Recently I got an email from a fellow milblogger who experienced a change of mission from Iraq to Afghanistan. Iraq didn’t bother him… he’s been there before… but he doesn’t know anything about Afghanistan. I thought about it and realized that what I was missing when I went into country was significant. Our young friend asked for a post on what he needed to know, but I realized that the knowledge that needed to be transferred could not be dealt with in one post. I also realized that there were others who had knowledge that needed to be provided. From this point, Bouhammer tells it better than I do, so I’m copying his post on it.
It started as a lengthy phone call between Old Blue and myself. Thanks to a private online chat group that a whole bunch of us milbloggers talk on, it grew to include Vampire 6 and WOTN. Four veterans of Afghanistan, Four milbloggers, Four guys who care about passing on the Afghanistan Lessons Learned (A.L.L.) to others that are deploying. 2009 is going to be challenging enough for this country in regards to Afghanistan and even more challenging for those that are heading over to risk their lives and spend a year away from home.
The last thing they need to do is worry about a lengthy ramp-up period to learn the unique challenges that the war in Afghanistan has to offer. They need to hit the ground running, which means having all the lessons learned already in their head.
This is where we come in. We call it A.L.L. and it is for all going to Afghanistan. We foresee this blog becoming the one-stop shop of knowledge needed in order to step into the country knowing all there is to know without having physically been there.
You can find it at http://afghanlessons.blogspot.com/
Go there to check it out, and if you know anyone heading to the “Popular, Forgotten War” tell them to check it out too.
In partnership with Bouhammer, we are starting a new series of posts designed to help inform the thousands of troops headed to Afghanistan in 2009, some of whom expected to deploy to Iraq. Those who thought they were headed to Iraq now find themselves behind the power curve in coming up to speed on the peculiarities of Afghanistan. By request from SGT Danger, here is the first chapter in our attempt to help them to be more successful in A’stan.
List of Gear for Afghanistan-Updated
Posted By Bouhammer on April 27, 2009
Old Blue and I are combining our knowledge and experience to jointly publish blog posts under a shared Category called A.L.L.
A.L.L. stands for Afghanistan Lessons Learned, and is intended to document our knowledge and experience in a fresh perspective for any and all service-members who may be part of the upcoming surge into Afghanistan this year. He and I and maybe others (who could one day also join this endeavor in the future) have walked the walk and walked the ground. We have learned the lessons the hard way, so there is no reason for others do to do the same. The wheel has been invented and there is no patent on it.
This is the first “chapter” in this new joint blogging adventure. This list was originally published on this blog back on Jan. 26th, 2007. This is a list of good equipment to have.
The following list is from my experiences and from friends in Iraq that pertain to here Afghanistan also. Some of these won’t be needed until you get in country, so you may want to set them off to side for mama to pack up for you and send to you once you get settled. This listing has been the single most popular blog posting ever, here on Bouhammer’s Blog.
1. Any extra ClassVIII you can bring with you is good to have.
2. Wolfhook single point slings
3. Desert Tan Spray paint
4. Space blanket(s)
5. 100 mph tape, 550 cord, TP, other expendables you think would come in handy
6. Drop Leg Holster (blackhawk or SERPA) and Uncle Mike’s Paddle-Holster for wearing around every day (drop leg will wear a hole in ACUs over time). I also have one for my IBA so I can have my 9mm handy when in the gun hatch going through towns.
7. Weapons lube that DOESN’T ATTRACT SAND. (MILTECH or Remington Dry Lube only)
8. Two copies of addresses, phone numbers, account numbers, etc.
9. 2 pairs of GOOD boot insoles
10. A Good Tactical Flashlight (SureFire, even though you will get issued one with M4)
11. Red/White light L.E.D. headlamp
12. Spare pair of running shoes
13. MP3 PLAYER W/ x-tra pair of spare headphones
14. Enough batteries to last you 30 days
17. 30 SPF or higher Sunblock
18. Bar soap- for some reason its in short supply….almost always
19. Small compact rolls of TP. A lot of places make travel size, half the time you get to a port-a-potty the jackA$s before you ganked the TP
20. Baby wipes- 30 days worth. Expect that the power and water will either go out, or the water will be contaminated at least once a month.
