12 hours. If he's not going to be around much power, that could be an issue.

The iPod shuffle, being solid-state and having no screen, has a much longer battery life.

If he's not bringing a laptop, an el-cheapo portable DVD player could come in handy. There are oodles of pirated movies available everywhere for cheap (about $3 per disc) and everyone brings a few (or more) of their own favorite movies.
Link Posted: 7/2/2005 11:22:26 AM EDT
Laptop, plenty of games, you can by hadji movies(cheap) and more games.
Link Posted: 7/2/2005 11:25:47 AM EDT
Sunscreen.

Good eye protection (and tell him to wear them ALL the time). (After you tell him that, tell him to keep his hands and arms inside the vehicle.) (And then while you're on a roll, tell him the reason he has a neck is so he can swivel his head and look around.)

A few good books, preferably ones set in that general region. (Beau Geste? A biography of Lawrence of Arabia? Rommel?)
Link Posted: 7/3/2005 12:14:19 AM EDT
Im stuck over there now, and I know that my ipod and portable dvd player have been lifesavers. I dont know who makes it, but there is a solar powersource for the ipod. It is about 3in by 3in and recharges the internet battery. I have seen some guys over here with them and havent heard any complaints. +1 for the LED flashlight. THe surefires that we are issued run out of batterys very quickly.
Semper Fi
BJohnson
Link Posted: 7/3/2005 2:15:07 AM EDT
Honeslty, l lot depends on two things: 1) His FOB and 2) his Job.

I think you told me a ways back what he did, but I can't remember now.

Anyhoo - I just wanted to chime in to say I wish I had brought some DVD movies - we just now are getting some bootleg stuff in over here - but my tastes fo beyond the top 20 new releases - and we are finally settled in enough to where full-out projector-based movie viewing is a real possibility. As you can gether by the fact that I am fucking around on arfcom - things can get quiet and boring and free time will open up (unfortunately, in my case it took over three months from arrival in theater).

A lot of folks have mentioned electrical toys, like DVD players. On that note, he might have anyhting from 110 to 220 power, and any of 3 different types of receptacles to deal with. Universal adapters, power strips, and step-down transformers are scarce commodities unless you are on - or have access to - one of the major bases.

As far as work related stuff - units have so much leeway in purchases that what is scarce in one unit might be overflowing the shelves in another. It's really hard to say - you may be better off waiting for him to say what he needs once he is settled in.
Link Posted: 7/4/2005 6:05:12 AM EDT
If he's travelling as light as it sounds like you were describing, a good unlocked GSM phone is worth it's weight in gold.

Get an Asiacell SIM card, I got mine from my local S-6 shop, if it's an issued cell phone they probably alreay have the IMEI number for the phone, if not you can probably look under the battery to see what it is. Just to be certain of the IMEI you can use *#06# to check what your number is. Give them your IMEI number and make sure that it's used only for work.

A little Nokia 1100 is a great back up in your commo plan, you can probably afford one. Just check with S-6 to see if it's cool with them, if you tell them what it's for they might just give you one. The term "it's easier to beg forgiveness than ask permission" is not the best way to approach this.

Obvious: disable any sound or light alarms/ rings it has when on missions.
Link Posted: 7/7/2005 9:49:33 AM EDT
Link Posted: 7/7/2005 10:12:04 AM EDT
Link Posted: 7/10/2005 2:58:48 AM EDT

Originally Posted By avengeusa:
pork, bring pork for hadji



There is a rumor (just a rumor) that I am getting some sort of shelf-stable bacon you can buy in a box, keep stored at reasonable temps....

I had a rather uncouth friend of mine suggest I use it as a bookmark for a Koran at a mosque.

I woudn't do that.

That would be wrong.
Link Posted: 7/23/2005 2:29:35 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 7/23/2005 2:41:30 PM EDT by Skyssx]
If your bro has been on a deployment before, he's probably got the mission gear thing down. As such, i'll comment on luxury items.

HD based MP3 player filled to the brim. A must if you are a music fan.
Laptop computer with DVD player, IBM and apple are bullet proof and proven desert survivors.
200GB external firewire/USB2 HD with tons of ripped movies and music.
1GB+ PQI Intelligent Stick or Corsair USB memory devices, once again, survivors.
Adidas sandals with the hundreds of little nubby things, great for wearing in the tent. It masassages your feet and keeps them in good condition. Send him a second set halfway through, the little nubs start to break off.
Boxes and Boxes of 123A lithium batteries. I brought one gross, used about 60 myself and sold the rest priced according to the laws of supply an demand. That is, HUGE demand with me as the only supply :)
Camelbak cleaning kit
OTIS 5.56/optics cleaning kit

If he's an NCO, a rugged PDA can be handy for storing soldiers info, regs, FMs and the like. You can read e-books with them too.

