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Imagine you’re a soldier deployed to a war zone. Your days are long and grueling. When you’re not pulling guard duty or bouncing down IED-riddled roads in the back of a mine-resistant vehicle like a Mexican jumping bean, you’re humping ungodly amounts of gear in 110-degree heat.
You always smell bad.
Then one day a care package with your name on it arrives out of the blue. You think, “Maybe life isn’t so bad, after all.”
You rip open the package as fast as you can. Surprise: It’s a box full of Jolly Ranchers and a picture of a soldier drawn by a 4-year-old kid. It says, “Thankkz 4 killing the bad guyz Mr. Army man,” in red crayon.
Your heart sinks into your stomach like a stone. The suck continues.
That, of course, is not the response we’re hoping for when we send care packages to troops serving overseas. But packing the ultimate care package requires a realistic understanding of what deployed soldiers want and need.
Don’t worry. We’ve got you covered.
Lots of tobacco
For deployed soldiers, tobacco isn’t just a substance that’s consumed to satisfy an incredibly dangerous addiction. It’s currency. In war, like in prison, one pack/can of tobacco carries roughly the same purchasing power as $50–$75 in a civilian setting. We therefore suggest packing at least one log of dip and one carton of smokes. This will give your soldier the clout he or she will need to avoid shit-burning detail for a few glorious weeks.
This is not the place to explain why deployed soldiers enjoy pornography. Just know that they do. If you’re too shy to pick up a nudie mag from your local convenience store, a Victoria’s Secret or Women’s Health will suffice in its place. Although laptops and iPhones are now the platforms of choice for porn consumption, neither are safe for use in a guard tower, which is where the magic typically happens.
5-Hour Energy Drinks
Mention Rip-Its or Wild Tiger to someone who’s deployed and watch their eyes light up in gleeful recognition. But 5-Hour Energy boasts one important feature those other two energy drinks don’t: You can carry lots of it on patrol. This is important when you haven’t slept in 48 hours and the only way to prevent slipping into a coma is to keep the caffeine flowing nonstop.
This is a no-brainer. Unlike candy bars, gummy bears, or grandma’s famous chocolate cupcake balls, beef jerky doesn’t melt in the heat. In fact, the longer it sits in your pocket, the better it tastes. We recommend avoiding the cheap stuff. Real, quality jerky — like the stuff you buy at those little redneck stands on the side of the highway — is the filet mignon of war.
News flash: MREs taste like crap. But when drenched in a delicious hot sauce, such as Valentina Mexican Hot Sauce Salsa Picante, they miraculously become almost enjoyable — and that’s good enough.
You know that feeling after you’ve just spent a day at the spa? Your skin is soft and smooth; your mood is light; your soul is pure. That’s how soldiers feel after they use a baby wipe to cleanse themselves of a week’s worth of filth, grime, and bodily fluids. It’s like a beautiful butterfly emerging from its cocoon.
Good oral hygiene is the key to preventing cavities, the gum disease known as gingivitis, and bad breath. The regular use of an antiseptic mouthwash is especially important in the field, where the constant consumption of MREs, which are high in sugar, can quickly transform a soldier’s mouth into a festering cesspool of germs. (Seriously, though, replace the Listerine with booze.)
Update: A recommendation of including flea collars was removed from this article due to research that flea collars are damaging to soldiers' health. (Updated 10/6/2017; 1:58 pm)
Benjamin Franklin nailed it when he said, "Fatigue is the best pillow." True story, Benny. There's nothing like pushing your body so far past exhaustion that you'd willingly, even longingly, take a nap on a concrete slab.
And no one knows that better than military service members and we have the pictures to prove it.
This article originally appeared on Business Insider.
Former President George W. Bush is calling for an end to the partial government shutdown, which is about to hit the one-month mark and is currently the longest shutdown in US history.
In an appeal made on Instagram, the 43rd president called on "leaders on both sides to put politics aside, come together, and end this shutdown." The caption was posted with an image of him and former First Lady Laura Bush giving pizza to their Secret Service detail.
A special operations Marine is due in court on March 7 after being arrested last year for allegedly assaulting his girlfriend, Task & Purpose has learned.
Staff Sgt. Daniel Christopher Evans was arrested and charged with assault inflicting serious injury on July 29, 2018, according to Jennifer Dandron, a spokeswoman for police in Wilmington, North Carolina. Evans is currently assigned as a Critical Skills Operator with the 2nd Marine Raider Battalion at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, according to the Marine Corps Personnel Locator.
Following Trump's inauguration, some supporters of ground combat integration assumed he would quickly move to reinstate a ban on women in jobs like the infantry. When this did not happen, advocates breathed a collective sigh of relief, and hundreds of qualified women charted a course in history by entering the newly opened occupational fields.
So earlier this week when the Wall Street Journal published an editorial against women in ground combat by conservative political commentator Heather Mac Donald, the inclination of many ground combat integration supporters was to dismiss it outright. But given Trump's proclivity to make knee jerk policy decisions in response to falling approval ratings and the court's tradition of deference to the military when it comes to policies affecting good order and discipline, it would be unwise to assume the 2016 lifting of the ban on women in ground combat is a done deal.
R. Lee Ermey was laid to rest at Arlington National Cemetery on Friday.
Best known for his iconic role as the Marine Corps drill instructor Gunnery Sgt. Hartman in the war drama Full Metal Jacket, Ermey died April 15, 2018 at age 74 due to complications from pneumonia, Task & Purpose previously reported.