I am an avid music enthusiast and enjoy what free time I have on deployment playing my guitar. It is an excellent stress reliever and has gotten me through four deployments.
On each of my previous deployments, I’ve shipped my guitars to the theater of operation in the connex (packing crate) and shipped them home in the same manner. However, as my current deployment comes to an end, I am being told the two guitars I brought over in a connex will have to be shipped back at personal cost ... about $80 per guitar.
The only explanation I have received is that guitars are considered household goods, which are prohibited from being shipped in the connex. Bikes have been prohibited as well, while folding chairs and basically anything that can fit in a duffle bag, ruck sack or footlocker are authorized.
Unable to find any substantive documentation on this issue in published orders or manuals, or from my chain of command, I turn to Stars and Stripes readers to point me in the proper direction. I also hope to inform the many soldiers who brought the aforementioned items of the complications they may encounter on their redeployment. This puts an undue burden on our soldiers that, in my opinion, is unjust and unnecessary.
Staff Sgt. Joshua M. SchmidtCamp Taji, Iraq