Greetings Me Droogs N Droogettes!
Seeings how none of us are getting out alive either way, I figured to make a bit of a lighter sort of Poast. I mean it –can’t– be a shytteshow 24-7-365, (even tho it seems to be).
I was digging around in ye olde sock drawer putting up the Affy-Patch collection, when I came across’t some ‘stuff’ from ‘back in the day’. In this case, it’s something kinda-sorta unique. Well, they are, but they aren’t. They’re some ID’s from Kuwait, and a Badge from Baghdad. Then underneath all ye olde sockage, I found a bag full of lanyards.
Now, lanyards are the ‘standard company issue el-cheap-shytte bling’ that they give out, usually when yer onboarding and whatnot. Stateside they usually get shunted off to a drawer, only to be seen again when you’re leaving the company, and boxing up your shit. I used to joke that it was the way a company marked us as ‘their property’… a slave-marker so to speak… especially in light of how when they gave you one, the H.R. beeeatcha usually made it like you were being given something special.
Are you kidding me?
But then again, we are talking Karen from H.R….
So, to continue: Very rarely stateside do they actually get used. 99.9% of the time when I needed to keep an access card or ID on a lanyard of some form or another, I usually used one of those ‘on-the-belt’ retractable lanyards.
Mostly kept my keycard access badge in a small badge-sized pouch that would clip through the clippy part…it was when I was working in ‘secure areas’ and needed to access the server room and/or the back areas that it got used the most…
Now, OTOH, overseas? You had to have your ID badge showing at all times. Needed quick access and prove that you were you at any given moment. Belt mounted badges couldn’t and wouldn’t cut it, in fact I think there was a regulation that you had to have your shit immediately available/visible. The majority of folks, (contractors that is) wore something like this:
Usually had the DotMil ID in it (like in the pic) and then the large-ish pocket, you kept your Passport (never leave home without it… I literally wore mine 24-7, even in the shower during my first six months in-country… then I lern’t to chill a bit. Jes’ Sayin’) and then also it was convenient for your credit card(s) and cash. It never was out of arms reach. Leastways as a newbie.
So, since we had to wear these things, sometimes, well MOST of the time, that big honking fucking chest-wallet? Yeah… in Iraq… in 140 degree heat with a black-heat index of 10,000? Yeah, notsomuch…
Fucking thing started to get hotter’n’fuck, and depending on the sit-rep (security wise) you lern’t when you absolutely needed to have your passport on hand, versus ‘daily I don’t-give-a-fuck’ mode. Since after the first year or so, one lern’t pretty quickly that you could get away with less.
Especially because of the fucking heat
So, to counter the goonga-pouch (pronounced GOON-Gah), and some of the ‘other’ things, well, I ended up with an eclectic selection of lanyards and whatnot.
So, we got, top to bottom:
A SigArms lanyard that a factory rep gave me when we were testing some new SIG toys… the company I was running with was looking at purchasing -evvabody- a new P229, which was the SIG M11-A1 compact… we were travelling to ‘strange places’ and meeting ‘odds and sods’ that required that we be armed… In the end, it was no dice as the Chain of Command determined that we weren’t responsible enough to carry weapons…
So, that was where -that- one came from… The others? Pretty self-explanatory. Stanley from Kuwait, Honeywell from Affy, KBR from Iraq, and the ubiquitous souvenir PX-Special from Camp Arifjan, Kuwait with the OIF/OEF logo.
Now, truth be told, I never wore the ‘corporate logoed’ lanyards. Made self-identification far too easy. I usually wore, and as you can see, the top one is a braided 550 cord with a breakaway clip, and my ackchual plastic badge carrier… more on that in a sec. It kept me sort-of-kind-of an ‘unknown player’ if you will…
That being said, I never threw away any of my ‘other lanyards’.
Glad you asked. Simple answer: Camouflage.
