KUOW reporter Patricia Murphy and Seattle Times reporter Hal Bernton took questions on Tuesday, Feb. 15, about their reporting for this project. Read the questions and answers.
The Weight Of War
A Seattle Times/KUOW Report
Despite many technological advances in war fighting, an age old conundrum has dogged the military. How do you lighten the heavy loads carried by the troops while giving them enough protection and equipment needed to fight a war?
The Seattle Times Reports:
- The Weight Of War: Gear that protects troops also injures them
- The Weight Of War: Military struggles to lighten soldiers' load
Roman Legionnaires on the march carried 80–pound loads on long, spiked stakes slung across their shoulders. When US Army Rangers invaded the island of Grenada in 1983, the average load carried by each man was 167 pounds. One soldier on that mission compared himself to a slow moving turtle, fearful his exhaustion would get him killed because he couldn't run. Currently, soldiers and marines deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan routinely carry loads from 60 to more than 100 pounds.
In this two–part series, we'll look at the heavy loads carried by troops. We'll explore the increase in chronic orthopedic injuries as a result of gear load, the efforts to lighten the load and the changes in pain care to help injured soldiers and marines.
"The Weight Of War" was reported and produced by Patricia Murphy and edited by Jim Gates. This series is a collaboration with The Seattle Times with additional reporting provided by Seattle Times Staff Reporter Hal Bernton and Assistant Managing Editor Jim Simon.
Sunday, February 13, 2011
In the first part of our series we'll look at the current gear load of US forces. We'll explore the advantages and disadvantages of body armor as well as the increasing number of costly and chronic musculoskeletal injuries that are afflicting service members.
Tuesday, February 15, 2011
Chronic orthopedic injuries associated with gear load are on the rise. In the second part of our series, we'll look at the new and alternative therapies that the military is using to better treat chronic pain.
Kassidy Pentland, who works as a line clerk at Joint Base Lewis–McChord, shows the equipment that soldiers at the base are issued: watch this video on seattletimes.com.