The “Conex” is a staple of military life and posts all over the world.
Typically called “shipping containers” in the civilian world, the specific military “Conex” stands for “Container Express” and was invented to efficiently ship military supplies during the Korean War. The “intermodal shipping container box” was finalized in late 1952, a bit late to make a major impact in Korea, but it played a huge role during the Vietnam War, and has been a regular part of the landscape at any military facility ever since.
“Conexes” (as they are typically pluralized) are used not just to ship items, but they also tend to collect at destination points where they remain, and get used for long-term outdoor storage. As you can imagine, once something goes into a Conex box, especially if it is packed towards the very front of the box away from the door, there is no expectation that the item will be needed any time soon. Things get placed inside, and pretty much left there for good.
Every once in a while someone at a Reserve or Guard unit gets motivated to clean out and/or inventory a Conex box, and a platoon’s worth of troops will be tasked to spend a Drill Weekend unloading an ancient Conex box and see what is insides. All sort of archaeological treasures can be found! Things that were important a couple years ago and couldn’t be found are now accounted for; tools that were written off and replaced are restored to use, and so on.
Sometimes you even find parts and supplies for things that are no longer in use. Old and obsolete technical manuals and field manuals are commonplace, as are old memories— like, finding “Private Kowalsky’s old smart book from Basic Training”, causing you to remember that “Private Kowalsky” retired a few months ago as a Sergeant First Class.
Sometimes you find things that were presumed lost or stolen, and someone got charged for it… but it was in the Conex all along! Whoops!
So always remember, before signing a statement of charges for lost or damaged goods, check all the Conex boxes. You’ll either find what you lost, find a replacement… or at least clean out all the Conex boxes and your chain of command will be grateful and just put you on extra duty instead. Like cleaning more Conex boxes.