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When you serve in the military, you inevitably collect a lot of memorabilia. By the time you separate or retire, you’ve basically got a closet full of military stuff. Some of it you just don’t need anymore — like sock garters … hopefully. But other things you’ll want to keep forever. Occasionally, veterans will make an “I love me” wall. Others just devote space for a box in the attic.
Whatever you do choose to do with your military stuff, here are eight things that veterans never throw out.
1. Flak Vest
It’s been with you since day one. Your flak vest kept you safe in combat, and therefore earned its place in your attic or closet among all your collectibles. Or, according to one veteran, you can keep it in your kitchen because it’s a great conversation starter.
2. Ruck Sack
These ones may not actually make it into storage. A lot of veterans still use their ruck sacks after separating. It’s like a backpack, but better. Plus, it’s been through hell and back with you, so why not take it with you on your civilian adventures.
3. Letters From Home
Whether they come from your parents, spouse, or children, letters or pictures are often the only tangible connection to home. While it’s easier to communicate via email or phone now, there is something special about receiving a letter during deployment. Veterans will often keep a box of them stuffed away somewhere in their homes.
4. Dog Tags
The dog tag is one of the most obvious symbols of military service. They are an iconic piece of memorabilia that every veteran has. However, they don’t necessarily make for good everyday jewelry. Still, it’s nice to hang onto them.
5. PT Belt
The PT belt is a personal favorite among the Task & Purpose staff. Plus, you can never be too safe. Maybe you shouldn’t store this in the closet. In fact, never take it off. Ever. Not even when you shower.
6. The Woobie
There is nothing that will keep you warmer than a woobie. It’s basically a tactical security blanket. While you certainly won’t need it to protect you from the harsh elements of your house, it still holds a special place in your home. Plus, it’s great for camping.
7. American Flag Patch
Perhaps one of the most iconic pieces of military insignia, the American flag patch is the ultimate symbol of service. Though you may not keep the rest of your uniforms, you’d certainly never get rid of the patch.
7. Shoe Polish
Nobody knows how to shine a shoe like a veteran. It’s one of the first things you learn to do when you enlist or commission. Even though you don’t have to do it for inspection anymore, why throw out all the tools to do it?
8. Unit Clothing
Most veterans end up with a military wardrobe. That is not a reference to your uniforms, however. It’s all the shirts, hats, shorts, or sweatshirts you accumulate over the course of service. Every base you are stationed at, unit you work with, or ship you’re on has its own attire — and as a result you’ll likely never have to buy a t-shirt or baseball hat ever again.
As the US sends 1,000 more troops to Middle East, the Pentagon is a rudderless ship caught in a storm
The Pentagon is sending nearly 1,000 more troops to the Middle East as part of an escalating crisis with Iran that defense officials are struggling to explain.
While the U.S. government has publicly blamed Iran for recent attacks on merchant vessels in the Gulf of Oman, not a single U.S. official has provided a shred of proof linking Iran to the explosive devices found on the merchant ships.
At an off-camera briefing on Monday, Navy officials acknowledged that nothing in imagery released by the Pentagon shows Iranian Revolutionary Guards planting limpet mines on ships in the Gulf of Oman.
Investigation shows Lt. Col. in charge of Corps' 1st Recon was fired for alleged 'misconduct' but has not been charged
The Marine lieutenant colonel removed from command of the 1st Reconnaissance Battalion in May was ousted over alleged "misconduct" but has not been charged with a crime, Task & Purpose has learned.
Lt. Col. Francisco Zavala, 42, who was removed from his post by the commanding general of 1st Marine Division on May 7, has since been reassigned to the command element of 1st Marine Expeditionary Force, and a decision on whether he will be charged is "still pending," MEF spokeswoman 1st Lt. Virginia Burger told Task & Purpose last week.
"We are not aware of any ongoing or additional investigations of Lt. Col. Zavala at this time," MEF spokesman 2nd Lt. Brian Tuthill told Task & Purpose on Monday. "The command investigation was closed May 14 and the alleged misconduct concerns Articles 128 and 133 of the UCMJ," Tuthill added, mentioning offenses under military law that deal with assault and conduct unbecoming an officer and gentleman.
"There is a period of due process afforded the accused and he is presumed innocent until proven guilty," he said.
When asked for an explanation for the delay, MEF officials directed Task & Purpose to contact 1st Marine Division officials, who did not respond before deadline.
The investigation of Zavala, completed on May 3 and released to Task & Purpose in response to a Freedom of Information Act request, showed that he had allegedly acted inappropriately. The report also confirmed some details of his wife's account of alleged domestic violence that Task & Purpose first reported last month.
A Marine Raider convicted in a North Carolina court of misdemeanor assault for punching his girlfriend won't spend any time in jail unless he violates the terms of his probation, a court official told Task & Purpose.
On Monday, Staff Sgt. Daniel Christopher Evans received a suspended sentence of 60 days in jail, said Samantha Dooies, an assistant to the New Hanover County District Attorney.
Evans must complete 18 months of unsupervised probation, pay $8,000 in restitution, complete a domestic violence offenders program, and he cannot have any contact with his former girlfriend, Dooies told Task & Purpose. The special operations Marine is also only allowed to have access to firearms though the military while on base or deployed.