Most interesting military "been there" item at home/office

Discussion in 'Off Topic' started by Capt MJ, Oct 14, 2015.

  1. Capt MJ

    Capt MJ Member

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    I need a mental break, and a discussion thread on a LinkedIn veteran mentoring group led me to this question, posed for fun and sea/air/war story enrichment:

    What is/are the most interesting, conversation-starting item(s) you have in your home or office from former or current military life? Military spouse/"brat" input welcome.

    Mine: ok, for serious moments, my retirement shadow box which has a 3" square piece of limestone from the shattered Pentagon face, a memory of getting out alive on 9/11. For fun, the photo of me under a Navy ship in dry dock, "holding up" the keel of the ship with two hands, Atlas-style. Not a new idea, but always good for a laugh. And, finally, an antique piece of female Navy rain gear, a hood called a havelock, which form-fitted over the combination cover. Truly hideous. Google "Navy women's havelock images."
     
    Last edited: Oct 14, 2015
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  2. Boozebin

    Boozebin Member

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    Mine would be what we call the "military wall" We have a small wall in the house that the only pictures allowed on the wall are the service dress picture we all get whether enlisted basic or at the academy.

    Currently on the wall are my two brother in law's (Marine enlisted and Army enlisted), my Air Force enlisted, and my DS's AFA pictures. If we have any more in the future they will go on that wall as well. We have it in our will that these pictures will get passed down to my DS so he can keep it going.
     
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  3. NavyHoops

    NavyHoops Moderator

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    Boozebin we have a similar at my Parent's house. It has my grandfathers, my uncle and myself. My grandfather was a Raider in WWII and I have few of his items including his dog tags, DD-214 (used to come in a nice leather engraved folder apparently), his medals. I have my other grandfather's shadow box (he was 30 year Army). I have an "I Love Me Wall" at home that includes a few photos of my closest friends I have lost, my basketball jersey, my MIDN shadowbox and Marine shadowbox. My most coveted items are the pictures of my friends.
     
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  4. Boozebin

    Boozebin Member

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    NavyHoops I had an uncle in the merchant marines but the only military related picture that my mom had got destroyed in storage. I have my cousins, uncles and aunts looking out for one so I can hang his up too. We also arrange the pictures by generation then age. Oldest generation on top and then age from left to right in each generation row.
     
  5. Pima

    Pima Parent

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    Our house has it all.

    1. Bullet kept every patch, scarf, coin and helmet visor from every operational assignment during his career. They were professionally framed. He also has the traditional shadow box with the flag flown over the Capitol on the day of his retirement and the ribbons, medals, etc.
    ~ Both are 24 X36. They are in one room. That room also has signed, numbered military lithos by Hume and Dietz. (yukon crap shoot and Call to Colors), both are also 24 x36
    ~ The office (2nd room) is what I would call the I love me room. It is filled with the traditional airframe photo, and the mat is signed by everyone in the squadron.
    2. We are AF, we paid to have his flight helmet painted (think air sprayed) with his callsign, and the two airframes he flew in his career.
    3. Our dining room is filled with old style maps of every state/country we were assigned. (CA, Idaho, England, NC, AK, KS, and VA). We jokingling call it the map room.
    4. The powder room has the cliche framed calligraphy prints...Military wife, I am an AF Brat and Service Member Prayer.
    5. My sitting room is Americana. WWII war bond posters, and the typical wood house you buy at the base craft fairs... established...with a star for every base we have ever been assigned to connecting at the bottom. Plus the Cats Meow village products (Leavenworth and Pentagon) scattered here and there.
    6. Bullet did CGSC at Leavenworth as an AF officer. st. Ignatious burnt down while we were there. I have 2 bricks from the building that were blesses by the Father Bob that I now use as bookends.

    The biggie for me as a spouse is Xmas time. We have what I call our White House xmas tree. It is a 2nd tree in the house. I have purchased every WH ornament since he was in ROTC. The tree is filled with only the WH ornaments and fine ornaments that I picked up tied to the assignment. IE I have a brass sled dog ornament for AK. For NC I have a biplane ornament.

    The best piece I ever saw was from a wife to her husband as a retirement gift. She took his flight jacket and framed it in a shadow box. The framer was able to do it in such a way that his blood chits were showing.
     
  6. AF6872

    AF6872 Member

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    I had a small shadow box in my office with ribbons. No one knew what it was. The kids have their own now, small but growing. They have some great Challenge Coins. White House XMass tree sounds great. I will tell them to look for ornaments from each station. Would make some great decorations we could hand down.
     
    Last edited: Oct 14, 2015
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  7. LineInTheSand

    LineInTheSand USCGA 2006

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    I guess I don't have much good stuff. I guess my ring is my favorite this… but come on, I don't think that counts. I have a pretty good number of coins, and many of them have stories behind them. Other than that, I have a Coast Guard ensign (a special Coast Guard flag on operational units) from my ship. We were mid-patrol and my guys were switching out the flags. Usually the flag was given to a departing officer, but at the time no one was departing, so I was able to lay claim to it.

