Weapon: Mass Relaxation

The National Stock Number is 8405-01-547-2559. The technical appellation is the Poncho Liner, USGI Issue, ACU Pattern (UCP). Everybody who has ever worn the uniform calls it the woobie.

The term itself has murky origins. The military version holds “woobie” is mil-slang for “You Would Be cold without it.” I don’t buy that. In the 1983 Michael Keaton film Mr. Mom, the kid calls his security blanket his woobie. I subscribe to the Mr. Mom school myself.

The item in question was first issued in the Vietnam era. The woobie consists of two layers of gossamer nylon material within which is sandwiched a thin stratum of polyester filling. The whole shebang is sewed crossways and edged for exceptional durability. Those earliest woobies were crafted from WWII-surplus parachute material. Hence the camouflage.

The woobie was intended to be secured within a GI-issue poncho by means of tie strings along its edges. My ponchos always smelled like roadkill. By contrast, my woobie was more like a portable all-weather womb.