When I left the Army, I got rid of just about everything. I didn’t keep any uniforms, or the tons of “hoohah” gear I had accumulated over the years. I had about 2 1/2 duffel bags worth of stuff. Most of it I gave away to a friend’s son to “play army” with. I didn’t even keep a pair of jungle boots.
Oh, sure, I kept my dog tags, and a set of my medals, but anything camoflage went away. With one notable exception- my poncho liner.
The poncho liner is simply two sheets of thin nylon stitched over poly batting filler. But it is the most useful piece of equipment the Army has ever come up with. It was originally designed for the highlands of Vietnam. The idea was that you would use the ties in the corners to attach it to the grommets on a poncho and use that as a sleeping bag. Usually, though, it is used just as a blanket. I wasn’t surprised at all when googling for the image that a bunch of pictures came up captioned “woobie”. It pretty much IS a security blanket for soldiers.
You’d be hard pressed to find a soldier since Vietnam that hasn’t had one. And a goodly number of them are like me, keeping it and using it well into civilian life. I actaully have two of them. One is fairly new, maybe 15 years old. I acquired the other one back in the early 80s, years before I even joined the Army. It was fairly old then. I’m not sure if it went to Vietnam, but I suspect it was old enough. It is worn thin now. The pattern has faded, leaving it a light green overall. The repeated washings over the years have depleted the batting inside. It is translucent. But it is just the thing to wrap around your shoulders on a chilly evening.
I still sleep with my poncho liner. I have real linens and such on my bed. I just prefer the poncho liner. If it is warm, I’ll sleep on top of the covers with just it. If it’s cold, I’ll coocoon myself under the covers with it.
Just about the only time I don’t sleep with it is when family stays with me. Then there’s a fight over who gets to sleep with it.