Today, that something was my military ID.
I usually wear my ID in a neck-wallet with my debit card and shot record, but today, I had it in my pants pocket. With Army aviators wearing two-piece flight suits, I was clad in the long-sleeved combat t-shirt and aviator pants. Since the vinyl of the wallet would have melted to my skin if I wore it under the t-shirt, I put it in my pocket, where it must have fallen out on preflight.
I first noticed this in the morning, when I reached into my laundry bag to recover my wallet from my pants. After padding down my pants, I began to panic.
Every military service man knows the feeling of what it's like to lose your military ID. It's your key to everything--you can't eat, buy toothpaste, or drive a car without it. Losing your ID cripples your life, utterly.
For the next 24 hours, I frantically retraced my steps. I tore apart my room, called people at other bases, and opened panels on the helicopter I had just flown to see if, maybe, it had fallen into the inner workings of the aircraft. Nothing.
Only after my third walk through the scorching desert flight line did I see, in a ditch some fifty feet from the aircraft, my neck wallet lying in the sand. After dropping it on preflight, I must have blown it around when I took off, and it lay to rest in the ditch. I breathed a sigh of relief that:
1.) No one with nefarious intentions had my ID card.
2.) I didn't drop it inside the inner workings of the aircraft during preflight, where it could cause some system to fail.
3.) Now I could eat real food, instead of chips and muffins that I had been stealing from a nearby unit (shhhhhh).