Infantry: August 27, 2002


While Army troops were generally satisfied with the equipment issued to them for the fighting in Afghanistan, they did have a number of complaints. 

@ As is well known, the "desert" boots were not designed for rocky areas and were quickly cut to pieces on Afghan hillsides. 

@ The M4 carbine, M9 pistol, and M249 squad automatic weapon are too hard to clean.

@ The new Interceptor body armor does not fit well when combined with the old Alice-type rucksacks. (The armor is designed to work with the new MOLLE packs, which are not yet in Army-wide service.) The troops found that they had to remove the rear reinforcing plate to wear the armor with the old packs. Almost all casualties suffered wounds in the extremities, so the new armor apparently did work.

@ Soldiers bought Camelback water containers with their own money rather than use the old one-quart canteens. Soldiers bought their own flashlights and weapon cleaning kits rather than using the Army-issue types, and bought their own miniature binoculars as they were lighter than the Army-issue ones.

@ Critics charge that the Army does not listen enough to what the soldiers want; the Army says it cannot satisfy everyone and relies mostly on reports by officers on what is needed. Enlisted troops complain that the colonels want them to have what looks good on the parade field, not what actually works in combat.--Stephen V Cole


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