The Army ran with only a rough estimate of how much their foot soldiers carried in combat, doctors and hospitals concerned with this problem have learned. It wasn’t until 2003 that a colonel and military-equipment expert formed a seven-man team to study the effects of the weight soldiers carried while in the combat zones of eastern Afghanistan.
“What we were proposing was highly irregular, and my chain of command had to pass this all the way to the generals to get approved,” he told a group of interested citizens.
The colonel, now retired, had his team join a group of soldiers, so they would carry the same loads and face the same dangers from day to day. They went to Afghanistan, where they went on missions with the soldiers. This would usually start with a helicopter ride, followed by foot patrols that would extend for days at a time. The members of the research team would use a digital scale to weigh all the equipment, down to their ID cards and eating utensils.