    For the most part anything I had (with the exception of my coins, sword and flag) have been packed away. I figure, it's behind me now. Time to start new chapters.
     
  8. AF6872

    AF6872 Member

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    Daughter was presented by her Company NCO's with the Company Gideon in a presentation box on her last day as a Company Commander at PI. She didn't see it coming. They did request a new one. Probably damage destroyed for the old one.
     
  9. Capt MJ

    Capt MJ Member

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    I am SO enjoying this. Thank you for the responses that paint such great mental images.
    I am inspired to now do something with the box of name tags from every assignment, starting with my OCS Foxtrot Company one (bright red with fox head). Navy folks often have, in addition to the black name tag with last name, name tags in squadron/unit colors with small command seal insignia, some with nicknames. There was that "Attila the Hunnette" one given to me during an XO tour...and the "Angel of Death" one, but that's a sea story for another day.
    My brother-in-law, a retired Navy captain, has paneled their rec room bath with his wooden unit plaques - hung them like a jigsaw puzzle. Amazing how he has fitted them together. People spend longer than usual in there.
    Pride of place in main hallway of our house is the museum-quality framing I had done for the two commissioning pennants (long streaming flags) from my husband's two ship commands.
    And now I am thinking creatively about my Dad's WWII Navy dog tags, and my 4 maternal uncles' tags who were Navy battleship sailors, and mine and my husband's.

    Keep posting - all part of the rich tapestry of military life.
     
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  10. NavyHoops

    NavyHoops Moderator

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    I do have a few boxes of stuff that I have kept. I kept a few of my Midn uniforms and a few of my Marine uniforms. I do have tons of plaques, flags, etc. I have those all in boxes. I also remember being issued the "deck of cards" with everyone's faces in Iraq, kept a few of those. I also kept my notebooks from being there that has all my old patrol orders and stuff. I traveled around bases alot when I was there and 9 times out of 10 was the lone Marine and being a female I tended to stick out. I got alot of challenge coins. My ring is probably one of my most coveted items. I think its the memories and hard work that are associated with it that makes it so important to me.
     
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  11. AROTC Parent

    AROTC Parent Member

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    Capt MJ - This was a cathartic exercise.....thanks for the prompt.

    We too have some of the typical wall adornments in the basement but most are boxed up and put away including uniforms, awards from deceased Navy and Army parents and grandparents, and coins from various operations while on active duty. My husband still carries his Operation Steel Box/Golden Python/Lindwurm coin in his wallet 25 years later.

    Pictures and slides converted to DVD's from the time served are a great holiday event in our family too. Some of the best are Ft. Drum with the volumes of snow and camping, German castles and five years of Oktoberfest, an infant sleeping in a laundry basket or empty drawer during a PCS or when joint domicile was not possible with 'needs of the Army'.

    I did get a kick out of a box I found in the basement a few years back - all my small green notebooks from my time on active duty. It had notes about inspecting weapons systems across Germany, the Red Army Faction murder of a soldier I knew SPC Pimentel near the Rhein River, my time as a Lt when a Major General got locked in our Motor Pool in his train car not once but twice -even then I thought it was funny, a mandatory marriage counseling session with one of my 18 year old privates about to marry a 40 year old known German prostitute and our awesome company commander Major Forrester - he did not get married once Major Forrester called his parents so he could provide them the 'good news', the panic of 'mickey's' going off at Site 59, going through a deceased soldiers personal belongings to remove contraband before shipping them to mom and dad, riding the duty train from Frankfurt to Berlin to play tennis on the O' Club's awesome clay courts, testifying at a perverts courts martial, my first article 15 as a company commander -that was scary though it should not have been, death threats from a spouse abusing E4's husband, command inspections, visiting soldiers in the hospital, and making my advanced course instructors squirm when General Schalikashvili pulled me out of the audience to talk privately - I had briefed him numerous times as a LT and CPT in Germany but they did not know that. Yes I wrote about intentionally making them squirm in my small green notebook.

    Some of these were great memories, some sad, but interestingly none were bad memories. I guess I was lucky.

    The best one I ever saw, though not mine, was a 6'x4'x18" piece of the Berlin wall with graffiti and all in Virginia. That single Lt used up most of his available PCS HHG weight.
     
