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#11005 - 02/20/11 05:13 PM Unbelievable info on military weight carried
Ken Offline


Registered: 10/29/09
Posts: 742
Loc: Los Angeles
Weight of War: Gear that protects troops also injures them

A few excerpts:

"In 2003, Col. Charles Dean, a military-equipment expert, formed a seven-man team to conduct a detailed study of weight worn in the combat zones of eastern Afghanistan

The team stayed in Afghanistan for three months, collecting data from more than 750 soldiers with a range of different jobs.

Back in the United States, Dean said "jaws dropped," when he disclosed his findings to Army leaders.

When soldiers headed out on extended foot patrols, their average load ranged from 87 pounds to 127 pounds. When they came under attack and dropped their rucksacks, most of their fighting loads still exceeded 60 pounds.

The Army isn't alone in its struggle.

A 2007 study by a Navy research-advisory committee found Marines typically have loads from 97 to 135 pounds."

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#11009 - 02/21/11 03:16 AM Re: Unbelievable info on military weight carried [Re: Ken]
saltydog Offline


Registered: 02/03/11
Posts: 1559
Loc: Valley Ford CA!!!!
Not surprising. In fact if anything the pack weights may be a little lighter than reality. I understand that one of the MOLLE packs favored by guys that like to carry a lot of heavy rounds is the Kelty Eagle 7850. Yep the name is in cubic inches, not CCs. THis is one monster pack (empty weighs 11 pounds) with pockets for all that ultralight military stuff like radios and mortars and MREs.
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#11010 - 02/21/11 04:11 AM Re: Unbelievable info on military weight carried [Re: saltydog]
Bulldog34 Offline


Registered: 11/12/09
Posts: 1254
Loc: Atlanta
Due to a close business relationship I have with the USMC 4th Recon Battalion here, I get to "play" with them from time to time - the occasional Blackhawk flight, hi-tech weapons simulation training (really fun!), C-130 trips to other bases, and the like. As of 3-4 weeks ago, I can attest that those pack weights are absolutely accurate. Being Recon Marines, of course, they just shrug when I flip out over the cumulative weight of their gear. They have to be very careful how they distribute the load between their frontal packs and back packs so that their balance isn't dramatically impaired.

And a number of these Recon guys tend to be smaller than your average jarhead Marine, so in some cases they're hauling as much as 85% of their body weight - often in brutal temps and conditions. I've tried to sell the unit's Major on Steve C's glorified grocery-sack pack for ultra-lighters, but he's having none of it smile

The kicker, to me, is when they do airborne drills. They have all of that gear's weight added to their own at the landing, not to mention even more weight for oxygen equipment when they drop from 12K' or above. Advil is very popular with the Recon guys.

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#11011 - 02/21/11 04:16 AM Re: Unbelievable info on military weight carried [Re: Bulldog34]
wagga Offline


Registered: 10/07/09
Posts: 2243
Loc: Humbug Reach (Pop. 3)
Advil = Ibuprofen = Vitamin I.
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#11012 - 02/21/11 06:09 AM Re: Unbelievable info on military weight carried [Re: Bulldog34]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7590
Loc: Fresno, CA
> I've tried to sell the unit's Major on Steve C's glorified grocery-sack pack for ultra-lighters, but he's having none of it

My glorified grocery sack pack would be shredded first time they hit the ground!

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#11013 - 02/21/11 06:29 AM Re: Unbelievable info on military weight carried [Re: Steve C]
Fishmonger Offline


Registered: 01/07/10
Posts: 1029
Loc: Madison, WI
thing is, compared to the stuff I had to carry in the German military in the 1980s this is actually progress. The weight isn't much higher, but at least they now have hip belts and frames in the packs - that was unheard of in 1983. GoreTex? LOL - who's gonna pay for that new fangled stuff? Everything was pretty much 1950s technology and had to serve the primary objective to last for multiple soldier generations, not be functional or comfortable.

For example, to not freeze to death, we had to bring our own down sleeping bags to stuff inside the useless rubberized army bags when in winter training, but anything that was visible to superiors had to be standard issue (and with that inadequate at best - cotton everything, leather boots constantly wet. Trench foot, frostbite, you name it - all in "training" conditions).

Not saying things are great now, but there actually has been some progress. One thing we didn't carry then was body armor, except for a good classic steel helmet. Somehow I think I would want to have that on me, no matter how heavy.
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#11015 - 02/21/11 08:46 AM Re: Unbelievable info on military weight carried [Re: Fishmonger]
Harvey Lankford Offline


Registered: 11/10/09
Posts: 1017
Loc: Richmond, Virginia
Friend of mine is ex-Army (with whom I climbed Whitney MR in 2006). He could not believe it when I said he would have great difficulty carrying a 100lb pack at high altitude.

No, we did not have that much on the MR, but the altitude effect humbled him. On a later trip, with proper acclimatization this time, he did go to 23,000ft on the Lhotse Face, so he really is a tough guy. Thin air is an equalizer. Harvey

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#11021 - 02/21/11 02:41 PM Re: Unbelievable info on military weight carried [Re: Harvey Lankford]
Ken Offline


Registered: 10/29/09
Posts: 742
Loc: Los Angeles
I can't help but think that this is a flawed strategy.

