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RCT-7 Marines pack touch of home for Afghanistan

6 Aug 2009 | Cpl. Skyler Tooker

When Petty Officer 1st Class Rodney Bracey packs his sea bags for Afghanistan, there are two items that he can’t live without – his Net Book and external hard drive.

Marines add their own personal touch to the required gear when heading out on a deployment to Afghanistan. Some pack an iPod with their favorite music, while others bring books filled with pictures of loved ones to add a touch of home while in the mountains of Afghanistan.

Marines bring all sorts of additional gear that can help pass the time or give them a more comfortable stay while in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.

“It’s good to bring things that will keep you occupied,” said Petty Officer Bracey, religious programs specialist with 7th Marine Regiment. “When Marines stay occupied, it helps them keep their head in the game, focus on the mission and not worry about home while deployed.”

The 7th Marines conduct mechanized, combined-arms operations and other expeditionary operations in order to support theater engagement plans and contingency operations.

The regiment will be prepared to deploy within 48-hours of the receipt of an execute order as either the ground combat element for the 1st Marine Expeditionary Brigade or as a major subordinate element of the 1st Marine Division.

“A computer is the most common and used piece of personal gear when I was in Iraq,” said Lance Cpl. Patrick R. Campbell, who spent his first deployment with an infantry unit in Iraq.

“Marines don’t realize how much down time they have while overseas until they get there, and then Marines will wish they had brought something to keep them busy,” continued Campbell, 22, from Everett, Wash.

Some Marines go as far as bringing some kind of gaming system or order one while overseas to maintain their gaming skills, and have something to look forward to after a 16-hour work day.   

“The chaplain is trying to organize some kind of entertainment for those Marines who aren’t able to bring a personal computer or a Play Station Portable on the deployment,” said Bracey, a 39-year-old native of Danbury, Conn., who has enough movies to last the whole deployment without watching the same one twice.

Marines will be advised by their chain of command on what personal materials are acceptable and not acceptable to take prior to the deployment to Afghanistan.