Iraq and Afghanistan Deployment Checklist Recommendations.
When I got orders to deploy to Iraq I had to ask
several people to get a good idea of what extra gear
I should take in addition to the unit deployment
checklist, that would make my trip and deployment a
little easier. There wasn't one person or place that
I could go to quickly find what additional
deployment items I needed. Once I figured out what I
needed I had to visit several places to purchase all
the gear I had on my personal checklist.
While this isn't all inclusive, it is based off what
I ended up taking and what I wished I had taken. I
also got input from several friends who all have
multiple deployments under their belts. Hopefully
this will be a useful resource that helps you figure
out what you figure out and find what you need to
put together your personal pre-deployment checklist.
If you find you're maxed out with all your
deployment and personal gear, consider putting the
stuff you won't need while traveling in a
pre-addressed box and mailing it to yourself.
Brigade Quartermasters and MilitaryClothing.com both
have a large selections of tactical gear. They ship
to APO/FPO and I've never had, or heard of, any
problems with them shipping in CONUS or the AOR.
If you're looking for just about any electronic
equipment (external hard drives, thumb drives,
cameras etc.) TigerDirect.com is another really good
company that ships to APO/FPO. I got several items
from them before and during deployment without any
You may be limited by unit requirements, but I
deployed with a Sea Bag, a Flyers Kit Bag, and a 3
Day Backpack. The Sea Bag contained things (extra
uniforms, socks, 782/TA-50 gear etc.) that I
wouldn't need until I got into the AOR. You may get
delayed a few days enroute (we did) so keep your
sleeping bag on top for easier access if you need
it. Vacuum packing your clothing will help you save
to lot of space. Also, if you mark your bag on the
side and bottom (I used red duct tape) so it stands
out it will be easy to find among hundreds of other
bags. The Marines and Sailors who had the rolling
duffel bags had an easier time moving all their
trash, but I managed to get by with a standard issue
Anything that I couldn't cram in the Sea Bag (flak
jacket, canteens, helmet etc.) went in the Flyers
Kit Bag. It has a zipper, making access easier. I
kept my poncho liner and other items I thought I
might need enroute on top. (We got delayed in Kuwait
over night and I ended up needing my poncho liner)
A colleague recommended I purchase a 3 day
expandable backpack to use as my carry-on bag. What
ever you purchase, make sure the bag has a waist
support strap and is very solidly made. I purchased
a "Bug Out" bag which doubled as a field pack in
country. All your travel items (iPod, camera,
shaving gear, extra skivvies and socks, towel,
Gortex parka, travel pillow etc.) should be packed
here. Make sure you water proof everything in Zip
Loc bags, including shampoo, to prevent leakage.
Here's the list (click on the links below to view
Backpack: My carry-on bag was the BUGOUT GEAR THREE
DAY PACK . It was durable and provided plenty of
room for everything I needed to carry into the AOR.
If you are traveling once you're in country the bag
should be able to double as an assault pack. I lived
out of mine for up to 7 days in the field on several
occasions. The BUGOUT GEAR® LONG RANGE BAG also has
a really good reputation. Brigade Quartermasters has
a good selection of carry-on/backpacks.
Sea Bag/Duffel Bag: You should be able to travel
with up to three Bags, so one should be a Large
Duffel Bag . When empty you can load it in another
bag for easy storage. It would have been much easier
moving all my gear if I had something with wheels.
The MONSTER ON WHEELS DUFFEL BAG holds a ton of gear
and I'm told it is good to go. You may also want to
consider The PELICAN® PROTECTOR CASES™ MODEL 1660
DEPLOYMENT CASE . They are a little expensive, but
are supposed to be indestructible.
Flyers Kit Bag: Also called the Parachute Cargo Bag
is a relatively inexpensive option that provides
enough space and easy access should you need it.
