Dear Jack: What Should I Pack For Deployment?

August 18, 2023Jack Mandaville
dear jack mandaville

Marine Corps veteran and amateur life coach Jack Mandaville has all the right answers to life's toughest questions.

Dear Jack,

Our battalion is fixin’ to deploy this fall to [REDACTED] and I was wondering if you had any tips on what kind of extra goodies I should pack to keep myself sane, safe, and entertained? What are your thoughts?

Appreciate it,

Cpl. Thomas Linehan

¿Que pasa, Tommy?

First off, why do you have to redact where you’re being deployed to? Are you Delta Force or something? Just say Poland, buddy. We all know where you’re going. 

Second, I’m not sure I’m the best guy to answer that question for you because I haven’t served for 16 years because I’m one of those elder millennials. You know what generation I’m talkin’ about: The ones who vividly remember American peace and prosperity before 9/11, multiple economic recessions, advanced global warming, and the emergence of unstable global superpowers but somehow we still managed to be the most needlessly pissed-off generation in history. 

Some of the most profound musical lyrics of our time were Korn’s, “Boom-da-da-mmm-dum-na-ee-ma, Da-boom-da-da-mmm-dum-na-ee-ma, Da-boom-da-da-mmm-dum-na-ee-ma, Da-boom-da-da-mmm-dum-na-ee-ma, Da-boom-da-da-mmm-dum-na-ee-ma, Da-boom-da-da-mmm-dum-na-ee-ma. Go!” 

We also invented school shootings. God, we sucked so bad. But I’m still gonna give this the old community college try.

Alright, since communal Hustlers, personal DVD players, cigarettes for under $5, and prepaid phone cards are all deployment must-haves of the past, I’m going to try to give some suggestions that transcend generations.

  1. Head down to the Exchange and grab some large Ziplock bags and as many domestic Copenhagen logs as you can get your hands on. Then you’re going to go to any tobacco store and purchase some humidifier packets and toss them in the ziplocks with the Cope cans. This will ensure you have fresh Stateside dip for the duration of the deployment. And even if you don’t dip, there’s always going to be some desperate redneck in your company who failed to plan ahead, and you can hock those cans to him for $20 a piece. You know which guy I'm talkin’ about. The 20-year-old yuck-mouth who looks like he’s never brushed his teeth a day in his life and usually has a name like Colt, Cody, or Clint. 
  2. There’s no other way to put it: The military is full of thieves. For every Captain America, there’s a scoundrel of the highest order because, let’s face it, those recruiters need to meet their quotas. You will never find a more wretched hive of scum and villainy. That’s why I suggest purchasing all hygiene items in pink. Loofah for the shower? Pink. Towel to dry your balls? Pink. Shower shoes? Pink. Any rogue is either going to be reluctant to own pink or, if they do swipe it, it won’t be hard to find. Also, Tommy, you’re secure with yourself, so you’ll look faaaaaaaabulous in pink. 
  3. Since I’m out of touch with what youths enjoy for entertainment, let me suggest something that every generation of troops has enjoyed from the times of Alexander the Great to the great Robot Wars of 2462. I’m talkin’ about rocks, baby! You don’t even need to pack them. They’re just there no matter where you are in the world. You can do so many fun things with rocks to pass the time. You can throw them against buildings, vehicles, and walls. You can play, “Who can toss the rock closest to that other rock?” You can impulsively throw them at the token platoon shitbag when he’s not looking and pretend like you didn’t do it. You have so many options with rocks. 

Hey, man, I know this list seems pretty weak, but that’s mainly because I don’t have to think about these kinds of things anymore on account of me being a full-fledged civilian with access to anything I want at any time. 

Okay, pal, have a great deployment! Let me know if you need a care package or anything. I have a pallet of Korean Methodist Church pamphlets I need to get rid of, so I can get it to y’all if you’re interested. Don’t ask me why I have it. 

I love you,

Jack Manford Mandaville I

Read Next: Dear Jack: Is the Coast Guard a Real Branch of Service?

Jack Mandaville
Jack Mandaville

Jack Mandaville is a contributor at Coffee or Die. He liked being a Marine but loves being a civilian that does commentary on military culture because there’s no real sacrifice involved. He’s a satirical writer, entertainer, and amateur provocateur. His only real love outside his work opportunities is falling asleep to Netflix.

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