I recently had a website visitor ask me “what is the best and cheapest way to replace your missing OCIE (Organizational Clothing and Individual Equipment) and TA-50? I thought that was a great question, so I wanted to take a moment to answer it.
Before we get started, let me provide the 30,000 foot overview. Every Soldier in the Army National Guard, Army and Army Reserves has personal gear and equipment, such as uniforms, helmets, field gear, ruck sacks, entrenching tools, etc. MOST of these items are LOANED to the Soldier while they are in the Army. That means when they leave the Army, retire, or do an interstate transfer, they will have to turn in the equipment back to the Army (via the Supply Sergeant) in order to clear the property book record.
There are a few items that are exceptions that don’t need to be turned in, such as uniforms, hats and anything that touches the skin. But a large percentage of the items must be turned back in.
If any equipment is missing, the Soldier will be expected to pay for it. Some of the missing items could be depreciated, based upon their age and product life cycle, so you might not have to pay the full, brand new replacement cost, but you will have to pay something.
As a responsible Soldier, it’s your job to safe-guard and maintain your equipment. Two or three times per year you should get a current print out of everything you are signed for from the Supply Sergeant and do your own inventory. The units will normally do an inventory once a year, but you should also do your own inventory a couple times each year, so you can ensure nothing is missing. It’s also important to inventory your personal gear anytime before or after you go to the field.
That being said, if you are missing equipment and need to replace it (OCIE and TA-50), I’ve found that the best place and cheapest place to buy it is right on eBay. I know that might come as a surprise to you, but you can find just about anything imaginable on eBay, and it’s priced to sell. If you can’t find what you are looking for on eBay, I suggest you check out your local surplus store. They have most items in stock, and at a pretty good price, even though eBay is normally cheaper.
If that option is not available for you, another good option is to do a quick internet search for the item you are looking for. Just visit mother Google and type in the stock number and then do a quick price comparison to find the best deal.
Before you purchase a replacement item, another thing to consider is that it might be in your best interest (enlisted especially) simply to pay the statement of charges for your missing equipment. If the depreciated price is cheaper than you can get it for on your own, it’s worth considering. On a side note, I don’t think Officers should EVER do a statement of charges for missing gear, because it can hurt your credibility and make you look irresponsible. Rather than pay the statement of charges, just replace the missing items on your own. That was some advice I received as a young LT and I believe it to be true. Senior NCOs might want to follow that advice too.
So there you have it. These are the best and cheapest places to replace your OCIE and TA-50. If you have any good ideas on how and where to replace your missing OCIE and TA-50, just leave a comment to share your thoughts. I look forward to hearing from you.