Easy to store as it folds up and doesn't take up
Helmet Bag: A Helmet Bag is a useful item if you've
got more than you can carry in your backpack or you
think you might need something smaller to carry once
you're in country. I had enough space in my carry on
to include this and kept all my important stuff in
Tactical Laptop Case: If you're taking a computer
(DVD playing) or a portable DVD player you may want
to consider a TACTICAL LAPTOP CASE . In addition to
protecting your laptop/DVD player in has plenty of
extra storage for additional gear. Pelican makes a
HARD COMPUTER PROTECTOR CASE if you're looking for a
lot of extra protection for your electronic
Rigger's Belt: A heavy duty RIGGER'S BELT will stay
secure on your body and is capable of supporting a
drop leg holster and other equipment. The Marine
Corps issue martial arts belt would not stay secure
or support my pistol holster. Worth the investment.
Drop Leg Holster: I used the BLACKHAWK OMEGA® VI
ULTRA UNIVERSAL MODULAR LIGHT HOLSTER which I found
really effective outside the FOB. As many of you
know you can get your PPE on and off without
removing your side arm which is a big plus. If you
are looking for something else, Militaryclothing.com
has a good variety of TACTICAL PISTOL HOLSTERS to
Shoulder Holster: If you are on a FOB and don't have
to wear your PPE all the time you may want to
consider a Military Shoulder Holster in addition to
your tactical holster.
Parachute (550) Cord: Has 1001 uses and is one of
the most useful items you'll take on deployment. Put
20-30ft of 550 CORD in your survival kit. Great for
dummy cording items, lashing, boot laces, tent
lines, fishing line etc.
100 MPH Tape: AKA riggers tape. Another really
useful item that can be used for just about
anything. 100 MPH TAPE sticks to just about anything
and is great for repairs on the fly.
Bungee Cords: BUNGEE CORDS were useful to secure my
sleeping bag to my pack and used to secure my pack
to the outside of vehicles while traveling in the
Utility Tool: A GERBER or LEATHERMAN is a must for
your survival kit and will open almost anything.
Provides you a mini tool kit for on the spot
repairs. Keep one on you at all times.
Folding Knife: A good quality knife with a strong
blade is another must have. Both BENCHMADE and
GERBER make excellent quality knives.
Bandanna/Battle Dressing: A good sized BANDANNA or
BATTLE DRESSING can be worn to cover your mouth and
nose and limit the amount of sand you inhale during
movement and sand storms.
Balaclava: You'll find this very useful in the
winter. Doubles as a watch cap to help save space. A
BALACLAVA is also very useful when riding exposed as
a vehicle crewman to cover your nose and mouth.
Tactical Gloves: Depending on your mission make sure
you have a good pair of TACTICAL GLOVES that allow
maximum dexterity while protecting your hands.
Flashlight: A MINI-MAG LITE is a very good general
purpose tactical flashlight that doesn't take up
much space. If your looking for something with more
candle power then a SureFire® flashlight is the way
to go. If you're looking for something else Brigade
Quartermasters has over 90 different TACTICAL
LED Micro-light: A small clip mounted personal light
is another must for deployment. You should keep a
MICRO-LIGHT on your belt loop at all times during
Head Light: HEADLAMPS are good if you need to keep
your hands free for a long periods of time.
Lightstick: Good to have 5-6 LIGHTSTICKS in case you
need emergency lighting or for signaling. Keep at
least one 12 hr light in your survival kit and make
sure you have one close by anytime you travel. It is
a good idea to keep them close by in your quarters
and work space in case you lose power.
ID Holder/Tactical WALLET: You'll need an ID holder
that can either be hung around your neck or worn on
your arm during your time on the FOB. The
SPEC.-OPS.® NECK / ID WALLET is a good combination.
Bugout gear makes a ARM BAND ID WALLET . You'll also
want to consider a TACTICAL WALLET to store your
critical items such as orders, credit cards, checks
Laundry Bags: You'll need laundry bags to stow and
carry your laundry to the laundry point. Take at
least two so you can have one at the cleaners and
use the other to keep your dirty laundry in. I
recommend you take something other than white so you
can quickly pick your bag out of a croud.
