View Full Version : Rant: Military packing lists

08-13-2009, 07:45 PM
So we're getting ready to go to Iraq and I got "the packing list" from my brigade.

Whoever wrote this God-forsaken list at Brigade likely had to have an ASVAB waiver to enlist. There is an A bag (rucksack), B bag (rolling duffle bag which we have NOT been issued), C bag (standard duffle) and D bag (standard duffle).

C and D bags are already packed and loaded into a trailer. We're supposed to see them at some point between now and 14 months from now. Who knows?

I was packing the rucksack and a standard duffle in place of the rolling duffle...now, most of the stuff on that A and B list is duplicate...for instance, I have only been issued one set of grid pattern cold weather thermals. Packing list wants one set in the D bag and one in the B bag. I've only been issued one pair of googles and one pair of cold weather nomex...each of those are on the B bag list and in either the C or D bag list also.

They want me to bring two pair of running shoes, THREE pair of shower shoes, EIGHT locks (because "lock" and "padlock" are on each list separately...)

They want me to bring a cold weather jacket liner, though we are not bringing our M65 field jacket. I'm supposed to bring four different types of cold weather hats -- two watch caps, the "cold weather" cap (old school under helmet thing), and the fleece cap. I'm supposed to bring two wool blankets but have only been issued one.

Fleece bottoms are on the list for both the B bag and D bag but we haven't been issued bottoms -- just the jacket and only one of those. But that is on the B and D bag lists too.

And to top this all off, there isn't any room for anything else. The rucksack and assault pack are so full, you could probably cut your hand on the webbing as taut as it is. The duffle is packed...I cannot fit anything else in there.

So that leaves my carry-on...I have my Marauder...I think I will probably put my Scout inside there and fill in the little space left over with the personal hygiene stuff, electronics, stuff like that. Carry on can only be 14" x 14" x 10" so I can't put the Scout on the outside.

What a mess...I don't think the half-wit that wrote the packing list actually bothered to try to pack all this crap into these bags. What's more, we are taking a LOT of extra crap that I know I will not need. Like 10 towels, for instance...I think I have about 20 "moisture wicking t-shirts" due to the packing list. Someone told me not to bring a bunch of crap like that because they have plenty of it at the PX. Problem is, we're going to Ft. Bliss and I am sure they'll do a shakedown to make sure we kiddies (sarcasm...I'm over 35) have all our stuff...

Anyway, sorry for the rant...this sort of thing really frustrates me...

08-13-2009, 10:58 PM
As a former operations officer I'd say each list was made up by a separate staff officer with NO coordination - never a good staff procedure. And, of course, you are right in that no one tried to actually pack all that stuff. Even back then I was a geardo so I would always try before writing, including placing gear on the belt and determining weight and bulk in addition to loading sequence so I could best advise my troops.

Sorry you seem to be in the clutches of clueless staff officers.

08-13-2009, 11:14 PM
Thankfully, when we deployed, my CSM brought all his gear in to his office, and actually packed his bags, and then published the list of what he packed in each bag. It cut down on a lot of the redundancy, and made sure it would all fit.

08-14-2009, 05:00 AM
Pack the stuff you will get gigged for. Everything else pack on a will I need this basis. Mail takes a week to week and a half these days so stuff can get to you if needed. Leave wool blankets at home as long as you're bringing your sleeping bag. Leave the other cold weather hats at home because you will either be in boonie cap on base or kevlar off base. The only thing you will wear under your kevlar is the fleece cap. If you leave something that they complain about then state your reason for leaving it and say it's on you. There will be no more invasions in Iraq, and no more living outdoors for weeks at a time. Go as light as you can get away with. Have fun, oh and learn how to respectfully tell Officers and retarded NCO's how it is. That's always good to have in the tool box.

08-14-2009, 06:50 AM
Well, God bless y'all...finally, some voices of reason...very refreshing!

I will do so and leave behind the many redundant items. I've already annotated the Excel file they sent showing which items are in the C and D bag, that I've only been issued one of, etc.

Ralph: Yes...I believe what you are saying. We have a few of those types in our own company, sadly...there are some good officers in my unit, but some probably ought not be let near a computer...

YC_Essayons: Your CSM sounds like he has been on the receiving end of this stuff before...hehe. That is what I would have done if I had been tasked to do this list. That way, if a soldier says, "It won't all fit..." I can say, "The hell it won't! Try again!" :) But if someone just puts down a big lists of crap without trying to actually pack it, who knows?

docw: I've learned how to respectfully tell my NCO's and Officers if something is bull####. They generally acknowledge that they think it is bull#### too in most cases, but tell me to just go along with it because it came from higher and they have to do it too...but you are right -- if something comes from their level and I bring something wrong to their attention in a nice way, they usually actually think about it and fix it.

I am going to get rid of the extra crap I packed...especially the shirts...I mean really, 20+ t-shirts??? Wow...I wouldn't have to wash t-shirts for almost three weeks! I have six ACU's. Thinking of only taking 4 and having the other two shipped to me when I get there...

