Military Weight Loss Program

This is a discussion on Military Weight Loss Program within the Law Enforcement, Military & Homeland Security Discussion forums, part of the Related Topics category; I read in our local paper the DOD is looking for ways to reduce the weight our soldiers and marines in the middle east battle ...

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Thread: Military Weight Loss Program

  1. #1
    Senior Member Array rachilders's Avatar
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    Military Weight Loss Program

    I read in our local paper the DOD is looking for ways to reduce the weight our soldiers and marines in the middle east battle zones are required to carry when in the field. It seems there's a growing problem among our troops with weight related injuries like fractures, as well as extreme exhaustion caused by carrying all that equipment, especially in the heat of summer. While a few of the things mentioned as ways to reduce weight are lighter body armor and helmets, I didn't notice anything about reducing the AMOUNT of gear our troops carry into battle. It's a nice idea, but after spending over 20 years in the military myself, I doubt if the average soldier will benefit in the long run and a lot of money will be wasted in R&D that could be better spent on improving and upgrading what they already have. From my experience, as soon as a way is found to simplify something for the troops, someone comes up with a way to take advantage of the situation. If/when we find a way to save a few pounds, rather than pass that along to the boots on the ground, "management" will simply see it as an opportunity to add something new to replace it.

    A perfect example is our current "battle" rifle, the M-16 and it's variants. The gun was specifically designed in a smaller caliber and made of lighter materials to replace the heavier M-14. Aside from being easier to lug around for extended periods, you could carry more ammo since the bullet it shoots is lighter (so much for saving weight, though having extra rounds is always a good idea). The current M4's the end result of that idea. It's a great idea, but look at what's happened to the rifle. It now has so many bells and whistles - like scopes, sights, lights and other add on's - that it's more like something a storm trooper from Star Wars would carry than an American soldier. Also, all those gadgets add weight, they're something else the soldier has to maintain and are in all likelyhood another over priced government contract gadget that could be purchased aftermarket for 1/4 the price.

    While the idea may sound grand, the reality is if the military wants our soldiers to carry less weight, give them less equipment to carry. Instead of giving a fancy - and expensive - GPS system that craps out in bad weather plus needs batteries to every soldier, why not issue a plain old map and compass to most troops unless there's a real need for something more? As it is, any benefit gained by lightening the gear our troops currently carries will be lost if we keep adding new gadgets. Remember the KISS rule!!

    Anyway, I see the same thing happening to our civilian weapons with all the gadgets we love adding to our rifles, shotguns and pistols. Lasers, lights, range finders, solar powered MP3 players/night vision scopes, the list get's longer every day! What say you?
    Last edited by rachilders; February 3rd, 2009 at 02:08 AM. Reason: typo's
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    VIP Member Array David in FL's Avatar
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    If you're interested in the question from an historical perspective, I recommend the book "A Soldier's Load and the Mobility of a Nation".

    Very interesting.
    "Far better it is to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy much nor suffer much, because they live in a grey twilight that knows not victory nor defeat."

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    VIP Member Array dukalmighty's Avatar
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    Problem solved issue everybody onea these babys
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    Distinguished Member Array C9H13NO3's Avatar
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    I thought this was going to be about the body composition program

    I don't see the real ground pounders with many bells and whistles on their M4's out here. Usually it's just the stock M4 with ACOG. You'll see a few surefires and foregrips (usually of the built in bipod type), and of course the IR laser designator, but for some odd reason, it's the support guys you see with all the stupid crap on there. I see people from MALS (airwing support) who have bipod, acog, huge surefire, foregrip all mounted on one rifle like they are actually going to do something with it. Confuses the hell out of me why they want to carry more weight that they aren't gonna use.

    Our armor does keep getting heavier though lately. It used to be flak jacket, trauma plates, and helmet. Then groin and neck protectors, then side truama plates, and then a base of the skull protector, and I've seen a few with armor over the shoulders (only seen that on army guys, not Marines). I'd only be a little bit surprised if they came out with groin trauma plates. The more they uparmor us, the harder it is to move.
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    VIP Member Array packinnova's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by C9H13NO3 View Post
    I thought this was going to be about the body composition program

    I don't see the real ground pounders with many bells and whistles on their M4's out here. Usually it's just the stock M4 with ACOG. You'll see a few surefires and foregrips (usually of the built in bipod type), and of course the IR laser designator, but for some odd reason, it's the support guys you see with all the stupid crap on there. I see people from MALS (airwing support) who have bipod, acog, huge surefire, foregrip all mounted on one rifle like they are actually going to do something with it. Confuses the hell out of me why they want to carry more weight that they aren't gonna use.

