Tim O’Brien writes about both the physical objects they carry as well as their emotional burdens. The objects that these soldiers carry serve as a symbolism for what they are carrying in their hearts and minds. The soldiers carry items varying from pantyhose, medicine, tanning oil, and pictures. Jimmy Cross is an inexperienced sophomore in college, he signs up for the Reserve Officers Training Camp because his friends are doing the course. Jimmy Cross doesn’t want anything to do with the war or anything to do with being a leader. The item that Jimmy Cross carries with him are pictures of his classmate named Martha. American soldiers in Vietnam during the war carry many things, most of them from home. Lieutenant Jimmy Cross carries letters from a girl named Martha. The men in his platoon carry objects that revealed their personalities. Henry Dobbins  carries extra food. Ted Lavender carried tranquilizers and dope. Dave Jensen carries soap and a toothbrush. They all carry heavy helmets and boots. Kiowa carries a bible. Mitchell Sanders carries condoms, and Norman Bowker carries a diary. Rat Kiley carries comic books. Almost everyone carries photographs. Jimmy Cross carries two photographs of Martha. Jimmy Cross carries navigation tools and the responsibility of taking care of his soldiers. Rat Kiley carries medicine, painkillers, surgical tape, and other things that weigh in total about twenty pounds. Ted Lavender carries a great deal of ammunition. They all carry as much as they can, for entertainment and protection. Norman Bowker carries a thumb cut from a dead Vietnamese teenage soldier. Mitchell Sanders cut it off and gave it to him, saying he could see a moral in all this. Some things the men carry are universal, like a compress in case of fatal injuries and a two-pound poncho that can be used as a raincoat, groundsheet, or tent. Most of the men are common, low-ranking soldiers and carry a standard M-16 assault rifle and several magazines of ammunition. Several men carry grenade launchers. All men carry the figurative weight of memory and the literal weight of one another. They carried items to help wounded soldiers. O’Brien uses the list of physical objects that the soldiers carry to show the emotional burdens that these soldiers bear. The emotional burdens that the soldiers bear were intensified by their young age and inexperience. Most of the men who fought in Vietnam were in their late teens and early twenties. They carry M-60’s, M-79’s, CAR-15s, Chi-Coms, RPGs, and Bayonets. Lee Strunk carries a slingshot, Mitchell Sanders carries brass knuckles, and Kiowa carries his grandfather’s hatchet. They carry a 28-pound mine detector. Kiowa carries moccasins. Henry Dobbins carries his girlfriend’s stockings around his neck. They carried P-38 can openers, pocket knives, heat tabs, wristwatches, dog tags, mosquito repellent, chewing gum, candy, cigarettes, salt tablets, packets of Kool-Aid, lighters, matches, sewing kits, military payment certificates, c-rations, and two or three canteens of water. Together, all of these items weighed between fifteen and twenty pounds. Jensen carried a toothbrush, dental floss, and bars of soap. They carried steel helmets, jungle boots, fatigue jackets, trousers, steel-centered, nylon-covered flak jacket and a plastic poncho. Rat carried a satchel filled with morphine, plasma, malaria tablets, surgical tape and M;M’s. They carried M-14’s, Swedish Ks, grease guns, Simonov carbine and black market Uzis at various times throughout the book. They carried grenades. They carried wiring, detonators and battery powered clackers. The author uses the character’s as symbols as well.