In the few days I’ve had to get used to the fact I am off to Afghan – I now have a few more details…the most important of which is that although I am not deployed away out of the country until April ’11, my training for it starts in December this year.
And that training will be based away from Benson and carried out based at somewhere near to Andover, although it appears I will be travelling about the UK a fair bit as well.
This means, that in essence, that my deployment away from Benson is 10 months long and starts in December, just 6 months away…
So. I’ve had a think. And I’ve put together a shopping list of things that I THINK I’ll need out on deployment. The sort of stuff that the military don’t give you – the comfort kit, as I call it.
Now a LOT has been written about servicemen and kit for operations and I am not going to get involved in all that debate. I have no idea what I will or won’t be issued with to go. That is a while away yet, but I did ask on the Army Rumour Service (ARRSE) as to stuff that might be useful.
This may sound like party line stuff – but I hold this as a truth. And I will stand by this truth: Every time I have ever been anywhere, the service has provided me with kit that has been more than adequate to achieve the task asked of me. This counts for in the UK as well as overseas. For long term deployments as well as short. I think the kit that I have had, for the jobs I have had to do has been good enough.
That said, I have, in the past bought “comfort kit”. Kit that is warmer or more comfortable for less weight,. So called ‘Gucci-gear’. I have a Snugpak Sleeka jacket for winter (as the service issue fleece is very heavy) and I have got a Thermarest instead of the issued sleeping mat. But it is my choice. The issue stuff is serviceable for the job…but the stuff I bought suits me better. It’s like your boss offering you a basic motor as a company car. It’ll get you about but you won’t be the most comfortable…so you say to your boss ‘if I put a few quid towards it can I have air-con?’
Anyway, the fellow that replied to my query on ARRSE had done the job I am going out to do – and so is a mine of important info…and he said that I don’t need to buy much kit as the stuff issued is very good – but that doesn’t mean I still don’t have a bit of a shopping list already; for my ‘Gucci-gear’ and ‘comfort kit’…and so here is what I have on my list of things already…
New Earphones for MP3 player
Stuff Sacks (Various sizes – probably dry bags)
Anti-bacterial hand gel
New RAF belt
New Soldier Pocket Book (old one is in bad repair)
Sleeping Bag Liner
Leg holster and pistol retainer
Field Espresso coffee maker
2xJournal note books
Portable FM/LW radio.
Jet Boil stove
Field notepad cover.
iPod Touch 64GB
Mini HD Camcorder (Which I have just got – and was delivered yesterday!)
Hmmmmmm I think I am going to be taking a LOT of stuff with me…