Photo: Government Liquidations
The United States military goes through a lot of gear. A unit might deploy with one type of protective gear, and have a new model issued while in theatre.An artillery unit might have their mission changed to one that involves guarding a prison, requiring completely different equipment. In short, anything can happen, and a ton of materiel gets scrapped before it’s even broken in.
To get back some of the money that would otherwise be wasted, the military’s been turning to Government Liquidation, and has put more than $500 million back in the government coffers.
Some of the site’s offerings are a bit odd. If you have Food and Drug Administration certification, you can buy a sterilizer, currently going for $50. You can buy a 1988 Navistar truck, currently going for $150, if you fill out an End User Agreement and describe how you plan to use the vehicle. The agreement is intended to keep countries like Iran or North Korea from acquiring sensitive gear.
Liquidity Services, a contractor, runs the auction site. It also stores the equipment and disposes of whatever doesn’t sell. Buyers can go to physical locations to check out the available lots—at Fort Dix in New Jersey, a training stop for a number of reserve troops before they head overseas, they have a number of ammunition cans, air compressors, and a stationary bike.
Scrap metal is a huge draw to the site, with lots of anywhere between 4,000 to 100,000 pounds of metal currently going for $150. The metal comes from sources such as spent ammunition casings, office equipment, and power supplies.
And, of course, buyers can get uniforms and field gear, a.k.a., camping equipment. A lot of 15 cozy, 3-piece, modular sleeping bags is going for $330. Another lot with an assortment of cold weather clothing is up to $170 from an opening bid of $150.
For people who don’t quite need 15 sleeping bags, Government Liquidation links to Uncle Sam’s Retail Outlet. It isn’t an auction site, but it does sell issued gear, like goggles and duffel bags, close to or below the list price.
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