The Grunt’s Gift Guide 2013

Don’t Give Until It Hurts, Give Until It Feels Good!

Two minutes ago I made another donation to, and I wish two things: First, I wish I could give more, and second, I’d like to shout out to all of you right now to do the same. AnySoldier and their other sites, AnyMarine, AnySailor, AnyAirman, AnyCoastGuard, are critically lagging in fundraising.

We have troops — many times in very small, isolated groups — in Albania to Djibouti, Greenland to Jordan, Kyrgyzstan to Timor and beyond. They write to AnySoldier with details on their unit makeup and what they need and can’t get. If you haven’t visited them online yet, you’ll be surprised and saddened at their locations, conditions and shortfalls in support. AnySoldier puts you in contact with them, tells you how and what to send — and what not to send — depending on location.

You’ve asked what I send. Sanitizing gel, big boxes of Band-Aids, travel packs of tissues, insect repellent, Gold Bond foot powder, baby wipes and such are often asked for and very much appreciated. Top picks in snacks? Check the first three items here, followed by gifts for family, loved ones, brothers-in-arms. I’ve been that lonely grunt-on-a-rock, and so have many of you. You know what it means. God bless you guys. Connor OUT.

Send some of these delicious, chewy, smoked Steak Strips and the troops will sing songs about you ’neath the silvery moon — beats the heck outta jerky! Many big-box and chain grocery stores offer the same kinda thing, probably from the same maker. Don’t worry about perishability; these travel well and the only caution is to refrigerate three days after opening the bag.

I’ve been surprised at the rave responses on these Stash Teas — the troops love ’em. I like the Premium Green myself, and have kept ’em in my traveling chop box because they come in well-sealed individual packets and retain their taste and freshness for a long time.

Here’s a huge hit with everyone I’ve sent ’em to: Philippine brand Dried Mangoes, widely available in stores. A Connor-Tip: Send a half-dozen small zip bags with each 30-ounce bag, so they can be portioned out and pocketed for when our warriors head outside the wire, up on the flight deck or standing long watches. Sweet, moist and vitamin-loaded, they’re terrific.

Leatherman’s new OHT — One-Handed Tool — makes a great gift for anyone in uniform. Offering truly 1-handed operation and a stout lineup of locking tools — including an 8/32 threaded weapon-cleaning stub — with raised icons on the handles for quick ID of tool locations. The pliers and wire-cutters are even spring loaded.

Maxpedition’s new Acantha tactical pen is built tough, comfortably contoured for writing, and equipped with a premium Fisher Space Pen cartridge. Offered in T-6061 aircraft aluminum in hard anodized black or 300-series stainless steel, both models come with two screw-in defensive tips, a stainless pocket clip and their O-ring sealed for water resistance. Want your warrior to write letters home? Give ’em the tool to do it with!

Streamlight recently debuted two fine personal flashlights powered by standard alkaline AA batteries. The stubby ProTac 1AA and ProTac 2AA feature the usual Streamlight advantages: long runtimes, waterproofing, tempered glass lenses, antiroll heads and very attractive prices. No matter what their duties, your giftees are gonna like ’em.

The Phrike fixed blade is smaller and lighter than their big battle blades but just as tough. Crafted from one billet of S35VN, the blade is 4.25″ and handle scales are textured G10. Their new folding Akribis is a battlefield-to-boardroom knife, the result of years of research and development. Everything from cryogenically treated and tempered blades to ceramic locking bar bearings and PVD coatings are of the finest quality for the toughest duty. Both from Spartan Blades USA.

Cycling through US and foreign airports, shops, comm centers and using ATMs they’ve become prime targets for “electronic pickpockets” using RFID scanners to steal their ID and credit data. Vanquest comes to the rescue with their RFID-blocking smaller Cache and larger Vault wallets, precisely cut and stitched from 1000-D military-grade Cordura with DuPont Teflon fabric protection. Offered in black, foliage green, coyote tan and multicam, they’re a bargain at under $20.

The Field Grade Gear Care Kit from Sentry Solutions handles knife care for our troops. A compact fabric pouch containing oil-free TUF-GLIDE lubricant and protectant in a pinpoint applicator and an oil-free TUF-CLOTH to wipe away dirt and tarnishing are just two useful features.
By John Connor

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One thought on “The Grunt’s Gift Guide 2013

  1. A. C.

    Regarding the Vanquest RFID – blocking wallets: how were they tested to be sure they block RFID signals? Do they completely block radio signals, or greatly attenuate them, which might actually be good enough? I know of no standard for testing, so do they actually test at all, and how? And what were the results?

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