*Coach Helder may earn money or products from the companies mentioned in this post.
We are just a couple days away from my beloved USMC B-day, as well as Veterans Day… and this question came in from a reader: “I want to get my dad and brother a gift, they both served in the U.S. Army. How can I show my appreciation?”
You can show your appreciation in any number of small ways. A simple “Thank You” goes a very long way. Believe it or not, just spending quality time with your favorite Veteran(s) can completely turn their day around. Taking them out to a nice dinner is also a thoughtful idea; especially with many of the big chain restaurants offering Veteran discounts.
Keeping that in mind, many companies are offering substantial discounts on all sorts of products and gear.
But, since my thing here is gear reviews, It got me thinking about some of my favorite and most-used gear. Sure… I’m fortunate to get tons of high-speed gear to review and test. But when it comes to the majority of my go-to gear, let’s just say that it was “borrowed” from the United States Marine Corps. 😉
Some may chalk it up to nostalgia but when I’m out in the field and conditions are less than perfect, my G.I. issued gear rarely disappoints. Another benefit of the G.I. gear is that you can find incredible deals, especially when it comes to surplus.
I am going to list 10 G.I. issued items- with full reviews, that I currently use today, that any Veteran will love.
Let’s Get Started:
1:) ENTRENCHING TOOL (e-tool):
The E-tool has been with me since my active duty days in the United States Marine Corps. It was standard issue and part of our mandatory gear. If I was in the field, it was in the field with me. We would use the E-tool to dig “foxholes” in order to set into our positions. The E-tool also served to create personal as well as trenches of latrines depending on the mission. It also served a niche as a combative weapon.
2:) WATERPROOF BAG (WP BAG):
Having a waterproof bag in your pack regardless of it’s specific purpose is never a bad thing. Keeping my gear & food protected from the elements (including wildlife) is certainly a concern when I’m in the field. There are many viable bags and sacks out there that can fulfill my need. But my current go-to waterproof bag is my G.I. Waterproof Bag or (Willie Peter WP) bag as it was referred to back in my days as an active duty U.S. Marine.
3:) P38 (CAN OPENER):
The P38 Can Opener and I go back a long way.. I was introduced to it on my first deployment with the U.S. Marines aboard the U.S.S. Newport. The Navy had some old sea rations stowed on the ship and.. We were bored. One of my fellow Marines reached for his dog tags and embedded between both of his tags was the P38. He opened up one of the sea ration tins & I was amazed. -I was easily impressed back then.
4:) CANTEEN CUP:
…One of those pieces of gear that I still use is my Military Issued Stainless Steel Canteen Cup. Sure, there is a bit of nostalgia involved but practicality trumps old war stories every time! This canteen cup has served me well all over the world. It has been used in scenarios from making daily coffee to heating up some local fresh ham, on a Portuguese hillside, with a couple of Portuguese Marines (Fuzileiros).
5:) PONCHO LINER:
United States Marines and Infantry “Grunts” in general are supposed to be some of the toughest people around. We are hard core, do or die, one shot one kill.. Well, then how can such bad-asses consider a blanket one of their most prized possessions and emotionally refer to it as a Wobbie?
6:) MOSQUITO NETTING:
…One thing that helps a lot during the critter infested season is mosquito netting. One of the types that I tend to carry in my go kit is the Military Issued Mosquito Netting Barrier. I was first issued this type of mosquito netting in the U.S. Marines. It is durable and made to last which is a must when my dogs are around. I usually have my dogs with me in the field and they like using this mosquito netting as a barrier. When I see that they are getting bothered at our basecamp, I usually setup the netting to give them some R&R from the critters.
7:) G.I. DUFFEL BAG (SEA BAG):
I was issued my first USGI Duffel Bag while in bootcamp at Parris Island becoming a United States Marines. We affectionately referred to them as sea bags. My initial sea bag went through hell in the Marines. It traveled the world with me at sea, in the air and of course, on land. I still have and use my original sea bag which I featured in my video above.
8:) ONTARIO M9 BAYONET:
As a U.S. Marine, I have always had an attachment to the bayonet. It was standard issue when I was active duty and I still continue to train with it today. The model that I use today is definitely new and improved compared to the version that I was issues in the Marines. The Ontario 6143 493 M9 Bayonet System is what I use today.
9:) 550 CORD (PARACORD):
I have been around paracord for most of life. From my early days in the Boy Scouts to my tour in the United States Marine Corp, paracord was always present. I use it for knot tying, lashing, dummy-cording my gear, repairing my gear and many more applications that would take forever to name. Whatever your need may be while in the field… paracord has a way of continually making an appearance.
…One day we were hanging out in our barracks when a fellow grunt handed me a piece of cloth that resembled a huge bandana. I immediately thought about my days as a young child, jumping obstacles on the bike trail. A few of the guys also chimed in with their bandana wearing stories. But when we were done cackling, I was told that this was not a bandana nor a handkerchief… It was a shemagh!
Keep in mind that I do have blog posts for each item that is mentioned above. Those posts contain links to the items mentioned in this article. If you would like more information, as well as where to purchase these items, just use the search feature on my CoachHelder.com website.
In closing, I feel that any military veteran would appreciate these items. The veterans served us while their gear has served them. None of us will ever take that lightly.
On this upcoming Veterans Day (Nov.11th) be sure to thank a Veteran. You would be surprised to know how far that tiny effort on your part, actually goes.
** Offer Ends At 2400 On Monday the 12th.