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View Full Version : Mil Surplus items, Gov prop. are they legal, can I get in trouble?


Rem1492
05-02-2007, 7:10 PM
In light of the recent case where a person was accused of having STOLEN government property I want to clear things up for you not in the military.

Not official, just my 2cents.

..here is part of my previous post revised and unabridged.

Is having military stuff illegal?
Just because you are military or civilian and have Beretta mags, a gortex parka or anything else at home doesn't mean you are dishonest and it was stolen.

On the note of "issue equipment." You sign a DD form that you are issued items and their serial#s if applicable, should you not return them you must pay for them. (Training units that have a lot of students routinely get flashlights and equipment lost weekly so its important for them to be replaced, even at personal cost. Actual frontline units have more funds and as such see losses as the cost of business. )
Training wise. We lose kits, knives etc...... so we run over to surplusRus and buy DRMO'd stuff and turn that in just the same. Off the hook, and the unit has equipment for the next class to train with (and lose).

Issue equipment like our PNVS-9s or weapons are tracked more carefully. When you lose a 10,000$ goggle or a gun, people notice. Items like boots, jackets or rusty magazines are petty.

(One case I saw personally was of a pair of NVGs missing. Crewmember left them on sidewalk outside the Sq door at night while he went to another door to unlock the front, when he returned he thought another pilot took his NVGs in for him, in reality somebody (military) stole them, tried to sell them on Ebay, dumb, and got arrested for it all within a months time).

That being said, if you steal NVGs don't sell them on Ebay and if somebody offers you NVGs, make sure they aren't the new current cats-meow (PNVS-9s or 7s) and appear to not work 100%. If they aren't marked or somewhat broken, at least make sure they aren't stolen verbally and are instead legitimately bought from ITT night vision or DRMO.

The Army is big on turning things in because it DRMO's its stuff often for accountability to discourage outright theft and misuse of unit funds. The Air Force DRMO's no personal equipment. If you are issued a goretex jacket and you are getting out, its yours, if you want to sell it to SurplusJOE, you can. The Air Force determined it cost more than the parka itself to log it, process it, DRMO it and then sell it to JOEsurplus.

We DRMO a lot of gas masks and chem gear. Why? because there are a lot of bad seals and parts, its easier hours wise to buy a whole new mask than to put new gaskets, test, uninstall, retest etc.........then we risk having a mask in combat that is "kind of" up to specs. Same goes with chem suits, once they are opened they are good for a few days max. If we accidentally tear a bag or open one suit out of a batch to test it, it must be thrown out, DRMO'd or turned into a set of charcoal beach towels. In the course of deploying, redeploying and going to Iraq for annual beach vacations, we do rip a lot of gear and lose stuff. We have a pile of trashed chem suits for our gas mask chamber but its a big pile and anything we don't have room for gets tossed.

There are a "LOT" of sea containers for OIF/OEF (big things on cargo ships in dockyard) that are missing as of 2 yrs ago when I last checked. Thats a lot of gear and parts that never show up to the right destination. You do the math on equipment lost, misplaced or mislabeled. It is just part of a units budget. If you really need your gear, don't put it in a conex.

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To clear things up, just because it says "Gov Property" does not mean it is still government property. You cannot be arrested for having this, or in CA you might, but it won't stick. If an item is marked DRMO (defense reutilization , recycling) then it is basically old military stuff that other agencies can use or GIjoe surplus can buy at a cheap cheap rate.

What if its not marked DRMO or TRAINING?

I have some Repro WWII gear that says "property US GOV" but was made in Hong Kong, I'd hate to get somebody accusing me of stealing a 1945 jacket. :)
Not everything is trashed or marked "DRMO" if it goes through DRMO or out our doors.

My unit has gotten DRMO'd special ops equipment that other units see as obsolete, (gear, holsters, vests) but our unit can happily use due to our low funds. Likewise we got rid of our 1960's era M16 pouches, webgear, helmets and even the OD green old school flak vests to the civil air patrol (AA gunnery batallion apparently) because DRMO did not want to waste time with it. Though sometimes its easier to just tell members to take the stuff home, throw it away or burn it than to DRMO it. (Last I checked all our stuff in Saigon was never officially DRMO'd)

For a unit to DRMO something and get credit it must show that it can't use it or it is beyond repair or too costly to repair. Would you want to the the Supply Sgt doing this paperwork? No, so most people slash a hole or throw the thing against a wall to visibly destroy it, there done, now DRMO it, its damaged, period. Now your unit gets new ones. :) I personally on the other hand, when doing this, do not damage the item but simply mark in pen, "DRMO" so some wise guy does not try to use said G-suit or helmet for actual use but its still in good condition for training.

If you want to get computer screens, beds, 1000 30cal ammo cans, just go sign up at the local base DRMO auction and you might get them for literally $10. Parachutes, equipment that is brand new in foil wrap but isn't the current NSN#, its all available at dirt cheap prices. Want a pile of M-16 mags with small dents in them that jam? they are probably DRMO'd, been thinking about a new inverter for that APN-59 radar? Sitting on a shelf waiting for ya :) http://www.drms.dla.mil/

If you are a gov or non-profit org you can also get stuff so check into it.

383green
05-02-2007, 7:53 PM
Thanks for chipping in on this topic. I have one correction: Joe Civilian doesn't get to buy straight from DRMS any more. Now he has to go through Government Liquidation (http://www.govliquidation.com/).

I've bought things both ways; my first 2.5-ton truck (http://www.nf6x.net/greentruck/truck1/truck1.html) came from a DRMS auction while my latest 2.5-ton truck (http://www.nf6x.net/greentruck/truck6/truck6.html) came from a GL auction. And I bought not one, but five pallets of ammo cans from GL. :p I could say more about dealing with GL, but it would just show up as asterisks here. :cool:

Fjold
05-02-2007, 8:09 PM
And the burden of proof is on the prosecution to prove that the specific items are stolen. If they are available for sale anywhere to the general public then it's difficult to prove unless the item is serial numbered.

SemiAutoSam
05-02-2007, 8:12 PM
A lot of DROM's send their used military goods to GL but not all of them do there are still DRMO's that have the same auctions.

I go to them on occasion to see whats for sale and buy vehicles and other junk every so often. My favorite was the black guy that did the auctions at rough and ready Island (Stockton) and he also did the auctions at sierra DRMO.



Thanks for chipping in on this topic. I have one correction: Joe Civilian doesn't get to buy straight from DRMS any more. Now he has to go through Government Liquidation (http://www.govliquidation.com/).

I've bought things both ways; my first 2.5-ton truck (http://www.nf6x.net/greentruck/truck1/truck1.html) came from a DRMS auction while my latest 2.5-ton truck (http://www.nf6x.net/greentruck/truck6/truck6.html) came from a GL auction. And I bought not one, but five pallets of ammo cans from GL. :p I could say more about dealing with GL, but it would just show up as asterisks here. :cool:

383green
05-02-2007, 8:15 PM
Interesting. I didn't think that the DRMOs had the option to do that any more. Are there any SoCal DRMOs that still auction direct to the civvy public?

SemiAutoSam
05-02-2007, 8:20 PM
Yes there are a few I will talk with my class 3 associates in Nevada tomorrow and let you know which ones are still operating down your way.

Which countries are you interested in ?

Interesting. I didn't think that the DRMOs had the option to do that any more. Are there any SoCal DRMOs that still auction direct to the civvy public?