Let me just tell you first off that it is impossible for you to be as disappointed with this writeup as I was with the explosion proof flashlight.

This particular equipment issue list was something I had been waiting for for over a year. On this list was something I had wanted since joining - flight suits. Nomex pyjamas, basically. They are the ultimate of ultimates. The holiest of holies. They are the most coveted uniform item attainable by anyone who isn't special forces, because it means that you'll never be ironing again, you're going to look like a badass even if your job is 90% paperwork, and hey, they're fireproof resistant to 800 degrees Fahrenheit, even though your underwear probably is not. What is there to possibly not like?

There were Nomex jackets, winter and summer weight. Great, more stuff that I have to have Velcro sewn onto.

Some new Nomex gloves, some new leather gloves. A couple new pairs of boots. These things were nice, but not really necessary.

An A-3 bag, and a helmet bag. The helmet bag is nice - it's basically a big olive drab nylon purse, originally meant to carry an aviator's helmet, but what it ends up carrying is everything but a helmet. It's a purse for us big macho military guys, and nothing more.

Socks. Heh. New socks. Cool, I guess.

Headsets for use on the plane. Nice. This particular model runs for about a grand if you were to buy one out of pocket.

Explosion proof flashlight.

Hold it right there. Right. There. What does that say?

explosion proof flashlight QTY: 1

I'm laughing uncontrollably at this point and gesticulating wildly at that line on the issue letter. I'm sure there must be some mistake. What could this possibly mean? Is there some reason there should be an explosion proof flashlight? Shouldn't they save these things for EOD? Why isn't any of my other gear explosion proof? Is it someone's idea of "emergency equipment" so that if the plane blows up, I'll still be able to see in the dark if I happen to survive? I'm just picturing the testing that would have been done to get this certified by the government. An explosion proof flashlight. How many of them did they blow up before they got it right? Shouldn't it be "explosion resistant", like my flight suits are "fire resistant" and not "fire PROOF"?

I ran this entire thought process backwards and forwards, attempting to rationalize what I was seeing.

An airman in maintenance ruined it for me. Turns out they're incorrectly named - they aren't explosion proof. In his words, they are "explosion-causing proof". Something to do with the O-rings at each set of threads and a specially wired bulb, and non-static coating on the plastic of the body. There's a little stamp in the body of the flashlight that specifies what concentrations of what gasses it's been tested at to be safe.

Turns out it's just a dorky black and yellow flashlight with a weak bulb and a tendency to not turn on reliably.

The moment I was handed my explosion-causing proof flashlight was definitely within the top 10 most disappointing moments of my entire life.

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