There are many reasons to be checking your gear constantly to keep Marine Corps issued gear accountability. It is the United States Marine Infantryman’s responsibility to always have proper Marine Corps issued gear accountability at all times. Whenever you have a pause through your patrols, raids, or movements you always want to take a quick check to make sure that you have your Marine Corps issued gear as well as everything else that you or your team of Marines came with. It is your job to take responsibility and check yourself as well as your other Marines. Proper Marine Corps issued gear accountability can range from the most important pieces of Marine Corps issued gear such as your rifle all the way down to your small equipment like cleaning gear. You always want to have serialized Marine Corps issued gear such as your night vision goggles, rifle, PEC 16’s, and RCO’s, dummy corded together or to your body. If your Marine Corps issued gear is dummy corded to you, will have a lower chance of losing any of your gear or anything else you are carrying with you.
This will allow a Marine to be at ease even while moving or running with serialized gear, knowing that if it comes loose from the pouch or pocket you are carrying them in they will not come completely off your body. The reason you must take the accountability of your gear, serialized or not serialized, is simple, just put it into a scenario. Say that a Marine loses something small, like his cleaning gear for example. Cleaning gear is easily replaced and not really looked at as super important. But say it were dropped and lost, that Marine now has no way to clean his weapon without borrowing another Marines cleaning gear. No once his weapon gets dirty enough, he has no way to clean it. Then when he needs it most, he can no longer rely on it because it can now succumb to jams. But say you take it into a bigger picture, say that Marine loses a rifle, an M16 to be exact. The enemy, whoever at the time that may be, may have weapons that are not as accurate or advanced as ours.
Now the enemy can reach us from a further distance away, thus taking away the edge we had on them, and possibly Marines lives. All gear that we have, we have for a reason. If we wanted the enemy to have M16s instead of AK 47’s then we would probably give them to them. What about things that we don’t really think about what about “dead” batteries? Many cases have found that most of the IED’s that have been killing US and allied troops have been powered by batteries, that they dropped. Batteries are not exactly gear, but shows how big of an effect a little mistake can make. But you can’t just look out for yourself because it’s usually not the one who loses their equipment that gets killed or wounded; it’s the man to their left and right. Having poor gear retention is not always a mistake that can be stopped.
Gear could be lost in a firefight or raid where you’re doing everything at once, or taken and never given back. But those problems can usually be fixed, because of accountability. Just like a headcount, gear can be counted and eventually found. But that wastes time, and you can easily save that time by not losing or misplacing gear to the best if not better than your abilities. Although dummy cords are useful and easy to get and use, they are not the only means of retaining you gear. Slings work just as good and are often less annoying, and allow you to sling you rifle around your back. Having your rifle on your back keeps your hands free and your rifle retained.
Courtney from Study Moose