Skip to comments.Weight of Combat Gear Is Taking Toll
Posted on 01/31/2009 9:44:36 PM PST by Flavius
Carrying heavy combat loads is taking a quiet but serious toll on troops deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan, contributing to injuries that are sidelining them in growing numbers, according to senior military and defense officials.
Rising concern over the muscle and bone injuries -- as well as the hindrance caused by the cumbersome gear as troops maneuver in Afghanistan's mountains -- prompted Army and Marine Corps leaders and commanders to launch initiatives last month that will introduce lighter equipment for some U.S. troops.
As the military prepares to significantly increase the number of troops in Afghanistan -- including sending as many as 20,000 more Marines -- fielding a new, lighter vest and helmet is a top priority, Marine Corps Commandant Gen. James Conway said recently. "We are going to have to lighten our load," he said, after inspecting possible designs during a visit to the Quantico Marine base.
(Excerpt) Read more at washingtonpost.com ...
The term “Grunt” was probably coined by a GI with first hand experience.
My brother has had to have neck surgery to replace a disk that was likely destroyed by many many miles off-road with a helmet weighing far too much.
This is one of the hidden costs to Reservists and National Guardsmen...the injuries that don’t show up til later and can’t be proven, but are pretty clearly from these situations.
Wearing a very heavy helmet in a HMMWV bouncing up and down off-road is like having your head pushed down into your neck—very hard—repeatedly. The compression of the neck is very bad.
I say "what?" a lot.
Yes, small injuries over time lead to bad outcomes. Both of my kids have military related injuries that affect their lives. I'd listen to them whine about it, but I don't hear so well myself.
It’s tough on the body, that’s kinda what you sign up for when you enlist. I’ve got aches and pains associated with my time in the USMCR, but I hurt with fond memories of serving my country with my brothers in arms.
Also they will also be willing and able to carry the heavy gear they need to do their job.
It is great that all our problems were fixed a few weeks ago. Isn't it?
Look, Flavius; troops back in our day were inured to all conditions wearing and using what they could skim off the resident populations and environment. WWII saw little guys packing 80 plus pounds if they were part of teams supporting one large weapon. They had in common Victory or never returning home. Huge motivator.
Now this CIC is coming in demotivating the grunts declaring failure after a slogged-for victory won through their blood, sweat and efforts - actually winning hearts, minds and trust at the cost of too many American lives. Dirtbag In Chief would never serve and our troops smell that odor that can never be washed off. His proposal for a personal corp of Brownshirts also raises alarms.
Like we wouldn’t cut his non-trained thugs and Birkenstock idealists-turned-tools off at their knees. East and Left Coast fears the Middle for good reason.
And so long as men can sneak up on a machine and place a sticky bomb they are not obsolete.
“....I was referring to extensive hearing loss from jet engines.
I say “what?” a lot....”
Me too, the VA says it is congenital. I say I wasn’t born on the tarmac next to an F-4D.
So you're fine with our troops needing delicate surgery because of equipment issues? Wow, OBL has it made...just sit back and watch your enemy spend his way into a depression while you just watch his soldiers getting knocked hors de combat without you lifting a muscle!
I’m a grand total of about 125 lbs, and there were numerous occasions, as a Seabee and a crew served weapons team member (.50 Cal) that I had to cart around nearly 100lbs, almost all day long.
The thing that bothered me the most was that damned Kevlar helmet. I never could adjust it correctly and it almost left me with a bald spot. I don’t miss those days, but I sure miss those Seabees.
Part of this is a correction of cowardly decision-making from leftover Clinton-era folks. Whenever a protection scheme was proposed, nobody would dare to be the one seen to be acting against “keeping the troops safe”...so, for example, the HMMWVs were turned into terribly top-heavy piss-poor substitutes for tanks.
It is wise that they are going back to re-examine some of the ridiculous stuff that was implemented.
“That takes a toll on you, because you have to maintain your center of gravity wearing all that stuff and doing your job,” said Abdullah, of Miami. He wore a Kevlar helmet, body armor with four plates, a throat and groin protector, and shoulder pads, while carrying 10 pounds of ammunition, a rifle, a flashlight and other gear.”