    Our armor does keep getting heavier though lately. It used to be flak jacket, trauma plates, and helmet. Then groin and neck protectors, then side truama plates, and then a base of the skull protector, and I've seen a few with armor over the shoulders (only seen that on army guys, not Marines). I'd only be a little bit surprised if they came out with groin trauma plates. The more they uparmor us, the harder it is to move.
    I'm not sure why they issue you fellers "groin protectors". I met an LEO once whose partner was shot while wearing one of those...I'll leave out the disturbing details, but suffice to say, he would have preferred to just have it shot off!
    "My God David, We're a Civilized society."

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    Senior Member Array rachilders's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dukalmighty View Post

    Problem solved issue everybody onea these babys
    Believe it or not, my nephew is currently in Iraq (second tour) and he actually uses one of those! Though it's more beat up than the one in your picture, he uses it to carry his gear to his vehicle when he travels. He drives one of those large, armored semi trucks and he puts his vest, helmet and other gear in the wagon and takes it to the trucks when he has to make a trip. He said it's a lot easier using that little wagon than carrying it out to a truck himself and he throws the wagon into the truck when he's finished.

    I guess great minds really do think alike!
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    Distinguished Member Array SonofASniper's Avatar
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    Yea, there are quite a few bells and whistles that some of the soldiers carry. My brother is in Rangers, and he said his M4 is getting around the 10 lb mark. Problem is, they do use every bell and whistle on their rifles, but their missions are a lot different verses the standard infantry.
    I will support gun control when you can guarantee all guns are removed from this planet. That includes military and law enforcement. When you can accomplish that, then I will be the last person to lay down my gun. Then I will carry the weapon that replaces the gun.

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    Well, most of the groundpounders I know over here have A4's, not M-4's, and have ACOG's, laser units, Gripods and surefires, it's pretty standard.

    The biggest killer though is the body armor, being a good student of history, I know that my gear I carry for patrols weighs more than the average hoplite of legionnaire carried back in their day.

    Most of our patrols don't even require a pack, and it still weighs that much, between weapon, body armor, water, ammo, ect...
    Fortes Fortuna Juvat

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    Member Array gunnerdd2's Avatar
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    great job

    hey buckeyelcpl great job you guys are doing over there. Stay say and come home in one piece
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    Distinguished Member Array Guardian's Avatar
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    I say leave it up to the troops, they'll improvise, adapt and overcome to use that Clint line from the movie.

    I was Air Force SP, I had my share of gear to carry, not quite as much as the Army or Marines that I was in contact with while over in the Double DDs, but we always found a way to lighten it on our own depending on what or where we were going.

    Dang good thread though in my view.
    "I dislike death, however, there are some things I dislike more than death. Therefore, there are times when I will not avoid danger" Mencius"

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    Senior Member Array rachilders's Avatar
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    I was in naval aviation. We didn't carry all the equipment army & marine members did but I had flight gear to haul around (survival vest/equipment, flight clothes, helmet, parachute, etc) that weighed 60-80 pounds when I had it all on - 20-30 pounds more if you include all the pubs and things we carried in our flight bags - so I have real sympathy for you guys on the ground when it comes to weight and how it can really wear you down.

    OTOH, unlike ground pounding combat troops, unless there was a problem or emergency I knew that even after spending up to 20 hours on the aircraft (including pre and post flight time) and 1-3 hours more doing pre/post flight briefs, I'd be going back to my own bed when it was finally over.
    "... Americans... we want a safe home, to keep the money we make and shoot bad guys." -- Denny Crane

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    Senior Member Array TomEgun's Avatar
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    I was a Foward Observer light infantry 82nd abn in the first gulf war they tried reducing our load my Alice pack was 135lbs with PRC77 radio -ky57 decription box -spare battery - antenna set- poncho- poncho liner - spare bdu socks underware t-shirts- 5 mres - shaving kit- 2 qt canteen- maps- Kbar backup- ammo 5.56 and range finder- my LBE was 40lbs 2 mag pouches- compass- 2 1qt canteens bayonett -IR strobe-First aid kit - butt pack with bandoleer 5.56. and of course pro mask and suit which suit was in alice pack. and lets not forget that heavy as hell flack jacket. I believe the dragon gunner and mortar base plate guys rucks weight was around 145lbs. took 2 guys to lift my ruck sack the average paratrooper infantry ruck weight was 85lbs in gulf. i would have hoped with todays Tech they could have reduced the weight by now!!
    "If you want peace, prepare for war." Si vis pacem, para bellum.

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    VIP Member Array mcp1810's Avatar
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    From what I understand the main areas they are focusing on now are the body armor and batteries. I think that is where they think they can have the biggest impact.
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