Infantry: Limping Away


August 25, 2009: American soldiers and marines are encountering serious problems with the weight of combat equipment they have to carry. More so than in Iraq, U.S. troops are fighting on foot. And not on the plains of Iraq, but the hills of Afghanistan. The air is, literally, thinner (less oxygen) in much of Afghanistan, which is at the same altitude as Denver, Colorado (where the thin air is a known problem for visitors).

The army and marine brass tried to reduce the weight of gear (90-100 pounds) their troops carried into battle. Of late, lighter armor, boots and other equipment took 20 pounds off. Local commanders were allowed to delete more weight. But that still meant combat troops running up those hills while wearing 50-60 pounds of stuff.

These troops are in great physical shape, which means they have the energy, muscle and determination to push themselves beyond their limits. The medics are finding themselves treating a lot of musculoskeletal problems. Knee and back problems abound, often causing much pain (especially the back spasms.) It's worse for guys who are on their second (or third) trip to Afghanistan.

Because of all this, a lot more infantry are going to retire on partial disability, and spend the rest of their lives limping around, or in constant pain. This doesn't show up in the casualty reports. But go to a veterans gathering (November 11 or Memorial Day) in 10-20 years, and you'll be able to pick out the infantry vets from Afghanistan.



Article Archive

Infantry: Current 2021 2020 2019 2018 2017 2016 2015 2014 2013 2012 2011 2010 2009 2008 2007 2006 2005 2004 2003 2002 2001 2000 1999 



Help Keep Us Soaring

We need your help! Our subscription base has slowly been dwindling. We need your help in reversing that trend. We would like to add 20 new subscribers this month.

Each month we count on your subscriptions or contributions. You can support us in the following ways:

  1. Make sure you spread the word about us. Two ways to do that are to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.
  2. Subscribe to our daily newsletter. We’ll send the news to your email box, and you don’t have to come to the site unless you want to read columns or see photos.
  3. You can contribute to the health of StrategyPage. A contribution is not a donation that you can deduct at tax time, but a form of crowdfunding. We store none of your information when you contribute..
Subscribe   Contribute   Close