Gear accountability is one of my most important things I must do as a United States marine. Many things go into keeping track of your own military gear as well as personal gear. Cif gear for example. All of the gear that is issued to me I must make sure I have everything at all times, otherwise if I lose a piece of gear I must fill out a missing gear statement, get it signed off by my section head, the platoon sergeant, and my platoon officer. I always have to make sure that all my gear is clean before any kind of field op. I have miss placed gear before in the past because I didn’t keep track of it. Every day a marine loses a piece of gear, whether it is from a field op, moving barracks rooms, or when I am getting ready to go on annual leave.
When you first check into any unit, whether its recruit training, marine combat training, military occupational specialty, or your specific unit after all of your training is completed. Even then, as a marine in the fleet marine force, you have chances to go to school which train you more in depth of your mos. When there, they issue you the basic things you need for that kind of training environment. Like motor vehicle operators course, you are given everything that was issued to you in boot camp. Flak Kevlar, sapi plates, main pack, cold weather gear, an assault pack, and many other things.
Some of the gear that is issued to you has a serial number on it. That number is specifically issued to you, so that way when you turn everything back in after you reenlist, got out of the military, pcs, or possibly change to a different mos, division supply can track exactly what was issued to you, and the date when it was actually issued to you directly.
Like I said before, you even have to keep track of your personal gear. For example, anything you wear, or something that you buy from the store, you either have to make sure that you keep track of who uses it, or who you lend it to. Cammies for example, you always have to make sure that you always look squared away otherwise you have to go buy more stuff to keep everything together.
But the biggest issue in the Marine Corps is actual cif gear none of it is cheap at all. For example, if you lose even just one sapi plate=e, you write the missing gear statement, then you go to ipac to file the paper work. Once all that is done then however much it cost to replace that item you either pay out of your own pocket, or that money comes directly out of your pocket.
People say gear adrift is a gift. But actually gear adrift can cause everything written above, plus if someone know who actually took the gear, and then it becomes theft. And on top of losing gear or misplacing gear, you your self is charged, and can be njp’d for those actions.
In personal experiences that I have had myself and my two roommates had got put on a working party and when we left our barracks room we had left the door unlocked along with a couple of locks on our personal stuff like coffin racks or wall lockers. So when we got back from our working party we realized that we were missing gear and we were freaking out trying to find out what had happened to a bunch of our gear come to find out that we left stuff unlocked and our sergeants came by our room to see if we were back from our working party yet. Once they realized that we were still gone they decided to take some of our cif gear to try to teach us a lesson. That lesson made all of us is to be more careful about making sure that we lock everything up. Once we realized how much money all of the gear we left unsecured would have costed us is what really made us realize that we had to be a lot more responsible and make sure everything was always secured if we were not in our room.
The gas mask was one of the things that was taken and that alone would have costed about $1500. You can’t be just laying stuff around without someone watching it at all times. If you leave your rifle lying around when you are in a combat zone then there is a chance of someone grabbing it and possibly hurting or even killing a lot of your fellow marines. If you lose a piece of gear while you are in the field then the entire field op will stop doing what they are doing and you will all search for that missing piece of serialized gear. Losing a piece of gear could also be a direct violation of article 108 of the UCMJ. Violation of article 108 could possibly be resulted by a court martial and bad conduct discharge and confinement for a year. If you are not being responsible about gear accountability then that could potentially find its way back and make your higher ups look bad. Another reason that gear accountability is important is because all of the gear that you are issued is re issued to another marine after you turn it back in that is why it is also important that you do not lose any of you gear no matter how big or small that piece of gear might be.
If you lose enough gear then when you get court martial then you are actually spending more of the marine corps money and making them waste their time doing all of the paper work because you did not want to be accountable for your gear. another reason why the marine corps is so strict on accountability is that out of all of the branches of the military the marine corps has the smallest amount of money and does not have to money to go out and buy more gear that marines lost.
Gear accountability is not just important when you get to the fleet marine force but it is also important through marine corps recruit training, marine combat training and also through your military occupational specialty school because if you have lost a piece of gear through any part of that training and did not replace it then you will either have to pay for it or they will not issue your gear when you get to the fleet marine force unless you find a way to straighten everything out with the issue department from the previous place that you were at. Gear accountability is so important it is ridiculous I don’t think that anyone wants to have to pay the money for any gear that is lost because a lot of our gear can get very expensive. Such as just our sapi plates alone could cost up to about $2400.
This is all also a good reason why you should not let other marines use your gear because they could lose your gear and then you are the one that ends up having to pay for it because you were the one that was issued that gear and most of it is serialized so they will know if some of the gear that you are turning in was issued to you or someone else. Every single marine is issued their own gear and is responsible for keeping track or accountability for every single piece of gear whether they think that piece of gear is important or not. It is their gear they are responsible for making sure that they have it. No matter what a marine should not leave any part of their gear lying on the ground and ask someone to watch it. They need to either go put their gear away where it belongs and make sure that they secure it or they just need to take it with them wherever they go.
Even when you are in the field you need to be constantly checking to make sure that you still have all of your gear because some marines look at the field as a chance to go and see if they can steal extra gear for themselves or gear that they are missing or that one of their buddies is missing. Reasons like this is why gear accountability is so important for every marine in the entire Marine Corps. No matter what your billet or rank is you need to know where every single piece of your gear is at all times weather you need it at the time or not because you never know when you are actually going to need any of your gear or certain pieces.
If you are not keeping accountability then when it comes time to grab certain pieces of gear you will not know where it is exactly and you will waste more time looking for it when you might not even have it anymore. But you would not know that until that moment happens because you were not being accountable of every single piece of your gear. You need to be sure that you are constantly checking to make sure that you still have all of your serialized gear at all times as well. This essay explains why it is important to keep track of every single piece of gear whether it is a piece of serialized gear or not.