Course Tales: The Cursed Canteen

July 31st, 2003  
Mark Conley

Topic: Course Tales: The Cursed Canteen

Its just another item of military gear..Right?

One of the most common items that was lost out on the doctors training course was the common military canteen. That little green plastic jug seemed to be the hardest thing to strap down and keep in the load bearing gear the doctors wore. The worse part was, if they lost it, they had to pay for it at the end of the course. Now they only cost $2.50 back in the 80's, but you would think that they were paying hundreds each time they'd have to fork over the money. Of course, the quartermaster would give them the option of going back out and looking for it, and returning it so they wouldnt have to pay a fee. In that situation, it was simpler to go and steal a canteen from an unsuspecting victim, turn it in as your own, and make them pay for it. And the best source of supply seem to be the staff, which was always required to keep two on their belts.

I was always a constant source of canteens for the doctors, as I would always take off my gear when teaching, and didnt watch it and oh well, it was another $2.50 cents down the drain. I must have "lost" 15 or so the first year I was out there. That money started adding up. And by the begining of the second year, I was really starting to lose my temper about the whole situation.

One morning, it all came to a head. Sure enough, after teaching a class, one of my canteens had gone missing. Angry isnt a good word for how I felt: murder of the guilty wouldnt have satisfied my desire for justice right then. Back in the cadre section, I started cursing and yelling and saying things about the canteen thief that would have resulted in a dozen court martials if it had gone to fruitation.

off to the side was a 10 year Army vetran we liked to call "Padre". Padre was the most christian man I'd ever met in the military: he walked the walk with his talk. Seeing me so concerned and angry he came over to me. "I feel your pain" he said. Let me pray for you and that canteen"

Well, this kinda put me off key, sort a speak. It shut me up real quick too, as I normally never got the attention of "Padre" that often an all, so I dumbly just nodded my head, as if to give him the go ahead to do it.

I still remember what he said to this very day. He started off by asking for peace to come to me, and to take my anger away. And then he asked that the Lord curse the canteen taken from me. Specifically, to curse the man who had the canteen, that his life be ruined, his family sundered, his ground never to bear good things; in short, who ever had that canteen was in a lot of trouble. What ever happened, I did feel better, either from just talking about the loss, or the curse or what ever had happened, it was over and forgotten.

Right up to the time I got to my car, and found the canteen had slipped out of my LBE gear and had fallen to the back floorboard. Now Im not a very religious person at all: But for the next 2 1/2 years That canteen stayed on the back floor board of my car, untouched by me or anyone else. It was still there when I wrecked the car, and it was taken to the repair shop, when it mysteriously disapeared. Hope the mechanic liked it that got it.

I didnt mind paying the $2.50 at all.
August 1st, 2003  
Haha, looks like your POV got what it deserved, the canteen stealing son of a Peugot .
April 8th, 2004  

Topic: good story

good one! Although in my shop we've switched from the plastic canteens, to a new 3 liter camelback hydration system. I don't dare to think what would happen to anyone so bold to steal one of these bad boys. They run 90 bucks if you lose the initial issue, and each time you have to change the liner, it runs you 20 bucks. You don't have to change the liners all that often, maybe once every year or so... but the cleaning kits run 40 bucks. Cheaper to just buy the new liners than to clean the one that you already have, guys?
May 6th, 2004  
relly very funny
January 8th, 2007  
Good one!
January 8th, 2007  
Very nice!
January 22nd, 2007  
Team Infidel
good story. i remember that there was a $100 field loss everytime we went out to the field