If I needed to ‘acquire’ material from, oh say a KBR lumber lot, or a supply point, showing up dressed appropriately, meaning Justin Roper work boots, Levis and a flannel shirt over a dirty t-shirt w/appropriate ball cap, while wearing a KBR lanyard? No bullshit, -you’d be fucking invisible to 90% of the motherfuckers who may or may not have seen you-!!!! Almost 100% TCN and LNs you -would- be -absolutely- invisible to!!!! (TCN = Third country Nationals, LN = Local Nationals)
A lanyard in some cases, depending on the how-where-when-why-what was needed acted like the fucking “One Ring” from the “Hobbit”… put it on, and man, you become in-fucking-visable.
“Acquired” and “Reallocated” a metric fucking ton of shytte over the years using that gag.
Look the part, play the part, and act naturally.
So, the braided one at the top, I have like 5 of them in various colors to go with my shirts… yeah yeah, BCE the fashion plate right? Seriously though, the Filipinos who ran the laundry on Liberty used to make them for $5-6-7 bux, depending on what you wanted. They also braided the 550 cord bracelets that we all wore…
Yep… lost the black one, but still have ALL my rest. They’d drill out a penny to use as the ‘buckle’… sort of like an Iraq version of a Montagnard Bracelet from back in Viet Nam mayhaps? I -still- wear them occasionally… Wifey said I should go back to it… as it’s part of me, and my time there. XWife was the one who started ’embarrassing me’ about them back in the day… “Not cool… wahwahwah” the usual shytte… anywho.
The added bonus if you will, in a warzone, in time of war, well, ONE of those bracelets, IF I cut it and unraveled it, has like 75 feet of skinned 550 cord in it… skinned as in no core. Normally it holds (of course) 550 pounds of weight… One line, complete with all seven lil-itty-bitty lines inside. However, the Filipinos take the core-lines out to make it flatter, to braid it tighter. The outer shell on it’s own is still capable of holding/pulling 250 pounds without the core. So, yeah, 75 feet of emergency cord? Good to go. And the Lanyard they wove me?
Either way, thats a lot of 550/250 cord.
Now, the lil box? ‘theoretically watertight’ Plastic card-credit-card-ID card/money carrier. Wrap your bills up, stash ’em behind the front facing ID, and good to go. The card you see in the pic above is the back side of the Sather Air Base Access card.
The card holder was like $5 at the PX… made for a much more handy thing that the original goongapouch. They -did- tend to break if you landed on them when hitting the dirt during incoming, and the plastic wasn’t the best BUT if’n you had good superglue, (Loctite Blue IMO) you were set as long as you didn’t lose any pieces. The hinge on the above one is on glue/fix #4 I believe, and is still operational.
Cool shit, blanked out my doxxables. Not that y’all don’t already know me amiright? In this case, I was shocked! I tell you shocked! to see I still had my Kuwaiti ID cards. Could have sworn them motherfuckers required me to turn in my slave-papers when I left… Go fucking figure Aye? Too may years, too many beers.
Top one? Kuwaiti Civil Identification Card… means I was a sponsored slave. No shit.
One below that? Kuwaiti Drivers License, no test given, other that to insure you ain’t fucking blind. No shit there part 2.
Far Right? Sather Air Base Baghdad Iraq. Now, THIS badge and the other ‘certs’ I got with it allowed me and lern’t me to be able to drive out onto active runways, and to hot-load cargo planes and a whooooooooooooole slew of ‘other shit’ that my various jobs required. You can -also- see I was a fat fucker in all three pics, about 100lbs more than I am currently. (BTW: 315 as of tonight.. Huzzah!)
So yeah, figured a bit of a trip down ye olde cobblestoned memory lane…. I need something to pass on to current GranBebe, and hopefully Spawn’s son/daughter, i.e. MY genetic heritage WHEN and IF… Let them see for themselves why Papi is such a fucked-in-the-head lunatic in his dotage Aye?
So, More Later I Remain The Intrepid Reporter