“Yah, I’ll miss her. I named her Black Beauty,” says Specialist Gale Battles as he cradles his gun.

The Soldiers reclaiming the guns don’t have the same attachment. They identify them by another, less affectionate marker a serial number. It’s made more visible with white chalk. Soldiers pass it down the line and gently massage it into the metal.

“This is my second deployment,” says Staff Sergeant Jesse Ross. “After my first one, I would wake up in the middle of the night looking for my weapon… It’s like your wallet or your purse. When you leave the house, you know, most people feel empty without having their purse or their wallet.”

In another building Soldiers gladly hand over their gear. This is the Central Issuing Facility. Soldiers receive about 465 pounds of equipment when they’re deployed. When they demobilize, most of it is given back. Their ruck sacs are like magic hats. The gear flowing out of them seems never ending. The Soldiers sign off on it and it’s returned to the Department of Defense.

Source: Sonya Heitshusen for WHOTV.

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