Despite our better natures, it seems that war is Universal in its scope and tragedy. There are good wars, bad wars, and needless wars, but all of them have heroes fighting in the trenches.
Memorial Day is a national day of remembrance aimed at honoring the sacrifice of those who gave their lives fighting for the US Armed Forces. The current incarnation was started after the US Civil War.
Although the official “founder” was a distinguished union officer (General John A. Logan), celebrating fallen heroes isn’t a new practice. Confederate women used to gather to decorate graves and honor dead soldiers even before the war was over.
Also, the practice goes back to ancient times, when cultures from across the world held Holidays in remembrance of fallen warriors.
Keeping with that tradition, let us honor not only the fighting itself but the tenacity required to live in adverse battlefield conditions. Every major war has a disease as its antagonist, regardless of the war in question. Even modern wars can see thousands dead from disease.
Soldiers cannot afford to skip a cleaning and maintenance day. Exposure and wear and tear threaten everything, even your own body. And a gallon of sanitizer isn’t a short car ride away. Trenches, bases, and outposts have to do a lot with what they have.
Also, feel free to check our other specials! That being said, let’s take a look at some field hygiene tips.
1. Take care of your feet:
Your first deployment is an exciting and stressful time. Proper foot hygiene will be the last thing on your mind, considering the circumstance. However, it is essential. Soldier’s feet are usually the first casualty of war.
You will do a lot of marching and standing. Even if you have the discipline to power through blisters, it will needlessly sap your morale and energy.
Before deployment, try to cut your toenails and file them down. Avoid cutting the corners, as they can become ingrown nails when they grow back. This practice removes the issues of toenails breaking or snagging.
Other good practices would be to rub your feet with foot powder every sock change. Try and wear them inside-out. The stitching line can do some damage after it rubs against the same spot a few thousand times.
As you march, certain areas of the feet will have some soar spots. Left alone, they will degenerate into blisters. As soon as you begin to feel these areas, use medical tape to cover them up.
The tape will protect the hotspot from further blister-inducing friction.
2. Baby wipes are your friend:
Baby wipes are some of the most versatile and valuable items that you can carry. Yet, the packs are quite voluminous, so do not abuse them. You can’t afford to carry many of them.
Wipes are essential for intimate hygiene, especially for female personnel. It would be best if you aimed to buy unscented, non-alcohol wipes as they are mild for the skin and do not promote bacterial growth.
3. A shortlist of essentials:
Finally, let’s mention the primary items that you need to carry on the field. Given that you are not on-base, you only have to worry about cleaning yourself and not your quarters.
Basically, every soldier should have shaving razors (for men), floss, a capped toothbrush, a small soap dish with soap, baby wipes, shaving cream, basic medication, rubbing alcohol, and some foot powder.
Another essential is to take baths often. The Romans discovered that bathing was not only necessary for health but also a great morale boost.
In the barracks, cleaning supplies will most likely be provided, so you don’t have to worry about those. Just don’t mix ammonia with bleach and you’re fine.