Preparing for Deployment to Iraq – or Anywhere


According to BlackFive, the following list was written by Captain Brian Johns, an aviator. If you read military blogs, you may have seen this, but as most people don’t read military blogs, it hasn’t been widely seen, unless you’re in the military. On Black Five, J Wilde opined that some things came from the “simulate submarine life at home” list.

Considering the terrible things that all countries do to their military men and women, its good that they can laugh about this stuff.

It is reproduced here because we’re trying to help our friend Susan Warren send care packages to the troops in Iraq and Afghanistan. They love Susan’s packages and she has hundreds of letters to prove it. Susan has been sending 10 to 15 packages per week for almost four years – its a labor of love. Donations large or small are always welcome.

Unselfish Giving, From a Distance

Give your family and friends a taste of what it’s like to be deployed:

  1. Have your family sleep on cots in the garage.

  2. Replace the garage door with a curtain.
  3. Two hours after you go to sleep, have someone whip open the curtain, shine a flashlight in your eyes and mumble, “Sorry, wrong cot.”
  4. Renovate your bathroom. Hang a green plastic sheet down from the middle of your bathtub and move the showerhead down to chest level. Keep four inches of soapy cold water on the floor. Stop cleaning the toilet. Leave two to three sheets of toilet paper. Or for best effect, remove it altogether. For a more realistic deployed bathroom experience, stop using your bathroom and use a neighbor’s. Choose a neighbor who lives at least a quarter mile away.
  5. When you take showers, wear flip-flops and keep the lights off.
  6. Every time there is a thunderstorm, go sit in a wobbly rocking chair and dump dirt on your head.
  7. Put lube oil in your humidifier instead of water and set it on “HIGH” for that tactical generator smell.
  8. Don’t watch TV except for movies in the middle of the night. Have your everyone vote on which movie to watch and then show a different one.
  9. Leave a lawnmower running in your living room 24 hours a day for proper noise level.
  10. Have the paperboy give you a haircut.
  11. Once a week, blow compressed air up through your chimney making sure the wind carries the soot across and on to your neighbor’s house. Laugh at him when he curses you.
  12. Buy a trash compactor and only use it once a week. Store up garbage in the other side of your bathtub.
  13. Wake up every night at midnight and have a peanut butter and jelly sandwich on a saltine cracker.
  14. Make up your menu a week ahead of time without looking in your food cabinets or refrigerator. Then serve some kind of meat in an unidentifiable sauce poured over noodles. Do this for every meal.
  15. Set your alarm clock to go off at random times during the night. When it goes off, jump out of bed and get to the shower as fast as you can. Simulate there is no hot water by running out into your yard and breaking out the garden hose.
  16. Once a month, take every major appliance completely apart and put it back together again.
  17. Use 18 scoops of coffee per pot and allow it to sit for five or six hours before drinking.
  18. Invite at least 185 people you don’t really like because of their strange hygiene habits to come and visit for a couple of months. Exchange clothes with them.
  19. Have a fluorescent lamp installed on the bottom of your coffee table and lie under it to read books.
  20. Raise the thresholds and lower the top sills of your front and back doors so that you either trip over the threshold or hit your head on the sill every time you pass through one of them.
  21. Keep a roll of toilet paper on your nightstand and bring it to the bathroom with you. And bring your gun and a flashlight.
  22. Go to the bathroom when you just have to pass gas, “just in case.” Every time.
  23. Announce to your friends that they have mail, have them report to you as you stand outside your open garage door after supper and then say, “Sorry, it’s for the other Smith.”
  24. Wash only 15 items of laundry per week. Roll up the semi-wet clean clothes in a ball. Place them in a cloth sack in the corner of the garage where the cat pees. After a week, unroll them and without ironing or removing the mildew, proudly wear them to professional meetings and family gatherings. Pretend you don’t know what you look or smell like. Enthusiastically repeat the process for another week.
  25. Go to the worst crime-infested place you can find, go heavily armed, wearing a flak jacket and a Kevlar helmet. Set up shop in a tent in a vacant lot. Announce to the residents that you are there to help them.
  26. Eat a single M&M every Sunday and convince yourself it’s for Malaria.
  27. Demand each family member be limited to 10 minutes per week for a morale phone call. Enforce this with your teenage daughter.
  28. Shoot a few bullet holes in the walls of your home for proper ambiance.
  29. Sandbag the floor of your car to protect from mine blasts and fragmentation.
  30. While traveling down roads in your car, stop at each overpass and culvert and inspect them for remotely detonated explosives before proceeding.
  31. Fire off 50 cherry bombs simultaneously in your driveway at 3:00 a.m. When startled neighbors appear, tell them all is well, you are just registering mortars. Tell them plastic will make an acceptable substitute for their shattered windows.
  32. Drink your milk and sodas warm.
  33. Spread gravel throughout your house and yard.
  34. Make your children clear their Super Soakers in a clearing barrel you placed outside the front door before they come in.
  35. Make your family dig a survivability position with overhead cover in the backyard. Complain that the 4x4s are not 8 inches on center and make them rebuild it.
  36. Continuously go buy Gatoraide .
  37. When your 5-year-old asks for a stick of gum, have him find the exact stick and flavor he wants on the Internet and print out the web page. Type up a Form 9 and staple the web page to the back. Submit the paperwork to your spouse for processing. After two weeks, give your son the gum.
  38. Announce to your family that the dog is a vector for disease and shoot it. Throw the dog in a burn pit you dug in your neighbor’s back yard.
  39. Wait for the coldest/ hottest day of the year and announce to your family that there will be no heat/air conditioning that day so you can perform much needed maintenance on the heater/ air conditioner. Tell them you are doing this so they won’t get cold/ hot.
  40. Just when you think you’re ready to resume a normal life, order yourself to repeat this process for another six months to simulate the next deployment you’ve been ordered to support.
  41. Pack up everything in your garage and load it up on a truck. Let someone else drive as you ride in the back and have them drive crosscountry at night with no headlights for 4-5 hours and then set everything back up in someone else’s garage. Do this every 4-5 days.
  42. Don’t let anyone in your family go anywhere alone. Also, everyone must carry a broomstick with them for protection. The only time they’re allowed to be without their broomstick is when they’re running into the yard for a shower.

Not only is that list funny, we’re told it’s either 100% true or very close to the mark. Suddenly, the little things we complain about don’t seem so important. And it doesn’t even matter who is president – all deployments are like this.

So if you’re thinking you could make a difference in a deployed soldier or marine’s life, check Susan’s story and send a few dollars to help her keep up the good work.

See also – this story about Susan’s work: Unselfish Giving, From a Distance

P.O. Box 2422

Kensington, MD 20891-2422