I’ve always had a hard time resisting the urge to spend money on more Army gear. In my experience, the Army provides you everything you need to complete any given task. But there are so many things that you can buy that make completing that task easier, more comfortable, or just look better.
During my first enlistment, I loved to go to the ‘tactical’ shops off post and buy cool packs or field equipment. It was all unnecessary stuff. Coming back into the Army, I thought that the urge to spend money on dumb gear had been kicked. I figured it was just part of being young and in the Army. I even wore the old, buggy-looking original Wiley X’s that I had been issued in 2003 as my eye protection during OCS, much to the amusement of my peers who had never seen them.
Now that I have been back in for a few months, that urge to buy additional gear to make things a little easier/comfortable/sexier is coming back, and needs to be suppressed!
I just bought a CAC card reader and I use a Mac. I tried for about 30 minutes to get it to work last night and couldn’t solve the problem. I know it is possible to do and will take just an hour or two of getting the right information and patiently plugging away, but instantly I thought of buying a cheap Windows-based Netbook to be my “Army computer.” A $15 investment in a CAC card reader almost turned into a $350 investment in a new computer. The advice I would give to myself is to save my money and put in the work to just figure out how to get the CAC card reader to work with my Mac.
One of the observations I have made since being back in: most of the prior service Lieutenants choose to wear their Army issue boots. Most of the new Lieutenants choose to wear after market boots (which we were never allowed to wear when I was in). I’m not sure if it’s a comfort thing or if it is, as I suspect, a hardened resistance to blowing money on unnecessary Army stuff. I hope it is the latter.
So far I’m doing good. But it’s getting tougher. And I really want to get some new eye protection.