The following three pieces of kit were drilled into me while serving in the Marine Corps. In my opinion, they became, in a way, the three staples for surviving the military. Especially if you’re in a physically demanding MOS. I spent my years in the Marine Corps as an Infantry Mortarman and later was attached to the 24th MEU to operate on a TRAP Team. Between the MOS itself and the daily physical training regimen we followed, these three items became a necessity.
Now that I’m on the other side living the civilian life, all three items still prove valuable on a daily basis.
From day-1 in boot camp, they reiterated the importance of hydration. We ALWAYS had a canteen of water with us no matter where we went. Due to the physical nature of the training and lifestyle, you had to keep hydrated or you’d end up in medical with an IV stuck in you. Fast forward to today and I still drink a water bottle in the morning and another water bottle at lunchtime. Your body is naturally dehydrated when you wake up in the morning. Water is the elixir of life. Drink it every day. How much do you really need? Stay tuned for my next article when I break down the human performance aspects of hydration.
If you’ve spent any time in the military and dealt with your units’ medic or went to medical for any ailment, you were handed two Motrin and sent on your way. That seemed to be the cure-all in the military along with water. From physical soreness to a common headache, the Motrin allowed me to continue my push forward to complete the mission. I still to this day carry a bottle of either Motrin or Ibuprofen in my backpack.
Putting on a clean pair of socks does wonders for your moral and positive mental attitude. As with water and Motrin, socks were always third on the list for personal hygiene. We had to take care of our feet if we were to be combat effective. During long forced marches we had predetermined stopping points to drink water and change our socks. It was mandatory. I also learned that on those long drives home for leave, the small act of changing my socks half way through the drive gave me a mental boost. It may only be a mental thing, but the bottom line is that it worked. I still to this day will carry a spare set of clean socks when traveling. It’s part of my ranger roll that goes into my carry-on when traveling via commercial air as well.
Check out the following Military Medicine video.
In the Marine Corps if you showed any signs of sickness, whether it was the common cold or nasty flu, or you had physical soreness from PT and training, they had the same answer; Drink water, take two Motrin and change your socks. That advice still sticks with me to this day. It may sound funny, but it works. Nowadays when I’m traveling I keep a ranger roll inside my bag which consists of a fresh t-shirt, socks and underwear. In addition to that, I have a bottle of Ibuprofen and a full water bottle. If my checked luggage does get lost, I still have the necessities to keep going.