5 quality of life things troops bring while deployed

Getting snacks and coffee via care packages is nice, but sometimes what you really need is a little personal space in the middle of a war zone.

Depending on your rank and branch of service, you get more luxuries. The standard grunt in the formation, however, gets a bunk and a foot or two of space that you share with everyone else in your tiny tent.

Here are the little ways troops try to make their bunk their own, despite the conditions.

1. Hard drive full of movies and TV shows

There’s basically nothing to do on your downtime while deployed. Shocker, I know.

Everyone picks up a hard drive so they can pull movies off of each other. After a while, everyone in the unit has pretty much the same collection. So, troops will start by watching everything they care to watch… and then they’ll finish by watching everything they don’t.

USO tent

If it’s playing at the USO tent, you’ll probably watch it. (Photo by 1st Lt. Janeene Yarber)

2. Extra tough boxes

When you’re trying to set up your “space,” you’ll need more storage than just your duffle bag.

Tough boxes serve multiple purposes in addition to being a place for all your crap: Table, desk, chair, an end table to place family photos, a divider to cordon off your side of the tent — whatever’s clever.

tugh boxes

And they’re perfect for the return back stateside! (Photo by Spc. Zane Craig)

3. Cameras

It’s not just the combat cameramen who get into photography while deployed. Plenty of troops take photos so they can try to make the “most perfect deployment video ever!”

Every photo is basically just the guys hanging out — an average day while doing military stuff. Rarely do troops capture the awesome combat videos they dream up. If you do, the CO will scrub it down. If they don’t, you’ll probably put “Bodies” by Drowning Pool in the background.

combat cameraman

Or Metallica… or Godsmack… or Toby Keith… (Photo by Staff Sgt. Ryan Crane)

4. Armor displays

POGs probably won’t set them up, but once someone in the unit grabs some extra wood to create an easy set-up for their armor, everyone else will follow suit.

All it takes is some spare 2x4s. Make ’em into a cross, give it a base, and you can easily grab your gear when it’s time to make a gun run.

Armor display stands

Perfect for the grunt on the move.

5. Beach chairs

The same exact chairs you’ll see covering the sandy beaches of the States are also everywhere in GI tents in Iraq and Afghanistan.

These are cheap as hell, and yet troops will still sit on the same broken-down chair they bought off the unit before them.

deployed lawn chairs

These same chairs are probably still in Afghanistan. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Nichole Adamowicz)