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Deployment essentials

Discussion in 'US Army Forum' started by Biscuitsjam, Dec 3, 2008.

  1. Biscuitsjam


    Jan 10, 2004
    Since I've deployed to Iraq before, a lot of young privates keep asking me what they should get before going to Afghanistan... I've tried to come up with a quick list. I'm curious what changes y'all would make.

    Essentials - get MOST/ALL of this:
    Laptop computer
    USB Memory Stick
    Travel-size Memory Foam pillow
    Travel-size fleece blanket
    One set of sheets
    Extra socks, underwear, undershirts
    Extra ballistic glasses (UVEX XC are cheap - $8 each)
    Good flashlight or 2 (I recommend the $20 Inova X1)
    Digital camera w/case
    One set of civilian clothes
    Alarm clock

    Not essential, but you might want to consider SOME of this:
    MP3 player
    Portable DVD player
    External Harddrive
    Computer gamepad controllers
    Wireless Router
    Gameboy or other portable game device
    12v or 24v Vehicle power inverter (depending on your vehicle type)
    220/110 power converter
    Laptop cablelock
    Blank DVDs
    Small reading light
    Multitool (if you don't like the issued Gerber)
    Pocket Knife
    Prescription Ballistic Glasses ($$$ - Oakley M-frame is $200, other brands are $100+)
    Power Strip
    Army Gear (you don't NEED to spend money on anything, but if you're unsatisfied with certain gear, there are nice civilian alternatives - I have a list of good slings, scopes, etc. elsewhere)

    Plus, you need to do the following before deployment:
    Will (the army will help - include who should take care of your dependents, etc.)
    Life Insurance (the army will set it up)
    Limited Power of Attorney (to someone you trust)
    Lease Agreement or Mortgage (notarized)
    Pay off debts or make arrangements to reduce interest rates
    Cancel or suspend cellphone contract and other bills
    Document all personal items you bring with you (photos and serials) in case they get destroyed
    Record all contact info for friends/family in at least 2 places
    Arrange pet care
    Ensure proper storage of valuables (guns, jewelry, etc)
    Sell your car (it'll probably need repairs if you store it)
    Dental Care (the army will try to just pull your teeth instead of fill cavities)
    Ensure everything you bring (laptop, etc.) is in working order
    Plan how you'll invest your money and set it up in advance

    I don't have a family, so I can't say for sure what else you'd need to do for them.
    Last edited: Dec 3, 2008
  2. a quick note. if you are deploying to one of the larger bases, you will be able to purchase a lot of items from the extra list from soldiers who are re-deploying CONUS. I picked up a frig, tv, speakers, computer equipment, games, movies, dvd player, power converters for next to nothing. Why, they aren't going to have enough room to bring it back.

    also, baby wipes are a must.



    Jul 16, 2008
    JBLM, WA
    i would all take the items on the essentials list.
    - also would add a quality pair of headphones.
    - rechargable phone card. yes they're easy to get over there but i always like to have my own.
    - webcam

    your "to do" list is great too. especially the get your interest rates reduced!
    - also have the phone number, address, and account numbers of all your bills w/ you either on the laptop and memory stick before you leave.
    - scan a copy of your orders and military id before you leave also. make sure it is also on your laptop and memory stick.
    - if you havent done so already set up web bill pay. its too easy that way.
    - stop your mail or forward to whoever you designate. someone you can trust

    - make sure your dependents id cards will not expire while you're gone. must ensure to get them new id cards if needed. this is especially true if you have gone thru a divorce and your ex-spouse has custody of the kiddies.
    - if they live on post make sure someone cuts the grass while you're gone.
    - introduce you spouse to the frg if they arent w/ them already. good for them to stay informed if you can communicate often. also a good support group.

    also, as training junkie mentioned. you can buy so much good stuff over there, cheap. i had a flippin garage sale outside my hooch before i left cause no way i was taking all that crap back. and remember if you really want that thing (whatever) amazon ships to apo addresses.


    Jul 16, 2008
    JBLM, WA
    frg= family readiness group
  5. syntaxerrorsix

    syntaxerrorsix Anti-Federalist CLM

    Oct 3, 2000
    Lakeland, FL.
    I would re-title the thread TDY esentials.
  6. KG Dad

    KG Dad Lead by Example

    Dec 11, 2007
    If you fall under the protection of the SCRA, e.g., you are a mobilized Reserve/Guard Soldier, I would recommend not prepaying your debt with interest rates >6% until you've got your mob orders. Hold the cash and send in the payment with the copy of the orders. Your interest rate is reduced to 6%, and you'll get a bigger bang for your buck.

