Day by Day

Friday, August 07, 2020

Years ago, my dad had me read a book

The Soldier's Load and the Mobility of a Nation.  It was a no-bullshit look at how much a fighting man can carry and still be effective.  It was first printed in 1950.  I still have my copy, sitting on my bookshelf.  It expounded on how much gear a troop carried in WWII and what got thrown away in order for the troop to be able to fight.

We ain't learned shit in seventy years.

According to research conducted by Marine Corps Capt. Courtney Thompson at the Naval Postgraduate School, the most a Marine should be stuck carrying into the fight is a comparatively measly 58 pounds. While that may sound like a lot for your average Sunday hiker, for America's warfighters, that's a figure that seems impossibly low for today's combat operations.

It's not uncommon to see 150 pound loads on Soldiers these days.  My basic kit in Afghanistan was 62 pounds - IBA, helmet, weapon, 210 rounds.  That was just the stuff I wore, and didn't include my ruck.  And I was one of the lightest loads I saw, given that my job was running around with a Chaplain and not carrying the baseplate of a mortar or the spare barrel for a 240B. 

No, I don't have any answers.  Nobody does.  The fighting force today is generally better fit, more prepared and better trained.  It's also a fact that testosterone levels have dropped through the generations which in turn affects muscle and how much a man can carry. 

This is the point where I shrug and go "WTF?"

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