Support: August 8, 2002


: The Army, like the other services, continues to compile "lessons learned" reports from the campaign in Afghanistan. Some highlights in the combat support area: 

@ Soldiers strongly prefer the camel-back water-carrying systems to canteens since they can drink without fumbling with the canteen or its cap (hard to do in gloves or cold weather) and drinking forces their eyes upward and (at least some fear that) it makes them a target for snipers. 

@ Units did not take with them the materials to build showers and latrines. Troops were uncomfortable as "field sanitation" has become a lost art. Environmental restrictions at home training areas had prevented soldiers from learning such skills. Because troops at home train in the same areas over and over, they do not build temporary latrines but have a civilian contractor deploy port-a-potties as needed. Someone forgot to issue such a contract for the war in Afghanistan. 

@ The small all-terrain vehicle known as "Gator" was found very useful to provide mobility for heavier parts of light units.

@ The idea of relying on shipping in bottled water to an austere theater is just not a workable concept.

@ Army engineers have lost their ability to rapidly repair runways damaged by bad weather and enemy mortars.

@ The current ground laser designator is too heavy and cumbersome to use in mountainous terrain.

@ Some equipment worked well and is regarded as indispensable, including small lightweight binoculars, laser rangefinders, and GPS receivers.--Stephen V Cole




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