View Full Version : Lifesavers Via Air Freight

12-30-05, 07:09 AM
Lifesavers Via Air Freight
Strategy Page

December 30, 2005: One of the major combat zone morale builders is access to online shopping. Troops also consider this to be a potential life saver. The average soldier or marine will spend $500-$1,000 per tour (12 months for army, seven for marines) on equipment to use doing their jobs.

While the military tries to bring a lot of popular products to post exchanges on bases overseas, what the troops want is the latest and highest performance stuff. The post exchanges usually carry a lot of basics, like baby wipes (the only way to get cleaned up when out on operations for days at a time), batteries (for all the gadgets) and snacks. The troops often want exotic stuff.

What gets ordered by mail, either before leaving the states, or while overseas, is largely equipment that the military does not provide, or that is superior to the government issue stuff. Most popular are, well, superior camping and hunting gear. Combat troops spend a lot of time out in, what they call, “the field.” That could mean a bad neighborhood in Baghdad, or some piece of desert near the Syrian border. You want to be as comfortable as possible, since that keeps you more alert, and alertness can mean the difference between life and death when bad guys are about. So better, and more expensive, combat boots, rifle slings, packs and webbing, sleeping bags, rifle sights, GPS gear and special flashlights, are all sought, and bought by the troops. Since everyone has email, even while over in the combat zone, news of some hot new piece of gear gets around real quick. Orders are placed over the net, and within a week, the goodies arrive (via the one or two 747 freighters needed to carry all that stuff to Iraq each day), and life gets a little easier, a little safer, and a little more expensive.