It seems one of the most expedient weapons deployed personnel can have these days is a deck of cards. Yes, you read correctly. A common form of ephemera coming into the Memorial from those involved in recent conflicts like Iraq, are playing cards, which have been produced by Australia and the United States to reach beyond mere entertainment value into the realm of Intelligence.
Such cards assist Defence personnel in the recognition of threat weapons and key enemy combatants and their leaders. They are portable for carrying in the field and make good recreation tools for the downtime.
Some of the more well known sets include the Iraqi Most Wanted cards that depict former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein as the Ace of Spades. Part of a set of these are on display in the new Conflicts 1945 to today gallery.
Other interesting sets include:
a parody of George Lucas' Star Wars, Episode Two: Attack of the Clones, equated to US President George W. Bush's war in Iraq as Gulf Wars Episode Two: Clone of the Attack;
a set of patriotic cards from the Iraq conflict named "Heroes of War" include recognition cards of US officials and representatives of the US military;
and a set created by the Australian Defence Intelligence Organisation for the recognition of threat weapons in Iraq and Afghanistan.
These cards are a small part of the growing formed collections for such recent conflicts as Gulf War 1990-91, East Timor 1999-2001 and Iraq 2003, which have now been fully catalogued and have finding aids on the Memorial's website. Stay tuned for the completion of the Afghanistan Formed Collection.