All I Want For Christmas...

American soldiers may be the best equipped in the world, but you wouldn't know it from talking to them on the battlefields of Iraq. The typical soldier has spent $2,000 of his own money augmenting or replacing his military equipment to adapt to Iraqi conditions. That's especially true in National Guard and Reserve units, but even regular U.S. Army soldiers find themselves doing jobs they aren't equipped for. Standard-issue gear isn't up to keeping them sage from the sorts of guerilla attacks they most often experience: drive-by shootings, RPG ambushes and roadside bombs against convoys. Fortunately, nearly all soldiers have reliable postal and Internet service now. The result has been a mail-order shopping boom that threatens to make the term GI obsolete (originally from Government Issue). But a soldier's salary goes only so far. For families looking to send a little cheer, NEWSWEEK's correspondents have compiled a holiday wish list straight from soldiers in Iraq:

Join the Discussion