Kim du Toit recieved some suggestions for anyone who wants to send a care package to a soldier in Iraq.
The hotter summer months are coming in, and many troops have been over there a while. Having been in that region, I can tell ya that there are some smarter things to pack in a care package besides cookies. Sure, they may cost a bit more, but I'm pretty sure any self respecting local store will cut a deal for some/most of these items.
1. Foot Powder. Goes without saying. This stuff is GOLD over there.
2. Boot sole inserts. The cheap ones work just as well, if not better than the "gel" ones. (The gel ones don't absorb moisture, which can really screw up the bottoms of your feet)
3. Toenail Clippers, fingernail clippers, cloth surgical tape.
4. Moleskin (the little pads you put on your foot/boot to prevent blisters.
5. Bootlaces. A lot of laces got severely stressed with the sucking mud in the winter. The longer the better. (Soldiers know how to make them shorter, not longer)
6. Baby wipes/travel napkins.
7. Endust wipes. These things are PERFECT for cleaning quite a few items, least of which is the gas mask *just in case*.
9. Eyeglass repair kits (small screwdriver, little screws)
10. GOOD duct tape. The military stuff don't always work to well. (Lowest bidder stuff I guess. Dunno why one roll works too well, and one wouldn't stick to itself) Black/Beige preferred, silver works too, in garrison.
11. Spray Silicone, 5 in 1 household oil, Armor All (or equivalent). This stuff is useful for getting some of that "road dust" off, and for general maintenance stuff around the tent.
12. Loofahs. (the little scrunchy bath things women use, look like a mini cheerleader pom pom). I got hooked on these things after wearing camo face paint for a week. These things WORK. Throw in some liquid soap if you want/need.
13. If you're going to send razors, think about sending them good ones. A good mach 3 will last a soldier two weeks, whereas a cheap bic one will last one or two shaves. And yes, you CAN jam a screwdriver into a mach-3 or similar style blade, and shave with it, using the screwdriver like a handle.
14. Shaving Cream. Don't send Gel. High altitude areas leave these cans spent with about half the contents remaining.
15. Suede Brushes. We use these things for boots, fingernails, dusty 16's, etc... again, tons of uses
I never would have thought of Loofas or bootlaces, and I was in the Army! Oh well, just goes to show you what different areas and missions require. To the above list I would add Good Beef Jerkey, (if you have a butcher shop that makes good jerkey, have them vacume-pack it), Powdered Gatorade (powdered gold is more like it), and tobacco products. Even if the soldier doesn't smoke, tobacco can be bartered with quite effectively.
A lot of this stuff isn't too expensive, so if you know anyone in the Sandbox, why don't you send them a couple of gifts?