Lightening the load
Ever feel like you’re carrying the weight of the world on your shoulders? Well, if you’re a Grunt these days then you really know that feeling. Having been a Grunt myself many moons ago, I look at all the gear that troops have to schlepp around today and I shudder.
The other thing that concerns me about it, besides the sheer physical burden on the individual soldier, is the restriction of mobility and speed that comes with all this added weight. We’ve all heard the stories about Coalition troops who are too heavily loaded down to be able to get over a compound wall unaided, or are too bulky to get through the narrow doorways of the local huts. Meanwhile, Haji grabs his AK or RPG, hitches up his dish-dash and scampers away. Its all starting to remind me of the days when the heavily-armed and armoured French knights were annihilated by the lightly armed and unarmoured English bowmen.
Well, me and you aren’t the only ones worried about this situation. Fortunately, Coalition military forces are also starting to seriously consider ways to lighten the soldier’s load – while still providing vital protection for life and limb. Our friend Eric Graves from Soldier Systems Daily has written an excellent piece for the ADS website about how the US Army’s Asymmetric Warfare Group put together a successful and rapidly-fielded assessment initiative to provide lighter weight alternatives to today’s burden.
Check out the story here: http://www.adsinc.com/geared-up/industry-news/lightening-the-soldiers-load.
Eric also wrote the forward for the book “Battle Rattle: The Stuff a Soldier Carries.”