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Buddy going to Afghanistan, gift ideas?

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 
A friend of mine is in the Army and he's getting deployed soon. I know that there are a few forum members who are/were in the armed forces, I was wondering if you could provide some insights on what would be a good gift, perhaps something he could use when he's there. Thanks!
post #2 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by changy View Post

A friend of mine is in the Army and he's getting deployed soon. I know that there are a few forum members who are/were in the armed forces, I was wondering if you could provide some insights on what would be a good gift, perhaps something he could use when he's there. Thanks!

My brother-in-law deploys today from Ohio. This will be his 2nd tour in Afghanistan. He will be in Kabul. Soldiers are fed very well, so don't worry about food. In terms of gear, everything is provided. He did buy himself a nicer pair of Oakley sunglasses. The Army provides them, but he upgraded.

I have found that going away gifts are not necessarily needed, unless it is a laptop or something of that nature. For my brother-in-law, I told him while he is gone, I would make sure his driveway and sidewalk is shoveled during the winter and his lawn taken care of in summer. He really appreciated that. It seems the biggest worry for a soldier is his family that he leaves behind. Do something to help take care of them...
post #3 of 12
As somebody who's served in every clime and place, I suggest a few pair of quality wool or wool blend boot socks. I have a few pair of the Filson socks and absolutely love them. If I had had them when I was stuck in Kosovo and other places for months on end, life would have been so much nicer.

Another suggestion would be a quality pair of ballistic sunglasses with polarized lenses. Even if he's not in a job that would see him firing his weapon all that often or need protection from flying debris, having a nice pair of lightweight sunglasses is always a plus and if he will be in an area with significant snow or where the sun is always in an awkwardly low point on the horizon, the glare can get very annoying very quick.

If your buddy has an iPod you could get him a $50 or $100 gift card and let him load up with some new tunes before he heads out (although who actually pays for music these days?).

Semper Fi!
post #4 of 12
-Sunglasses
-Portable electronics (mp3, e-reader, camera, psp/ds, etc.)
-folding knife
-headset (for skype)
-watch

When he's actually there, care packages with food and hygiene items he doesn't have access to would be useful. Books are also good, especially if he doesn't have an e-reader.
post #5 of 12
Get him some decent body armor. Military ordanance is crap and severely out-dated. Tell him to resist any military issue vaccines as they contain mercury, and a lot of other poisons. Please don't believe what I say. Google is your friend. Also Google (and Google images - safe search OFF) 'Depleted Uranium' ...and don't be eating when you look.
post #6 of 12
You heard the boys...

700
post #7 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by the_drizzle View Post

-Sunglasses
-Portable electronics (mp3, e-reader, camera, psp/ds, etc.)
-folding knife
-headset (for skype)
-watch

When he's actually there, care packages with food and hygiene items he doesn't have access to would be useful. Books are also good, especially if he doesn't have an e-reader.

Very good advice. He'll get issued what he needs as far as warry stuff or be able to pick it up at the PX in Bagram or whereever. Though a good folding knife (eg Spyderco, Benchmade, Microtech, Reeve) is always nice to have. Not some Rambo pigsticker.

The real challenge - whether he's in HQ staff or JSOC or anywhere in between on the spectrum of doing regular personal violence to bad people - is what to do in the long periods of sitting around without much immediately to do. Ipod stuff, phone minutes, Skype things - even a few good old-fashioned books - can be a godsend.
post #8 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by Man Of Lint View Post

Get him some decent body armor. Military ordanance is crap and severely out-dated. Tell him to resist any military issue vaccines as they contain mercury, and a lot of other poisons. Please don't believe what I say. Google is your friend. Also Google (and Google images - safe search OFF) 'Depleted Uranium' ...and don't be eating when you look.

No offense to Man of Lint, but I wouldn't take this advice. He'll be issued body armor and likely would not be authorized to wear "3rd party" armor.
You aren't allowed to refuse vaccines. It's part of the deployment process. It's essential in violation of an order if he refuses vaccines.


That being said, I'd echo what some people already said. He'll be working long days, but at the same time have almost nothing to do in his down time. Electronics, books anything to keep his mind off his deployment will help.

I'm not a video game person, but when I was in iraq, I played the hell out of my PSP that my cousin sent me. When I came back I gave my replacement my PSP and all the video games I had, but It was that useful.

They will have a PX and "3d country national" stores there to buy movies, but DVDs were always appreciated.

While he could probably buy snacks and what not at the stores there, perhaps send him snacks he can't buy - anything he might like that's only available locally - non-perishable of course.

Actually if he doesn't have a good camera, I'm sure he'd appreciate one as well.
post #9 of 12
Are you looking for clothing gifts? Stuff to "combat" boredom is probably the best. iPod loaded with audiobooks or full seasons of TV shows that he would like.
Quote:
Originally Posted by forseti6 View Post

While he could probably buy snacks and what not at the stores there, perhaps send him snacks he can't buy - anything he might like that's only available locally - non-perishable of course.
Pork rinds. Alcohol. Porn. Maybe a Kiton shirt. That PSP would be sweet.

VV Regarding DVDs, if it's a new release movie they've probably seen bootlegs already. Try a TV show. And porn.
post #10 of 12
Thread Starter 
Thanks for all the great recommendations. He said he'll be at a base near the Pakistan border, I'm imagining he'll be bored out of his mind. I might end up getting him an eBook or a couple of DVDs
post #11 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by HomerJ View Post

Are you looking for clothing gifts? Stuff to "combat" boredom is probably the best. iPod loaded with audiobooks or full seasons of TV shows that he would like.

Pork rinds. Alcohol. Porn. Maybe a Kiton shirt. That PSP would be sweet.

Don't send alcohol. It'll get him in trouble or at a minimum be confiscated.
post #12 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by forseti6 View Post

While he could probably buy snacks and what not at the stores there, perhaps send him snacks he can't buy - anything he might like that's only available locally - non-perishable of course.

Sending snacks is another good recommendation. Each time I was deployed, I used to always get care packages from my parents that included boxes of my favorite sugary cereal. Nothing beats the tedium of the ships galley, field rats, or MREs like a nice box of Count Chocula! Of course, I'm a fiend for sugary snacks though so YMMV. Even if I didn't have access to milk, I always enjoyed a nice handful or two of chocolate and marshmallow-y goodness! I recommend against black licorice though. You cannot give that crap away out in the field. I still don't know why my dad send me a bulk-sized package of that. There's probably still a gigantic mass of it floating around the Red Sea from when I had to toss it overboard.
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