Kristin Beck/CNN

Welcome to Gearhead Wednesday, a regular gear review column by Chief Kristin Beck (ret.), a decorated veteran of the Naval Special Warfare Development Group and all-around badass. Send pitches and suggestions to gear@taskandpurpose.com

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Smithsonian Museum Of American History

Even back in ‘Nam, the beloved poncho liner was a favorite among troops — or at least among one.

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Getty Images

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U.S. Army photo by Spc. Kristina Truluck

Service members love their poncho liners, or woobies. And who’s to blame them? That silky sheet of fabric is probably the only piece of military paraphernalia all veterans hold on to as a keepsake from their military careers, unlike glow belts. Which we all hate.

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Screen grab from YouTube

Mat Best, president of Article 15 Clothing and star of the upcoming “for veterans, by veterans” zombie apocalypse spoof Range 15, has written a smooth R&B; love song about a piece of standard-issue field gear. What camouflaged, inanimate object could be worthy of such a heartfelt ode? Only the silkiest, smoothest, most lovable piece of material to ever grace the battlefield.

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DoD/Spc. Kristina Truluck

There have been some amazing military innovations over the years: freeze-dried food for MREs, jet aircraft, rail guns, and the soul-sucking website, Army Knowledge Online. But none of these compare to the simplest, most wonderful invention known to mankind: the poncho liner, affectionately known by all those who have felt its life-giving warmth as the “woobie.” Ask any soldier or Marine, especially those in the infantry, how he feels about his woobie, and his eyes will light up and then mist over as he waxes lyrically over the virtues of this item. Hard-bitten combat veterans grow poetic and wistful, declaring their love for this piece of equipment. If you don’t believe me, read the Amazon reviews. It is perhaps the single most-loved item in the armed forces.

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