Thanks again for the sanity...:-)

Cpl Punishment
08-14-2009, 10:59 AM
Have fun, oh and learn how to respectfully tell Officers and retarded NCO's how it is. That's always good to have in the tool box.

LOL, I remember my last SFC going around on a reenlistment tour (I guess he got "volunteered" for the duty), he kept coming across guys saying the didn't want to re-up because they don't like getting told what to do. His response was:

"When you get into the civilian world, you're going to have people telling you what to do. No matter what, you're going to have someone telling you what to do. Except here, if you do it the right way you can tell me what to do with myself and there isn't much I can do about it. In the civilian world, you'll be in the unemployment line."

Got more than a few, I suspect, to reenlist. Of course, he never gave lessons on how to get away with telling him off. . .;)

08-14-2009, 12:02 PM
Sounds like nothing has changed since Vietnam--or any war for that matter! The gear is better and more cool--but the REMF's aren't! Have fun, always

08-15-2009, 12:43 AM
I'm lucky to have a good Battalion Commander and CSM. The CSM has multiple deployments and years DRB experience from his time at Bragg. Common sense normally applies around here. A simple, well thought out packing list came in handy when we deployed from Carson to Baghdad to Kandahar (Afghanistan) in four months. Moving a route clearance BN thorugh multiple theaters is fun.

08-15-2009, 05:41 PM
No joke, a few years back a buddy of mine headed down to Bliss for the SGT Major course and in his first week for one of the courses he had to write three SOP's: 1) how to roll a garden hose 2) How to use a lawn mower 3) how to store said lawn mower. I'm not knocking the CSM's in the Army, I've been really fortunate to work for some really good ones, but I've had my share of CSM's who are so closed minded that they destroy all free thought and risk taking of junior leaders in the unit. That being said, IMO there's far too many intellectually gifted CSM/s and OPS SGM's that have real vision, but become fixated on one idea and then refuse to budge or consider alternative options.

I've been on the receiving end of those similar packing lists, and I've had some 1SG's and CSM's that took the time to descened from on high momentarily to get the team leaders' and squad leaders' perspective to assess their packing lists or plan of action. I'm sure that one of the courses or blocks of instruction at the Sergeant Major course emphasises or details the benefits of soliciting feedback from your junior leaders. All too often though it seems many BN and BDE level CSM's are so far removed from the common everyday guys and focused too much on the "we have to play CYA and pack or bring something for every possible contigency" rather than realistically weigh and measure each option and neccessity for each piece of equipment. GWOT had been good to the individual soldier in terms of rapid fielding of new equipment and RFI often gives one plenty of tools to put in the kit bag, but the mindset then becomes: I better attach or pack every piece of gear I've been issued because I might need my level 7 primaloft insulated jacket while patrolling the streets of Baquba from a stryker.

I feel your pain brother; I'd tell you to sh*t can the stuff you don't really need; like 3 pairs of PT shoes. If you are gonna have than much time to wear out 3 pairs of PT shoes downrange instead of being on duty and patrolling or supporting the guy outside the wire then I'd say your command is doing something wrong. That being siad you know the drill; as soon as you decide you don't need this and that and rat F%ck you're packing list you're the guy or squad that the BDE CSM wants to inspect.

08-16-2009, 09:31 AM
WOW I had no idea things were this bad, or maybe I did but my mind has done well to forget them. When it comes to packing lists I believe that they were invented for the Junior Enlisted first term Soldiers that are unsure of what they are supposed to pack. If you have served a tour in OEF or OIF you already know what you will and wont need. I have seen the 'good idea fairy' come up with some really dumb things to put on a packing list. For example, when getting ready for a trip to Uganda one squad leader asked his troop, "Did you pack your VB boots (a.k.a Mickey Mouse boots)". Or heres another one, a training MOPP suit on a real world deployment. Sadly far too often common sense doesn't override SOP.

snakeeater x
08-16-2009, 09:34 AM

Have you talked with your PSG/1SG about this? Everyone in your company/battalion leadership must be feeling the same pain; I would find out what the officers and senior NCO's are doing. If it's really not a viable packing list then chances are they're deleting some of the redundant or unnecessary items, and you shouldn't be called out for doing the same.

08-16-2009, 10:15 AM
Yes, that is a good point...I should have mentioned I talked to my squad leader about this as soon as I got it and started trying to make it happen. He said, "I know, I know...the packing list is all ****** up...just do your best and pack what you've got and make a note of what you don't have."

So I figure if I "don't have" stupid crap I shouldn't need, it either won't be a big deal or they will aquire it for me...

BTW, the overboots are on there as well as the insect bar...I haven't ever used those...had to dig them out from where I had them stashed away...

08-18-2009, 09:59 AM
I love these threads. While I do miss my AD time, they remind me why I got out.


Be safe over there.