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Not sure where this thread best fits, but I wanted to provide an overview of Combat Zone Bring Backs in the modern era - GWOT, Iraq, and Afghanistan. There's seems to be a lot of confusion and misunderstanding of the issue. I even saw one recent post in the Sniper forum that said the scarcity of bring backs was due "to a change in the officer culture since the 90s" - Ha!

In reality, the regulations that govern such actions are fairly clear (although not always clearly executed). Bring backs are governed by CENTCOM Reg 600-10, which generally reflects other common firearm related regulations. Also, they fall into a few different categories:

1. Antiques. Like other firearms, antiques do not fall under the purview of the Gun Control Act of 1968, and the CENTCOM reg says they can be shipped back stateside. Now I never remember seeing antique stuff in Iraq, but there's a ton of it in Afghanistan (whether real or a Khyber Pass copy). So, when you acquire an antique weapon, you fill out an affidavit form on what it is, get that notarized (usually through the JAG), and then take it to the Customs office to get it inspected. Now at the Customs office, you might encounter a wide variance of what the antique laws and regs actually are - I would usually bring a print out of the CENTCOM reg, just to make sure everything's clear. Customs then stamps your forms, and then you mail it back home (unfortunately, the reg mandates that you can only mail it back via USPS, and not with your other personal stuff). The forms that accompany the antique weapon look like this:

Font Paper Paper product Handwriting Document

Handwriting Font Material property Parallel Paper


2. War Trophies. This is probably the most common type of item that includes demilled items from the Combat Zone. Again the emphasis is demilled - pretty much any military use item must be demilled to go back. During my last trip to Afghanistan, a very popular combat bring back was an AC-130 105mm shell. To go back though, you were required to drill out the primer in the back of the shell (as if "Joe" was going to go home and start reloading 105 shells in his garage - ha!). Here's what that looks like. Of note, the Sea Bees had that laser etching machine, and could make you some really cool stuff!

Sleeve Wood Grey Art Font

Musical instrument Font Gas Circle Metal

Handwriting Font Paper Paper product Document

Now I don't know everything about War Trophies, and have only brought back a few of these 105 shells. I was talking to the Customs guys though, and they said that you could bring back a modern weapon if it was properly demilled, which I understand to mean having everything welded up so that it's just really a hunk of metal. Again, I'm not the expert on this. I'll also note that the Customs guys are definitely on the lookout for other stuff, like human remains (that's disgusting!), termite infested wood, ivory and so on. Oh, War Trophies can go back in your personal stuff, so no need to pay additional shipping charges.

3. Modern Firearms (not automatics). So according to the CENTCOM reg and the Customs guys I talked with, you can import a modern firearms (say a Makarov, SKS, or Garand) if you get an ATF approved Form 6. The Customs guys very clearly said - "Yeah, if you have an approved form 6, we'll sign off on it." The problem is, that to my knowledge, the ATF has never approved a Form 6 from a Service Member. One Customs NCO was at the end of his 1 year deployment, and told me that he'd never seen or heard about a Form 6 coming back.

Okay, I'm not sure if the above covers everything (there is also the subject of bringing back stuff on the unit property book), but hopefully it'll clear up some of the "Barracks Lawyer" rumors.
 
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