Water proofing: Make sure you water proof
everything. Part of your basic gear should always be
in waterproofing or in contractor trash bags. You
can pack each group of items and suck the air out
with a vacuum in order to save space. Make sure you
waterproof everything small including your shaving
kit in order to prevent leak damage if something
breaks. You can't go wrong taking several Ziploc
Ditty Bags/Carry Pouches: Ditty Bags are good for
organizing your shaving gear, laundry and other
small items. Carry Pouches and Pocket Organizers are
good when your on the move or traveling to store
flashlights, map pens, money etc.
Sunglasses/Eye Protection: UV eye protection is a
must. Brigade Quartermasters has a huge selection of
UV/Ballistic eye wear .
Camelbak: Both Blackhawk and Camelbak make good
tactical hydration systems if you don't want to use
a gov't issue one.
Sewing Kit: You'll probably end up making a few
clothing repairs while deployed so you'll want to
pack a sewing kit . Soldiers may also want to pack
an ACU Repair Kit as well.
Sandals: Make sure you bring a good pair of sandals
that can double as shower shoes. Buy something you
would wear at the beach and outside. The shower
shoes sold at the exchange will not hold up outside
on gravel etc.
Energy Bars: Good size for travel and for your
survival kit. Energy Bars are good choices if you
need something quick.
PT Gear: Don't forget your running shoes. As you'll
have limited access to laundry you should bring PT
Gear that wicks away moisture and dries quickly so
you can use it in between laundry runs.
Civilian Clothing: Take a maximum of two days change
of clothes. Remember they'll be stored most of the
time, but you'll need something you can wear on R&R
or home if you're going on leave. If you're stopping
for training or processing at a CONUS base for
several days I recommend you take more and mail what
you won't need home(along with your cell phone etc.)
the day before you depart.
Locks: Bring 3-4 locks. I recommend combination
locks (make sure you write down the combo in a
secure place you can get to). If you don't use
combination locks, get locks that use the same key
and wear the key on your dog tags.
Alarm Watch: Wear at watch that illuminates at
night, has 24 hour time, a stop watch and an alarm.
Timex Ironman has several versions that are
inexpensive and work well.
USB Flash (thumb) Drive: Flash Drives are great for
saving space and you can use them to store personal
data (URLs, addresses, music etc.). They are also
good to store your extra pictures when your camera
card is full.
MP3 Player/Case: A must for anyone deploying these
days. An iPod or MP3 Player will help pass the time
with music, video, books on tape and podcasts,
especially during movement. Pelican makes a MP3 Case
for PDAs, Electronics etc.
Portable DVD Player: You may want to pack a Portable
DVD Player or a Personal Media Player to help pass
the time when your traveling or have down time.
Digital Camera: Don't forget to take a digital
camera and take lots of pictures. Make sure you
waterproof it and bring extra storage. Tiger Direct
has good prices and a really good selection of
Email: Make sure you open a hotmail, yahoo or gmail
account before you deploy and load the address book
with all the email addresses you think you'll need.
Cell Phone Suspension: Contact your cell phone
company and ask them if they will suspend your cell
phone for the duration of your deployment. I saved
almost $250 with Sprint. All they needed was a copy
of my orders to suspend my phone service while I was
Insurance: Call your insurance company and ask them
about reducing your auto coverage while deployed
since you won't be driving. You should be able to
save a significant amount on your premium. If you
are looking into purchasing additional life
insurance I highly recommend Navy Mutual Aid
(www.navymutualaid.org). They are a non-profit
insurer and also a financial counselor approved by
Calling Stateside: Take the DSN numbers to several
CONUS base operators near home and the locations you
might be calling. If the number you are calling is
local ask the operator to give you a local line. If
not, you should be able to dial a 1-800 calling card
Phone Cards: Make sure you take at least one phone
card with plenty of minutes on it so you don't have
several numbers (see above). You can get good deals
at Sam's and COSTCO.
Personal Journal: I kept a daily personal log of
everything significant that I did or that happened
that day. My father kept a personal record in
Vietnam and recommended I do this. You'll be glad
Reading: Make time to stay caught up on your
personal and professional reading. Make sure you
take Reading Material with you when you travel for
If you've got recommendations please feel free to
comment and I'll add them as appropriate.
From Military Uniform Gouge,