The Marine Corps has adopted a system of serializing gear in order to keep records of where it's gear is issued. The units and individual Marines to whom this gear is issued are held accountable for maintaining them. Losing a piece of gear could have repercussions ranging from payment for lost property to legal action. In addition to these are other consequences.
There is a quote by Benjamin Franklin that reads, ‘time is money.’ In the armed services, a loss of time could mean a loss of life. When not in a combat environment, time spent looking for lost gear detracts from training. An improperly trained Marine in a combat situation could cost lives. Apart from a loss of training time, a Marine without the gear he was trained to use is not very useful. In the Rifleman’s Creed, there is a verse that states, ‘my rifle without me is useless; without my rifle, I am useless.’ This verse illustrates why it is important to know where one’s gear is at all times.
Aside from creating an ineffective Marine, lost gear can potentially corrupt a Marine’s character. It is a well known fact that Marines never lie, cheat, or steal. Equally infamous is the saying, ‘gear adrift is gear a-gift.’ A once lost, but now found piece of gear with value ranging from thousands to tens of thousands of dollars is tempting for any man. Hording or selling such gear would cause a moral dilemma for anyone. None-the-less, the recovered gear is government property. Not returning it to the proper authorities could result in legal action if caught.
In order to prevent the former, or any other, consequence of lost gear from occurring we must always keep accountability of our serialized gear. This involves always returning gear to its original resting place.
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