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YouTube/Coach Helder

A recent Task & Purpose article mentions the “trusty" e-tool among various “vet-tested” gear items for peacetime hiking. Without making too much of a casual gear recommendation, it is worth asking if the just over two-pound e-tool (without case) is too much tool for a peacetime camping trip while considering its effectiveness as an actual wartime “entrenching” tool. Do you really know your e-tool as well as you think you do?

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DoD Photo / Army Master Sgt. Robert A. Couture.

In January, Army Command Sgt. Maj. John Wayne Troxell — the senior enlisted advisor to the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff — told ISIS that they could either surrender or U.S. troops would beat them to death with entrenching tools. Since then, Troxell has received 240 entrenching tools for him to autograph, his spokesman told Task & Purpose.

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U.S. Marine Corps photo/Photo illustration by Matt Battaglia

There’s a famous Marine Corps story from the Vietnam War, where a Marine got a confirmed kill with a small collapsible shovel, called an entrenching tool, or E-tool.

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