    MJH, your lurking JAG
  7. sdsnet

    sdsnet NRA Member CLM

    Feb 8, 2007
    One of the new Flip video cameras would be good since it is so easy to email the videos right after taking them or posting them to youtube etc. The webcam idea is a very good one as well. I would take two of the inexpensive Logitec webcams myself.
  8. tc556guy


    Mar 15, 2000
    Upstate NY
    Keep in mind that you're gonna have a tight packing list going over. If you are gonna buy a lot of that stuff ahead of time, plan on having anything but the basics shipped to you once you are in-country. By the time you pack your mandatory stuff into your four duffles, assault pack and ruck, you aren't going to have a lot of room left for extras.
  9. Biscuitsjam


    Jan 10, 2004
    They're telling us two duffles, ruck, assault pack, and tuff box. They wanted to cut the Tuff Box out, then changed their minds at the last minute. That would have led to an interesting situation... We couldn't have even brought all our issued gear with us.
  10. tc556guy


    Mar 15, 2000
    Upstate NY
    I am asuming that you guys pre-shipped two or three duffles by sea, as we did. Unless you were issued a lot more gear than we were, you'd be fine with two duffles, your ruck and a toughbox.
  11. Biscuitsjam


    Jan 10, 2004
    tc556guy, nope. Somebody in our leadership wanted wanted to deploy us with ONLY two duffles and a ruck. So, no tuffbox and no 2-3 duffles on a ship. Not possible....

    We're now supposed to have two duffles and ruck on the plane with us, plus a tuffbox on a ship. In other words, it should be enough space for all our army gear with a small amount of space for extra clothes and other personal items. It's enough to get what we need but it'll still involve some difficult decisions.

    Did your unit really deploy with 4-5 duffle bags, a ruck, and a tuffbox?

    (in response to a question, a tuffbox is a large plastic footlocker that can hold a little more than two dufflebags)
    Last edited: Dec 22, 2008
  12. Fox

    Fox Varmit Control

    Nov 7, 2001
    We could only bring two duffel bags. The footlocker went on a ship and I still don't have it yet
  13. Biscuitsjam


    Jan 10, 2004
    Last time around, we had to ship our Tuffbox BEFORE we had been issued any of our new gear. As a result, they were all half-empty.

    They must have arrived in Iraq at the same time as the rest of our gear, but we weren't given the opportunity to claim them for about a month after starting patrols. By that time, the contents were a surprise.

    In one of the other companies, the CO and 1SG got their boxes out of the conex but refused to let anybody else in that company get theirs. They said that they "didn't have space." After an IG complaint, they were forced to allow soldiers access to their tuffboxes (mid-tour).
  14. tc556guy


    Mar 15, 2000
    Upstate NY
    Two duffles went ahead by sea, as did much of the unit equipment. each individual hand carried two duffles, a ruck and an assault pack. I also brought along a large Action Packer because the CO directed PSGs to bring to Bragg enough stuff to be able to run a platoon TOC if need be. I've been living and working off the contents of that box since I've been here because, while I've been away from my company on the PMT mission, neither Dynecorp nor the USMC guys I was with last summer were really on top of the logistical game....
    Now I have to figure out how to get that action packer home. It exceeds the USPS size limits, I'll be RIPing out by myself due to extending ( so no connex to throw it into). They are issuing home-bound guys the green tuffbox type footlockers to replace duffle bags, BTW. Also, some guys are drawing rifle cases to transport weapons back home, although I think those are the guys who are not RIPing with their units, so theres no weapons racks to stow stuff in.
  15. Biscuitsjam


    Jan 10, 2004
    I bought a couple small footlockers to mail stuff home at the end of my last tour. If you can't ship the action packer back home, I'd recommend just giving away the box and mailing the contents by some other means.

    Maybe you can make room for the important gear in your duffles by mailing non-essentials now, before you have to worry about leaving? Some of our guys even tried to get the army to pay for their packages that they mailed... No idea what form they used or whether it worked.
    Last edited: Dec 25, 2008
  16. The Maggy

    The Maggy

    Dec 24, 2008
    Stillwater, OK
    Two duffles and a ruck is all i took my first tour, my second tour was with 1 duffle and the ruck. Patrol Base life would have been real cramped if every private had thier own box with a xbox and tv.
  17. tc556guy


    Mar 15, 2000
    Upstate NY
    Contents of the action packer will be left in-country. DHL has a larger size/weight limit than USPS, and there is a DHL hub on KAF, so I plan on that being my way to get the box home. I have almost a year left with my extension, so I'll be needing everything I have for most of that time. They sell black tufbox type containers in the PX; like everyone else, I'll be mailing a lot of stuff home in the month before I RIP.
  18. BigDaddyK


    Oct 13, 2002
    Cherry Point
    I didn't read all of the responses so it may have been posted but I would suggest renter's insurance. I think at least USAA lets you put insurance on laptops, etc that may get busted, stolen or whatever when deployed.

    It's usually fairly cheap too.
  19. Biscuitsjam


    Jan 10, 2004
    We always had the opportunity to store duffles and such outside of our barracks. Just ask the supply sergeant and he'd lock it up for you... We spent a month at a Radio Relay Point with only a ruck and an assault bag, and the rest of the tour was pretty cramped too.

    The problem is all the gear that the army issues and then requires you to bring... We can't FIT all our gear in a ruck and two duffles if we follow the packing list.

    50% of our gear will never leave the dufflebag
    25% of our gear is seasonal cold-weather, which we won't need for the first half of our tour

    We have to bring it all.
    Last edited: Dec 26, 2008