Comment of the day: How a platoon sergeant talks to his men about their loads
This was posted the other day by "Platoon Sergeant" in the discussion of the photo of the two loaded American soldiers taking a break in Zabul Province: There is something I say to my soldiers when we get ready to patrol: "You are carrying 70 pounds of the lightest sh*t the army has ever designed. ...
There is something I say to my soldiers when we get ready to patrol: "You are carrying 70 pounds of the lightest sh*t the army has ever designed. I’ve been in for 11 years now and we are light years ahead of what I had when I was a private. There is still huge areas of improvement to be made in the area of load carriage, there are a lot of better options available off the shelf that big army wont buy. There are some good reasons for this, as well as some bad ones. I don’t know enough about procurement to give everyone an education.
We as an army have ignored up until recently that body armor changes how a pack interfaces with your body. Go to any light infantry unit in the army and you will see the most commonly personal bought item is an aftermarket assault pack. The issued assault pack is a carry-on bag for mid-tour leave, it lacks the necessary adjustment points for good load carriage. Some go all the way with rucksacks, I personally bought a Kifaru Armor Grip bag, specifically designed to work with body armor and still carry weight on your hips instead of shoulders. It was a big investment but it paid for itself when I had to air assault 112 pounds plus body armor and basic load in it. The molle ruck is a great pack without armor, it’s hot garbage once you put an IBA, IOTV or PC on. My unit just spent $800 dollars from ATS for a custom designed 60 mm mortar pack for my soldiers. I can’t tell you why the army has never thought of making a pack for mortars.
The plate carrier was a great idea for Afghanistan (personally I would wear it all the time) but we bought a poorly designed piece of equipment. Instead of buying one with a cummerbund that distributes the load better, we bought one that just hangs off your shoulders. I couldn’t tell you why, SOCOM has been using one with a cummerbund for years.
The army will never get away from carrying heavy stuff, ammo is heavy, rockets are heavy, mortars are heavy, we could be carrying them better but we’re not. The army is not concerned about your knees or back, despite the fact that the government will be paying our disability for the rest of our lives. I’ve never understood that.
(HT to WOI)
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