This post submitted by Mack:
A recent post on Facebook from a former colleague brought back a flood of memories. In the attic, I have a couple of foot lockers full of gear. One is from the days when I wore the Boy Scout khaki as a professional. One is from my days as a cadet of the Eagle Battalion. And one is full of my for real, no shit, door kicking, life taking, beer drinking, coffee making, Army days.
And strangely, it is mostly full of what some would consider junk. But to me, they are things I couldn’t quite bear to part with after I was medically retired. That footlocker has my tactical talismans.
I’m a lapsed Methodist, me and the Lord got some issues I never worked out with the Padre. But, when I got my jump wings, my adopted little sister gave me a St. Michael medal. I wore it on my dog tag chain for a while. And after I nearly lost it on an FTX, I wrapped a piece of 1000 MPH tape around it to one of my tags.
There are also a handful of name strips. Some are the old OD green, some are ACU, and some are multi cam. All are simply stenciled “A POS”, my blood type. I would affix a blood type name strip to every piece of gear I could. Doc once told me it never saved time, but, and big but here, that guys who had it prominently marked seemed to fair better upon traumatic injury. Sort of hot wiring the brain into self preservation.
I kept a loaded M-9 magazine, a MecGar one that I privately purchased, in the back pocket of my pants. That mag came home with me. That was my last ditch ammo.
One red and one black grease pencil. The Benning School for Wayward Boys impressed upon the need for a grease pencil.
Three old bandages. I had a fear that I was gonna have to watch one my guys bleed out due to lack of bandages. I hold on these because they work in a pinch and I never had to use one. I hope to stay that lucky.
A genuine USMC issue Ka-Bar fighting knife in leather sheath. I got a cousin who flew Harriers in the Marines. He’s kinda a prick. But he gave me that after his tour as a FAC. Said he hoped I never needed it.
And, lastly, I have a nearly destroyed Ranger handbook. I’d read it sometimes when I felt especially apprehensive. It brought back memories of instructors who seemed to know no fear. Who would have insisted that if you followed the plan to the letter, trained hard, thought ahead, and acted decisively, everything would be okay.