Why Physical ability matters to a Grunt

Discussion in 'Off Topic' started by bruno, Oct 19, 2015.

  1. bruno

    bruno Retired Staff Member

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    I know that everyone believes we are in the "fire and forget- computers and drones will fix it all from a continent away" era of warfare, but the reality is that strength and endurance still matter a lot to the world of the Infantry. A couple of attached links are pretty interesting and give you a feel for what life is like when a soldier is not just "Hollywood" jumping and not going out for a mounted patrol on the highway.

    The first link is a very cool video of a jump into the Desert from inside the plane and then going out the door. (In the first link you can get a feel for how loaded they are- check out the kid on the far right side at around the 55 second mark when they tell him to stand up and then around 3:53 when he "wadddles" to the door.) On the second link – it’s all about the load: the trooper weighs himself before and after rucking up -which adds almost 130 pounds to his beginning body weight of 175 pounds. The last video has an Infantryman explaining and donning his equipment before he goes out on a mounted patrol. It’s pretty interesting stuff. My knees and back hurt in remembered sympathetic pain!
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SFodSTuT_LY
    http://www.core77.com/posts/41704/How-Much-Weight-Soldiers-Carry-and-Incredible-POV-Footage-of-a-Massive-Paratrooper-Drop
     
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  2. USMCGrunt

    USMCGrunt Member

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    Thanks Bruno. Interesting video's.

    Grunts are always going to have to carry the gear they need to fight and survive in the field.

    Despite the light weighting of gear, the US Infantryman still carries way too much. Besides the individual gear outlined, there are crew served weapons and their gear, radio's, batteries, signaling flares, grenades, and a host of other things distributed amongst the unit. We really need to rethink our approach and put more of the burden on the supply chain - particularly in theaters where we have air superiority.

    Having spent my time as a Grunt I salute these modern day warriors.
     
  3. Sampia

    Sampia Member

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    Thank you. I will share these with my son
     
  4. kinnem

    kinnem Moderator

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    I'm sure he knows Sampia, but it doesn't hurt to drive it home. As further ammo, remind him that by the second month of TBS he'll be hiking with 105+ lbs of combat load. That will wake him up if he needs waking up. :yikes: I expect he knows that too though.
     
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  5. AF6872

    AF6872 Member

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    Second month of TBS in a storm at Quantico DD and foxhole mate hoped that tree would fall down and they could get medevac out.
     
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  6. USMCGrunt

    USMCGrunt Member

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    :lolatyou:

    For me, defensive positions are the worst in those conditions. Would rather be out snoopin' and poopin' than sitting in a defensive position. I remember a IOC event during one of those famous Quantico 33F sleet and ice storms in the winter. By 0300 or so, I was hallucinating - I was sure the opposition forces were sneaking up to our lines. As the night/ morning went on it was the closest I ever came to quitting (as if you could!). In hindsight, I am sure I was hypothermic but somehow managed to make it till morning. Thankfully this was a training exercise and not the real deal.
     
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  7. NavyHoops

    NavyHoops Moderator

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    Oh man, brings back memories.

    Yes combat loads are nuts. Not sure if it is still required reading but we had to read a book at TBS called A Soldier's Load and the Weight of a Nation (hope that is the right title) that talks about the history of the combat load and its weight. Was interesting. Got us to think about what we tell our Marines to carry. With that being said loads have only gotten heavier. TBS we easily carried well 100+ pounds consistently to the field. It didn't bother me, but you get a 110 pound female... I don't know how they did it! In Iraq a typical patrol load was around 75+ lbs. and that was with no pack. That was just gear, ammo, water. Gear in some aspects of heavier. The plates in our vests are heavy. The helmets are lighter. The good news is the gear is lighter on some things and fits a heck of a lot better than before. Even getting some female vests made a huge difference. Packs fit us differently.

    I remember at TBS crossing a river in December. Entire platoon had hypothermia. We finally got trucked to a building on base and were allowed to change clothes and warm up overnight with medics watching us. They used it as a teaching moment to think about things like that. Is doing a frontal assault through a frozen river a good idea if your platoon all dies and you can't hold a position?

    I remember on day 1 of a field a 10 day field op... It snowed as I sat in a fox hole. I remember mumbling to my fire team buddy... 'It's gonna be a long week of this is happening in hour 2.'
     
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  8. USMCGrunt

    USMCGrunt Member

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    I started with the steel pot and used the Kevlar helmet by the end of my active duty time. Same with flak jackets: went from Vietnam era vests with ceramic plates to the Kevlar vests. I was surprised to hear we are augmenting them with plates that get them up to about 30 lbs (as per the videos).

    Sure, we would like for each individual grunt to have the highest level protective clothing, all the gear, water and ammunition he could ever need but it isn't practical. Its an age old debate but worthy of discussion by today's infantry leaders. Weighting them down, slowing individual maneuver has to be balanced against the need to have everything at your finger tips.
     
  9. Sampia

    Sampia Member

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    I am amazed at the women who do this. You go, girls! USMCGrunt and Kinnem, I often wonder how your sons are doing, though I am sure they are doing great. I would love to hear any updates whenever you feel like sharing.
     

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