21. Gold Bond Foot and Body Powder
22. Small clip on LED light-clip it to your IBA….it will come in handy….quite often.
23. Drink mix for 16/20 oz bottles of water
24. Weightlifting supplies
25. Small photo album with pics from home.
26. Hand sanitizer (small bottles to put in ankle pockets)
27. More books/magazines than you think you will need.
28. DVDs, for you and to loan out for swapping purposes
29. Tactical gloves- military gloves are sort of clumsy ( I love the $9.95 whitewater brand gloves from the clothing sales). Also standard flight nomex are good.
30. Lens anti fog agent. Shaving cream works in a pinch, but you have to apply it every other day or so.
31. Good pair of shower shoes/sandals. I recommend the black adidas….lasted me all year.
32. Small pillow (air inflatable)
33. Cheap digital camera (at least 2.1 mp)
34. Boot knife
35. Gerber multi tool
36. Fabreeze-sometimes the laundry is few and far between.
37. Armor Fresh
38. Extra boot laces
39. Stainless steel coffee cup with screw on lid.
40. Soccer shorts/normal t shirt to sleep in, hang out in your room in
41. Sweatshirts for winter times hanging around
42. A couple of poncho liners for privacy, nasty mattress cover, etc.
43. A set of twin sheets with pillow case
44. Good regular-size pillow
45. One or two good civilian bath towels
46. Buy a good set (>$200) of winter desert boots. All they will give you is a regular summer set and a set of goretex lined for waterproof needs. Desert is a cold place at these altitudes in the winter time.
47. Bring a laptop!!! Also may want a PSP or some other handheld gaming device.
48. Get an external USB hard-drive (>120gb). You will need this to back up data to, and to store movies and MP3s that you will fall in on from previous teams.
49. Get a Skype account and download the software from skype.com. This is how I talk to home 95% of the time. If you call computer to computer it is totally free. You can also skype out from your computer to a regular phone for $0.021 a minute. There is nothing cheaper than that.
50. Decent headset with mic for computer (skype).
51. Webcam for video calls back home.
52. Bring a min. of 18ea. M4 mags per person. 9 that are loaded and 9 that rest. Plan to do M4 mag changeover once per month.
53. Bring 8ea 9mm mags, for same reason above. Change these over every two weeks.
54. Order a LULA mag loader/unloader. It will be the best $12 piece of plastic you every bought. I have 12 mags loaded at all times and when I do change over it will do it in a fraction of the time and save your hands, and save the ammo.
55. Try to get your state or purchase yourself one 12v DC to 110 AC inverter per man for your trucks. There are crucial on mission to charge personal items, cell phone, ICOMs, and especially ANA radios (they only have re-chargeable batteries).
56. Dump the IBA tac vest you get issued. Get a Tactical Tailor MAV chest rig (does not matter if you get 1 or 2 piece one as you want to keep the front open for laying in the prone. You don’t want mags pushing into your chest making it hard to breathe) . I wish I would have bought mine at the start. It makes a HUGE difference on the back and shoulders when carrying a loaded rig.
57. Get comfortable pair of desert boots. I wear only the Converse 8” assault boots (non-zipper ones). Oakley, Bates and several others are similar in style and comfort.
58. Bring some good snivel gear for the winter time. Extra poly-pro winter hat, gloves, neck gators, etc.
59. Lock de-icer for the winter time
60. Disposable hand and feet warmers
61. Canned-air, lots of it for electronics weapons, etc.
62. Lens wipes for optics
63. Screen wipes for computers
There are probably many other things that could go on this list, but a lot of that is personal preference. The purpose of this list is to provide some insight into things that could make anyone’s tour easier.
*Reprinted by permission of and in partnership with Bouhammer.