I am still known even in the Survival world as a GI through and through. I still like to sleep on the cold, muddy ground, ride in the back of a truck, and even sitting next to the campfire while my survival tribemates are having conversations. LOL! Get it while you can. When I am out walking around looking for resources or navigating to a new camp, I still find myself relying on old lessons of patrolling, looking high and low, left and right for trouble like I did when I was the Point Man on patrols with a heightened sense of alert.
Always displaying GI Grit, even when things look grim in survival situations, getting soaked by a storm, shivering in the night without a fire, or piercing your right testicle in a nasty swamp and having it stitched up on the spot and carrying on the mission! Embrace the suck, they say! So, with a GI crooked grin…I did…gladly! So, you can say GI Ways die hard, and I have also found that true when I went through my Go Bag (Bugout Bag) the other day. I have five pieces of GI Gear that I still rely on and use to this very day! Gear that has worked very well in the past and still does, that has kept me in the fight all these years and also makes me smile in comfort and boosts my morale like old friends. Allow me to share these GI Gear Gems with you now.
The “Woobie” – The “Woobie” is the Nickname (GIs give everything a name!) given to the trusty Poncho Liner, an amazing lightweight but very warm blanket that could be attached inside your GI Poncho to make a makeshift sleeping bag. It has kept me warm on many missions as a Soldier and still does as an Outdoorsman. Never leave home without it.
The Canteen Cup – Sure there are lots of steel nesting cups out there and other pots to cook and wash in, but none with the nostalgia of the Good Ole GI Canteen Cup. Many of you may find now have wire interlocking handles that collapse to the sides of the cup, but the one I have carried for decades has a full steel folding handle that goes up under the cup on a hinge and has a locking clip. The one I have carried is dated 1965, which is extra special as it’s the year of my birth and the Super Bowl Era!
Yes, I am Old, but one should always be leery of the grey-bearded man who’s in a profession where men die young! There’s a reason I am Old, or Seasoned as I like to call it. LOL! In any regard, this cup has been through a lot like me. Banged up, run over, and even deflected shrapnel metal! It’s been a kitchen and a sink for me over the years, and there is nothing like drinking a hot Cup ‘O Joe first thing in the morning in it!
The Machete – The GI Machete has cleared my path for me on many Swamps and Jungle Missions and still does to this day. It is a reliable tool for work, as it is at tasks for Survival, and as well if one is needing to defend themselves! The GI Machete has been a Battle Buddy to me in the thick of it, literally, and could always be counted on! So, it has never left my Pack no matter what that pack looked like. I have always kept it sheathed on my Pack and readily accessible in a moment’s need!
The E-Tool – The E-Tool as the GIs called it was a folding type of shovel, properly nomenclature as the Entrenching Tool. It was a combo Shovel, Pick/Hoe, Axe, and Saw/Cutter with a D Style handle. I like to file sharpen the edges of my tool where the saw edge wasn’t so as to double up as a cutting edge for me. I have dug many a foxhole with mine and an equal amount of campfire pits as well. An easy-to-pack and carry tool as you need. For a few years, I carried the older T Version with a wooden handle that I liked a lot, but it was a bit harder to pack-carry and the weight was much more than the newer folding model. So, in the end…Ounces equals pounds, and pounds equals misery, the Folding E Tool won out for this Grunt Foot Soldier.
The P38 – The P-38 is nothing more than a small can opener GIs used to open up their C Ration cans back in the day. Yummy GI meals to fuel you in the fight. They have a sharp claw-like opener with a thumb pad to operate it by, with a small hole for running your dog tag chain through, a small piece of cord, or your key chain ring. I still carry one today, maybe more for some GI Luck than anything else, as I am not opening many metal cans these days, but they still make them!
So, those were my 5 GI Joe Gear Items that I still have and use today. When you find a good piece of reliable gear, it is hard to replace or even upgrade from it. I have tried over the years but seem to go back to what I knew worked best, that I knew could be relied upon, and sometimes it was just about the spirit of that piece of gear and what we had been through together. You can’t keep an Old GI down, nor can you keep an Old Piece of GI Gear still in the GI Footlocker collecting dust! Dust off your old reliable gear and get it back in the fight in the field… “Survive On!” ~ EJ Snyder