1. Destroying your soldiers is not particularly smart.
2. I don't care who you are, you cannot move as fast, nor as far, carrying 100 lbs as 50 lbs.
3. Chronic exhaustion has many side effects. They wonder why the suicide rate is so high without explanation? They wonder why there is so much PTSD? They wonder why our veterans end up hooked on drugs and homeless, unable to carry on relationships?

The body is NOT designed to do this, and will break down under this strain. Of course, military guys will never admit it.

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#11022 - 02/21/11 03:14 PM Re: Unbelievable info on military weight carried [Re: Ken]
+ @ti2d Offline


Registered: 10/22/09
Posts: 831
Loc: Oh Cursed, USA
Originally Posted By: Ken
Weight of War: Gear that protects troops also injures them

A few excerpts:

"In 2003, Col. Charles Dean, a military-equipment expert, formed a seven-man team to conduct a detailed study of weight worn in the combat zones of eastern Afghanistan

The team stayed in Afghanistan for three months, collecting data from more than 750 soldiers with a range of different jobs.

Back in the United States, Dean said "jaws dropped," when he disclosed his findings to Army leaders.

When soldiers headed out on extended foot patrols, their average load ranged from 87 pounds to 127 pounds. When they came under attack and dropped their rucksacks, most of their fighting loads still exceeded 60 pounds.

The Army isn't alone in its struggle.

A 2007 study by a Navy research-advisory committee found Marines typically have loads from 97 to 135 pounds."

I haven't read the article but I will say that during my "day," we packed ammunition/ammo cans, mortar tubes, machine guns and tripods, litters, etc. Suffice to say a majority of the "weight" is brass. Throw in a flak jacket, helmet, etc, and you got yourself a load. Now, if you jump from airplanes, then you got another set of weights.
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#11032 - 02/22/11 06:59 AM Re: Unbelievable info on military weight carried [Re: Ken]
Fishmonger Offline


Registered: 01/07/10
Posts: 1029
Loc: Madison, WI
Originally Posted By: Ken
I can't help but think that this is a flawed strategy.

1. Destroying your soldiers is not particularly smart.
2. I don't care who you are, you cannot move as fast, nor as far, carrying 100 lbs as 50 lbs.
3. Chronic exhaustion has many side effects. They wonder why the suicide rate is so high without explanation? They wonder why there is so much PTSD? They wonder why our veterans end up hooked on drugs and homeless, unable to carry on relationships?

The body is NOT designed to do this, and will break down under this strain. Of course, military guys will never admit it.


just from my 1983 German military experience:

on #1 - this was a draft situation. New soldiers every 15 months - they could care less about us as long as the gear lasted a few generations.

on #2 - we were facing nuclear overkill, and were trained to stop an invading enemy. Even though I was in the "fast moving" paratroopers, all our mobility was by vehicle or chopper. Gear was only carried over long distances to make the superiors happy and able to brag that their boys were tougher than the regular army grunts. 80km hikes without significant breaks were not unkommon (50 miles). Thing is - there never was really any perception in the German military that we would ever see any real action without being vaporized within minutes anyway, so the motivation to be good at any of this was rather limited to showing off in front of other army divisions.

on #3 - not sure, but we had some seriously high drug abuse to get through some of the longer multi-day exercises. But at least in our siutation, there was an end date in sight and you were counting down every day until you were out. The thing I recall the most was sleep deprivation, not the weight of packs or gear. Skiing with a 50 pound machine gun tripod strapped to your silly canvas backpack, no safety bindings, total whiteout and orders to go into the unknown... those were the days I knew I was not going to stay and become an officer in thi scrazy outift as my superiors were constantly pushing me to do (I think partly because I could read maps better than anyone else in the entire batallion grin)
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#11036 - 02/22/11 08:32 AM Re: Unbelievable info on military weight carried [Re: Fishmonger]
Bulldog34 Offline


Registered: 11/12/09
Posts: 1254
Loc: Atlanta
Fish, was this West or East at the time? I presume West - which makes me wonder how horrible the conditions were for Eastern soldiers.

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#11037 - 02/22/11 09:10 AM Re: Unbelievable info on military weight carried [Re: Bulldog34]
Fishmonger Offline


Registered: 01/07/10
Posts: 1029
Loc: Madison, WI
west yeah. Doubt the eastern boys had a 15 month stint.
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#11040 - 02/22/11 11:16 AM Re: Unbelievable info on military weight carried [Re: Fishmonger]
wagga Offline


Registered: 10/07/09
Posts: 2243
Loc: Humbug Reach (Pop. 3)
The US Army has had research done on devices like this.

It's not exactly stealthy.

I think a mule would cost a lot less, and a soldier less than a mule.

Also, there is absolutely no truth to speculation that Starbucks is funding this in order to transport supplies to the store on the summit.
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