WOW!,,,10 Whole pounds of AMMO! And that heavy ol’M-16?
Mite be time for MO’People in the Military,,,
Why not put their heavy backpacks on individual two-wheeled towing carts? That’ll take the weight off their backs.
The “Don’t ask, don’t tell” policy led me to foolishly leave the service. Being forced to bunk up with a flaming homo in Germany had a lot to do with that. Ick! Sorry SOB would come in at early morning hours bragging about the money he took off perverted Germans.
Ironically the best soldier I served with was a lesbian. She earned my respect by outperforming everyone at everything. As that’s what soldiering is all about I hope she attained her goals. That she hooked up with me as ‘second best’ was an honor in an outfit that had Rangers and Pathfinders.
No, perverts; it was a close thing but never happened.
Why not put their heavy backpacks on individual two-wheeled towing carts? Thatll take the weight off their backs.
This is a joke right??
Ya have to admit, it was funny.
Although they are very keenly power oriented, the worst imaginable military personnel I have ever seen or served around were homosexual. They were power oriented instead of freedom oriented. They associated freedom with criminality and mastered the ability to deceive to advance their personal agendas while hardening their hearts to respecting the integrity of authority.
As long as they advancing in a worldly fashion, homosecuals might appear no different than any other person, but when they lose, they have mastered how to perfomr criminal activity without a conscience and will perform some of the most heinous human acts imaginable.
They are the worst type of person to grant any authority.
For lightness with strength, go to the pro bicycle industry. Cycling enthusiasts shave grams (28 grams = 1 ounce) off their equipment, whether it’s worn or on the bike, because they are all the horsepower they have (lowering weight = raising power).
Titanium and carbon fiber are the two main materials that do the job. They aren’t as expensive as they used to be. When the Soviet Union collapsed, much titanium flooded the market and drastically reduced its cost. Manufacturing a lot with carbon fiber has expanded enough to bring down the cost.
I hear you. I have some loss from my time working around wind tunnels -- and there I learned about sound so intense it can render you unconscious in seconds.
“Ironically the best soldier I served with was a lesbian. She earned my respect by outperforming everyone at everything. As thats what soldiering is all about I hope she attained her goals. That she hooked up with me as second best was an honor in an outfit that had Rangers and Pathfinders.”
Personally in my long life I never saw that woman that could do everything better than a man, and I wouldn’t know where to find her now, not in the biker bars, not in the fire department, and not in the military.
What kind of unit were you in that had Rangers, Pathfinders, and women?
The newer MICH isn’t heavy. Granted, I certainly wouldn’t complain about a lighter helmet, but the MICH was a vast improvement over the old K-pot.
The body armor MUST be lightened. It just has to, period. It certainly has saved a LOT of lives, and I understand that (thankfully not from first-hand experience), but it weighs a ton, it slows you down, and it traps the heat real well.
In this age of nanotech, I can’t believe there’s not a better way.
Carrying 3 days worth of C-Rats on top of your 'basic' load was no picnic.
In spite of ones best efforts to stay hydrated under some conditions that became almost impossible.
Oh, don’t get me wrong, what we have now is light years beyond what was issued in the “Old Days,” but make no mistake—there is definitely a LOT of room for improvement!
Some days I do miss my ALICE pack, though. MOLLE gear is pretty cool, but the old ALICE pack was kind of nice... However, I wouldn’t give up my MICH for all the tea in China. That is one of the greatest improvements in military gear since the rifle. Small, light, well padded, well ventilated, secure strapped, easy to remove and don...the MICH does it all!
The woman I spoke of spoke of may have been genetically unique (upper body strength enabled her to do as many push ups as a man). It happens. Regardless, I would rather have her watching my back than any of the National Guard I ETSd with.
What unit had such a diverse membership? One that lost some personnel in Europe due to unusual “training accidents” during the Reagan era.
That is another weird post that doesn’t make any sense, why not just tell me the unit that had rangers, pathfinders, and women serving together, and what “ unusual training accidents during the Reagan era”?
Which unit was it?