Other than that, I doubt he'll have much time for anything. I brought a game console with LCD screen and played it maybe 3 times.

EDIT: I-Go universal power system. Can power his laptop and any concievable electrical accessory. Accepts 100-250VAC 50/60Hz and doesn't have a problem with shit tastic power fluctuations. Worth its weight in gold because not only does it work anywhere, but one adapter charges everything, saving weight and space.

Oh yeah, your whole family needs to get PGP and generate some huge assed keys. It is estimated that stuff encrypted with a 2048 bit key would take 40 quadrillion years to break just one message with todays tech. PGP goes to 4096 bits. You should read some FAQs on it, but basically it goes like this. You generate a key pair on your computer, a private key and a public key. You send everyone your public key and get everyones public keys from them. Keep the private key only on your password protected hard drive and on a backup flash media that you keep on your person. You type up a message, PGP encrypts it with a symetric key based on your random keystrokes, then encrypts it with the recipients public key. You send the encrypted file to them and they put it on their USB drive. Then, the recipient moves the file to his computer and decrpts it with their private key. 2048 is military strenght, but obviously you don't send mission plans over it. It is really easy to use, free and good protection against terrorists targeting your family while you are away.
Link Posted: 7/24/2005 3:35:25 PM EDT
Above is mentioned 123A batteries. For surefire flashlights, I have actually found that the Surefire brand batteries are cheaper and last longer than name brand camera batteries such as Duracel and the like.
Link Posted: 7/27/2005 9:22:04 PM EDT
I'm about as computer ignorant as they come but am planning to buy a laptop/notebook for when I come over for my tour. I have heard from some that returned that most computers/PDAs are going tits-up in 4-6 months due to all the fine sand. Is this true?? I heard one reserve component officer telling another officer to consider the Panasonic Toughbooks due to the air-seal. Sounds nice but too pricey for what little use I would have for one. Just casual email, web-surfing, DVD player.

Are just simple garbage bags enough protection??

Thanks in advance.
Link Posted: 7/30/2005 4:12:09 AM EDT
Dell PDAs are quality. We had no failiures and people in my unit used X5 up to the present model.

I had a dell laptop, which was fine. The power supply cord broke though and dell will NOT under ANY CIRCUMSTANCES send parts to Iraq or even Germany.

IBMs are bullet proof, so are Apples. Panasonics seem overpriced, snag an IBM instead.
Link Posted: 8/1/2005 9:25:36 AM EDT
Thanks. I was thinking either Dell or IBM.
Link Posted: 8/4/2005 1:03:13 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 8/4/2005 1:04:36 PM EDT by oneshot1kill]

Originally Posted By Skyssx:
Dell PDAs are quality. We had no failiures and people in my unit used X5 up to the present model.

I had a dell laptop, which was fine. The power supply cord broke though and dell will NOT under ANY CIRCUMSTANCES send parts to Iraq or even Germany.

IBMs are bullet proof, so are Apples. Panasonics seem overpriced, snag an IBM instead.



Yes, the Dell power cord is serious weak point on thier laptops, it didn't even stand up to beig on my desk at home, that's enough for me to question Dell reliability under deployment conditions.


I had to sodder/repair the power cord three times already, and the terminals are so small that it's hard to find a good repair solution when they break.

Plus I replaced the HDD a few months ago when it crashed and have no more sound either, I would be pissed if I brought this thing to Iraq.

Mines a little older but they seem to be using the same type of power cord as other Dells that I've seen around.

Obviously a Toughbook would be ideal, water proof, no vents, no fans, no openings etc, but they are $$$.

Stay safe brothers.(SteyrAUG's and the rest of you guys)
Link Posted: 8/6/2005 4:57:05 PM EDT
Foot powder, insect repelent, insoles and some munchies are what I send to my cousin.
Link Posted: 8/6/2005 5:38:32 PM EDT
Bug spray and a beach umbrella.
Link Posted: 8/7/2005 5:38:46 AM EDT
My dell power plug is the new (couple years old) style. It has the same three connectors as before but is round. There is an outside barrel (ground), inside barrel (VCC) and center pin (sensor). I kept tripping over my power cord in the dark because we were all sleeping asses and elbows in a big concrete room. 24 hour shifts so the lights are almost always off. I had my stuff on an "acquired" field desk over one end of my cot. What happened is that the little center pin lost connection. Because of this, the laptop could not tell what wattage rating the power supply had and would not charge the batteries. It would power on but once again, since it had no idea if the PS was up to the task, it would power up at the lowest power consumption mode possible, read SLOW.

I still have to reccomend IBM T series. We used them for electronic TM stuff and they stood up to the test. We did fry a PS when the hadjis put 400+VAC through the line. That same surge also took out industrial battery chargers and brand new HP 4200 series printer. Battery life on a T4x series is just amazing too.
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