This Memorial Day, as we honor the brave men and women who lost everything serving our country, let’s take some time to reflect on how the military has advanced our lives.
In addition to their great sacrifices, the U.S. military also created many consumer products for their soldiers that can benefit all of us.
According to National Defense Magazine, “The Pentagon’s fiscal year 2022 budget request, released May 28, calls for $112 billion for its research, development test and evaluation accounts. That would represent a $5.5 billion, or 5 percent, boost over the amount enacted for 2021. It is the largest RDT&E request in the history of the department.”
Our government pours billions into research and development for the military. This money is intended for military purposes, such as developing tools for survival in extreme conditions and living off-grid.
Does that sound familiar? For preppers, it should. These are the types of inventions that will be helpful during disasters and in everyday life. Keep reading to find out what they are.
#1 Super Glue
The military invented super glue during World War II, in 1942. The Eastman Kodak company accidentally created the super sticky product when they were looking for a product for plastic rifle sights. Unfortunately, it was too sticky for its intended use.
However, the substance was rediscovered a decade later, and the public has been using it ever since.
In addition to its many commercial uses, it was employed by surgeons in Vietnam as a wound sealer.
There are so many uses for super glue that I could write a book, but here are a few.
- Close a wound
- Patch ripped seams on clothing or tents
- As glue for building weapons (gluing sticks and rocks together)
- Repair gear
#2 Duct Tape
Duct tape was invented in the 1940s by Permacell to help soldiers keep their supplies dry. It was used to repel water, which is why it was originally called “duck tape.”
According to AZ Central, “Duct tape got its start during World War II when soldiers needed a better way to keep water from leaking into ammunition cases. Reportedly, the mother of two sailors came up with the idea of using a fabric tape that she had tested in the ammunition factory where she worked. […] The rest is history. Soldiers used the tape for everything from repairing Jeeps to firearms.”
Duct tape has proven its worth over and over since it was invented, including being used by astronauts on Apollo 13 to help devise air scrubbers, which kept them alive. Forbes has even named it a “must-have tool” and “the other greatest tool ever.”
This sturdy, cloth-backed water-repellant adhesive tape can do everything from repair furniture to help eliminate warts.
[See Also: 25 Ways to Use Duct Tape in an Emergency]
#3 Freeze-Dried Foods
The military initially used freeze dehydration in a way that may surprise you.
Freeze dehydration is a process that was developed to preserve battlefield blood products so that medics could treat soldiers in the field. However, after WWII, this process was no longer as useful. So the military looked for a new way to use the process, and they discovered it could be used for food products.
At first, the foods weren’t too tasty, but the military continued to work until they found a way to keep the water level low enough to avoid bacteria. That’s why today we can enjoy tasty and healthy freeze-dried foods.
My Patriot Supply proudly offers Freeze-Dried Food Products, such as chicken, to make it possible to enjoy real meat (even in an emergency) by simply adding water.
#4 Bug Spray
According to We Are The Mighty, “With the threat of malaria at large, soldiers stationed in the South Pacific needed a way to deter and kill mosquitoes. Scientists at the U.S. Department of Agriculture partnered with the Department of Defense in order to create an insecticide, and to find a way to disperse it effectively. Nicknamed as the ‘bug bomb,’ the scientists invented and patented the aerosol can in 1941, then filling them with mosquito repellant.”
The most obvious way a prepper would use bug spray is for protection from insect bites. However, that’s not all it can do.
You can also use bug spray as a weapon, releasing it into the eyes of an attacker. Additionally, it works as a fire accelerator.
Developed in 1953 by Rocket Chemical Company, WD-40 was intended to function as a rust-prevention solvent and degreaser for use in the aerospace industry for the Air Force.
WD stands for water displacement, and it was perfected on the 40th try, which explains its unusual name.
According to the WD-40 company website, “Convair, an aerospace contractor, first used WD-40 Multi-Use Product to protect the outer skin of the Atlas Missile from rust and corrosion. The product actually worked so well that several employees snuck some cans out of the plant to use at home.”
It has many uses, including:
- Silencing hinges
- Repelling bugs
- Creating a flame torch
- Removing adhesive
Read 28 Reasons Survivalists Need WD-40 for more ideas.
Developed for military use during World War II, walkie-talkies (or a two-way portable radio) made it easy for military personnel to communicate.
While cell phones seem to have replaced the walkie-talkies of yesterday, they can be extremely useful in survival situations. Should mobile networks go down, you will still be able to communicate using a walkie-talkie.
#7 Sanitary Napkins
Another military invention that was created for a different use is the sanitary napkin. During World War I, the absorbing material made from wood pulp, or cellucotton, was used as bandages.
However, Red Cross nurses recognized the versatility of the absorbent material and used them during their menstrual cycles. If there are females in your household, you need sanitary napkins.
But, even if you don’t have females in your home, they are useful for preppers. They can be used for their original intended purposes – as bandages. However, they can also be used as packing material to protect breakable items. They also come in handy as a fire starter.
#8 Canned Food
Canning was originally invented by the French for their armies to have food while on the battlefield, but it used a process involving wine bottles.
During World War I, the US military further developed the process it developed into the creation we are familiar with today – canned foods.
The process developed to the point that canned mixed spaghetti and meat (aka Chef Boyardee) were fed to the troops during World War II.
Canned foods are often a critical component of a prepper’s food supply. If you want canned food designed to last much longer than what you find at the grocery store, check out My Patriot Supply’s Bulk #10 Food Cans.
Shortly after World War II, the great space race began with the US sending satellites into space. As a result, a space-based radio navigation system was developed and used by the military to keep soldiers safe on the battlefield, map out locations, track planes, and more.
The technology continued to evolve, and in the 1960s the Global Positioning System was developed. The rest is history.
While we don’t want to be dependent on a tool that requires mobile technology, we must admit that GPS has proven helpful in many, many emergencies.
#10 Kleenex Tissue
Along with the sanitary napkins, Kleenex tissue was also invented during World War I.
It uses the same absorbent material, cellucotton, but was manufactured flatter and thinner. Kleenex was initially developed as a makeup remover, but people started using it to blow their noses.
There are countless uses for tissues – everything from sanitary purposes to fire starters.
Happy Memorial Day!
Preparedness Advisor, My Patriot Supply