A United States Army soldier could carry as much as 127 pounds in the field and more than 60 pounds even while in combat, doctors learned. An Army colonel studied the effects of carrying so much weight, with the intent of reducing spinal injuries to soldiers that could otherwise be avoided.
“If an aggressive … weight-loss program is not undertaken by the Army,” the colonel told a source, “the soldier’s combat load will continue to increase and his physical performance will continue to be even more severely degraded.”
The Army responded by attempting to develop lighter gear. This proved especially difficult, since they were also looking for ways to reduce casualties by making body armor stronger and other measures that would likely increase the weight of a soldier’s gear. Lumbar spinal injuries are very common.
The colonel’s study was conducted in 2003. Six years later, doctorss are not sure any real change has been made. In fact, a 2009 study indicated that some soldier loads had actually increased in weight.
It’s not only the Army that suffers this problem. A Naval study showed Marines could carry between 97 and 135 pounds in the field. They cited information directly from the Veterans Administration (VA), which stated disabilities due to lower-back problems were becoming more common, due to carrying heavy loads for long periods of time.
“Many of these injuries reflect troops carrying far more weight than what medical experts say is reasonable,” a Naval analysts in New York City and Westchester told a doctor.
The condition of the spine is a vital part of overall health and an injury to the spine will require a great deal of medical care and compensation. Officers understand this and will fight for the rights of those who suffer physical injuries, so they do not have to suffer financially as well.