  12. bruno

    bruno Retired Staff Member

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    Hmm- good topic. Not exactly interesting memorabilia, but the stuff that has been dragged around forever with me - I have a couple of duffel bags full of pretty much an entire set of TA50, mostly because virtually every place I ever PCSed from seemed to have a CIF (Central Issue Facility) run by a truly cranky retired E6 who would reject your equipment if it had any signs of use at all. (Just try getting scorch marks off a Canteen cup, Red Georgia clay out of web gear etc... If the guy you are supposed to be turning in to is a flamer- you can be stuck for a very long time indeed- and your rank really doesn't matter unless maybe you are BG or above! :eek:) So over the years I bought pretty much every piece of field gear ever issued so I could turn it in new - and used my own stuff . My son is now in the 82d and is using my Large Alice Pack as apparently it rigs better and stands up better than the current issue Ruck, so at least some of that stuff still has some utility other than as a large lump in the basement! As far as all the "I Love me" plaques etc- they are all in a box somewhere.
     
    Last edited: Oct 14, 2015
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  13. cb7893

    cb7893 Member

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    Did she work for the STASI?

    Great memories!
     
  14. parentalunit2

    parentalunit2 Parent

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    USMA saber in the nice display box on the wall. “Why do you have a sword?”

    Framed USMA golf hole flag stolen the night before our wedding. It’s a long story…. :rolleyes:
     
    Last edited: Oct 14, 2015
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  15. Capt MJ

    Capt MJ Member

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    DH and I had to come to an agreement on unit plaques, because we could panel a room with 52 years AD between us. We hung all six of our command plaques, plus one favorite apiece. All other plaques in storage totes. Now, the jars of coins and bags of ball caps, military run t-shirts... Ack.

    All this means... We have mileage on us.
     
    Last edited: Oct 14, 2015
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  16. LongAgoPlebe

    LongAgoPlebe Member

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    I have an ancient blue rim, tattered and faded, with my last name and alpha number on the inside lower hem, a reminder of then the hardest thing I had ever done at that young tender age. It's just a crummy T-shirt, and it was just a year in my life at a place that I left, grateful but with no regrets. Now that I teach people that age, it reminds me that great, great things are possible for them, even if they are not obvious right now.

    Just a few years before my great-uncle died, he finally began telling limited stories about his time in WW II. First he let it drop that he was in Patton's 3rd Army. Then, when "Band of Brothers" came out, he mentioned he was in the 3rd Army between 14 August 1944 and 29 July 1945. He said this, then he looked at me, and I thought about it, and I said, Bastogne? Yes, he was at Bastogne. That's all he said about it.

    When he died in 2009 at 94, his wish was to be cremated. At the memorial service, his service photograph was displayed. I looked, then looked closely. His top decoration was a Bronze Star with two oak leaf clusters. I asked my great-aunt if she still had his decorations, and she handed me a small dessert-mint metal box - with the Bronze Star in there. I haven't been able to find his citations yet.
     
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  17. MemberLG

    MemberLG Member

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    Framed together - Ranger Challenge Tabe, Rotation About Fix Axis (RAFA) Tab, Recondo Badge, and US Marine Corps Marathon patch.
     
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  18. USMCGrunt

    USMCGrunt Member

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    hmmm... great thread. Very interesting to read. Some interesting ideas in there. Like everyone, I have lots of plaques that are in a box somewhere. I am pleased to have my father's dog tags and rank insignia. My sword hangs prominently in my office. The one item that has remained out and present for 30+ years is a wooden desk name plaque carved in Okinawa with the EGA and my rank pinned on it. No longer on a desk but on a shelf in my office.

    I have wanted to build a shadow box for years and this thread has inspired me again.
     
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  19. Capt MJ

    Capt MJ Member

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    After reading USMCgrunt's post, I realized I have something I have carted around and put in every work area, military or civilian, since my first job: a simple piece of brass scrap metal, about the size of a legal envelope, with EFFORT = RESULTS engraved on it. Apparently I said this a lot as an ensign. My tugboat sailors (I was the proud Division Officer for 4 YTB tugs and crews) made it for me as a farewell gift. I prop it up on a little easel. It's in a box right now, ready to go, as I am in full-court press job search mode right now. I was realigned out of my position at my old company, hence the need for my "mental break" rationale at the thread start. You all have delivered. Thank you. And, post 'em if you got 'em.
     
  20. Pima

    Pima Parent

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    This is why in our house it has overflowed into other rooms where it could fit into the decor.

    The only thing that we no longer have due to our kids is Bullets A3 bags. That is because our kids stole them when they went off to college. Our boys figured out very quickly that they work out to be a great laundry bag. Unfortunately for me, it holds so much that they basically would come home from school with it totally full. I would joke with them if they had any clean clothes left at school, and they always would say nope!

    One of my friends also did something unique for keepsakes which she only brings out for xmas. She purchased snow globes from every base they were stationed at during her DHs career.

    Also on my kids tree, we give ornaments every year to each kid to add to the tree. I go to cafe press every year now for our eldest son. They have military ornaments. Last year I gave him a ceramic disc ornament that had the C130 painted on it. The year before I got him metal pilot wings from there. Here is the link if anyone wants to do something like that for their kids.
    http://www.cafepress.com/+christmas-military+ornaments?page=5
     
    Last edited: Oct 15, 2015
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