The Comforts of Home


Being a grunt was pretty much synonymous with being uncomfortable in my day. Especially as a light infantryman. In mech infantry, you at least could carry some pogey bait on the vehicle, and maybe a few other comfort items. But as a lightfighter, everything you have, you carry. The incredible burden on your back means you pare as much weight as possible. Warm clothes? We had a saying- fight light, freeze at night.

Of course, my poncho liner went everywhere with me. And on the trip to Korea for Team Spirit ‘87, I was smart enough to “requisition” one of the tiny pillows off the airliner.  Other than that, just about the only comfort item I carried was a roll  of my own toilet paper.

What did YOU carry that made life in the field a little more bearable?

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22 Comments

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22 responses to “The Comforts of Home

  1. virgil xenophon

    You know we zoomies and “roughing it” in the field, XBrad, lol. All I know is what my roomie told me when I was a FAC after my F-4 tour after he had just completed a tour in the field with the Korean White Horse Div as a gnd FAC: “Just don’t touch the kimchi that’s been sitting in the 110-degree sun all day.” LOL!

  2. dgharvey

    One of my friend’s mom got a feather pillow, cut it in half, sewed it shut, and then covered it with material from an old set of cammies (y’know, the ripstop ones that get real soft). Best pillow I ever had, until it was stolen.
    Other than that, anything that keeps my neck warm – either a black fleece neck gaiter or the British DPM keffiyah given to me by an Omani recon officer.

    Oh yeah, and Kodiak. Lots of Kodiak.

  3. Quentin

    Bottle of Tabasco sauce in a Ziploc bag. Though I stopped once they started putting Tabasco in every MRE.

  4. ultimaratioregis

    Much like Padre, a small pillow that I sewed into the trouser leg of the really old rip-stop (slanted pocket variety) trousers. It slipped nicely into the outside pouch of ol’ ALICE. And a can of sardines, for when things got really crappy. Oftentimes they would survive the field op uneaten, cuz things never got that crappy. When I wasn’t humping around with 1/4 at the Stumps as an FO, and was going to the field with the battery, I had a 25mm ammo box as a chow box. And, when a battery commander, a folding canvas directors’ chair in OD green. Loved that chair.

  5. I think you know how to write a really nice post. Thanks!

  6. My kindle, Purel, chapstick, and whatever I could scrounge from MRE’s. NOw that Pelican makes better cases, I might git me one o’them fancy Ipads…

  7. All my stuff went in the bussel rack. I liked a poncho liner and actually used it as such when it rained and had to sleep in the driver’s chair. Put the sleeping bag in the waterproof bag and used it as a pillow. The only time I used the sleeping bag as such was when we went to the range, or had a full Battalion drill and we’d all meet at Campbell. Usually had each once a year.

  8. SFC Dunlap 173dRVN (Ret)

    When in Viet-Nam: Poncho (old heavy weight) and Poncho liner (of course), privately owned TP in waterproof bag, always extra pair dry socks (in bag with TP), “Squares” (cigarettes as I had that habit then), Zippo, Beenie Weenies (Van Camps), and Bible my step-dad gave me before I left for RVN. I got more inventive as I aged and the decades passed.

  9. Terry Weatherford

    Tried to keep bag of powdered Gatorade, made the nasty “purified” water bearable.

  10. LT Rusty

    huh.

    My snivel gear basically consisted of having a destroyer wrapped around me, which meant that I got to bring air conditioning, soft rack, satellite TV and 3 hots per day with me.

    That was my idea of roughing it.

    • Jeff Gauch

      The fact that you bring your bed with you everywhere you go was a major factor in influencing my choice for Navy. That, and the complete non-existence of a real nuclear program in any other service.

    • Roughing it in “Boys Town” aka JO Jungle on my first ship involved being under a light comforter to keep my rack made. Didn’t seem to be in the rack much however. It wasn’t all beer and skittles in the fleet.

      One of my fellow JO’s brought his wife’s pillow case and a garbage bag of movie popcorn for his first deployment.

    • My snivel gear was a Dealey Class Destroyer Escort, then a Mars Class Stores ship (the tub as we called it). I preferred DesLant, and the Sylvania wasn’t my choice of a ship, but Courtney could get a bit sucky during the Mistral in the Med. OTOH, I loved how it sucked because there was 3 hots and the cot that was always dry and warm. Sure beat the driver’s compartment in a M-60 on Campbell.

      We had movies we could make fun of too. On Sylvania we had Macbeth, and everyone walked out on that one before 5 minutes was up. Took me only 3.

      I liked Heinlein’s reason for choosing the Naval Academy. He said that you may drown, but until then there was plenty of food and you slept between clean sheets.

  11. SFC Dunlap 173dRVN (Ret)

    Hey you Navy personnel cut yourselves some slack….my brother was a YM on a FFG in the 80’s and from what I learned Force 4 storms and heavy listing due to hydro dynamics in a relatively small ship stacks pretty high on the “suck” factor list. My brother is always pleased when I say “forecastle” correctly.

    • LT Rusty

      Oh, FFG’s in heavy weather can suck pretty badly, but the heavy weather doesn’t last forever.

      True story: North Atlantic, Dec ’01 / Jan ’02 – FFG off RI / NY. Kinked the bow about half a degree, due to heavy weather. Had ladders ripped off the superstructure. Damaged the foremast, making the SPS-49 unusable. The puke log contained the names of almost 3/4’s of the crew, including the CMC and XO.

  12. OCCD

    Back in my day knit watch caps were difinitely not infantry issue. I always took one with me to wear under my helmet. It kept my ears warm and the steel pot more comfy. It was also great to pull way down on your head curled up in your sleeping bag.

  13. Mark

    I was in the Merchant Marine, not only did I have your tracks, but often we could trade for some MRE’s. They were awesome when monitoring tank tops down in “F” deck for hours on during long bunkering ops.

  14. Tom

    Desert Storm; Solar Shower and a Leatherman (back in the day, they were not an issue item)

  15. M1A1TrkTrror

    A can of Pringles Salt and Vinegar chips.

  16. SFC Dunlap 173dRVN (Ret)

    My prior service Navy brother corrected me…its YN for Yoeman not YM as I said, my apologies and his statement was that the Navy personnel were probably getting a chuckle over my mislabeling. I was Army AND jumped out of aircraft so there is that.

  17. Buck Buchanan

    At different stages of my career it was different things.

    When I was enlisted in the ARNG (19th SFG) in the mid 1970s it was commercial wool socks and a ragg wool sweater I dyed OD.

    When I was commissioned and went to USAREUR in the early 1980s to a mech infantry unit it was the traditional wet weather top with a wool blanket sewn into it for a liner…I wore that sucker in June a couple of times!!!

    When I did a short stint with the 101st ABN it was a backstove and fresh coffee beans carried in a blackpepper grinder.

    I thin the best, though, was as a company comamnder at FT Stewart GA we wnt through Bradley NET. I bought a 24 V DC/110 V AC converter, a trwo plug wall socket and a 30 cup coffee pot and had my motor sergeant mount it near the fueld tank (above the 5 gallaon can rack) in the back of my Bradley. At a team when we were getting T Rations and “coffee” was packets of instant and boiled water in a silver bullet brewing real coffee everyday made my CP a VERY happy place!