1SG Randy Taylor, U.S. Army (2002-2023)



The following Reflection represents 1SG Randy Taylor’s legacy of their military service from 2002 to 2023. If you are a Veteran, consider preserving a record of your own military service, including your memories and photographs, on Togetherweserved.com (TWS), the leading archive of living military history. The Service Reflections is an easy-to-complete self-interview, located on your TWS Military Service Page, which enables you to remember key people and events from your military service and the impact they made on your life.

What was your favorite piece of military equipment – firearm, apparel, vehicle, aircraft, boat, etc. – and why? What was your least favorite?:

The Mighty Woobie and the faded ACU. The mighty poncho liner or “woobie” as we called it has always been my most favorite piece of military equipment. It kept me warm in the field during patrol base operations, during deployments and even when lounging at the house. I always kept it towards the top of my rucksack, in my wet weather bag just under my spare socks, t-shirt and boots for easy access. I remember using it all the time even in warmer temperatures and often rolled it into a small burrito to function as a surprisingly decent pillow. It provided comfort in austere environments, and I believe I shared in this perception amongst my peers and leaders alike. Now that I reflect on it, there were many times a group of my peers would be huddled with woobies wrapped around our shoulders like cloaks, smoking and joking around the burn pit between missions in Iraq. We considered ourselves professional homeless bums, but we did so in a uniformed manner which always was our stance when criticized by my leadership. I still use my woobie to this day and have been for the past 22 years or so. I also enjoyed my field jacket liner as well; it was a defeated feeling I had turning that in, as well as the rest of my equipment to CIF as I was wrapping up my Army career to a close. When I reflect on it, I had so much sentimental value attached to this gear as it all served its purpose and accompanied me with all my shared hardships.

On the reverse side considering when the Army transitioned from Desert Camouflage Uniform (DCU) to the Army Combat Uniform (ACU) in April of 2005. I was initially excited for a fresh new digital look but after acquiring my first pair I was so thrown off from its light color scheme. It appeared as if every bit of dirt and oil was attracted to the fabric. The uniform would fade significantly after several washes, turning an almost pinkish hue around the reinforced fabric at the elbows and knees. This ACU introduced the zipper which would break if not properly cared for and the Velcro added a whole new layer of accountability as Velcro became more and more unbound from the uniform with use/ washing. Nametapes and shoulder patches frequently went missing as they fell off when wearing the IBA or brushing shoulders against other soldiers. I remember seeing so many patches and nametapes in the Motor pool, Barracks and around the installation. There were even stressful and embarrassing moments associated with loose Velcro, I can recall going a whole day without a nametape until I realized it was missing as I was washing my hands in front of the mirror in the bathroom before the end of the day close-out formation. I can say that the introduction of his uniform was quite possibly one of my least favorite uniforms I have owned during my tenure in the Army on Active Duty.

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