Editor’s note: This article was first published on May 12, 2022.

In the back of every veteran’s closet, you’re likely to find some old uniforms, dusty caps, a stack of medical, training, and discharge records... maybe a few ribbons or medals. But these are just a few of the typical things that separated or retired service members keep with them. Other things, they’re stuck with forever.

So we compiled a list of the more non-traditional things that veterans carry for life.

1. An incessant need to roll socks

2. Bad knees

3. The misguided idea that ibuprofen and fresh socks will cure any ailment

4. Tinnitis. ZNNNNNNNNNG.

5. The ability to sleep anywhere

6. The plight of not being able to sleep at all

7. Old combat boots. They’re great for mowing the lawn or a trip to Home Depot.

8. Fear of tape tests

9. Issues with authority figures

10. Back pain

11. T-shirts from strange events and places they don’t remember going

12. A woobie that has seen better days.

13. A swearing problem that is FUBAR

14. A love/hate relationship with acronyms

15. Total disdain for PowerPoint

16. Scars from barracks shenanigans gone awry

17, A few ugly divorces

18. A truck they bought after gaining some sense and selling that Camaro they financed at 27% APR

19. Some weird strip club stories

20. Sleep apnea

21. Bad tattoos that seemed like a really good idea at the time

22. Boxy brown t-shirts that somehow have sweat stains in a different, more gross shade of brown

23. A deeply stained, never-before-washed coffee mug that they tell everyone is “seasoned”

Observation Post is the Military Times one-stop shop for all things off-duty. Stories may reflect author observations.

Sarah Sicard is a Senior Editor with Military Times. She previously served as the Digitial Editor of Military Times and the Army Times Editor. Other work can be found at National Defense Magazine, Task & Purpose, and Defense News.

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