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US Army Shows Us How Soldiers Have Changed Over The Last 50 Years

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21 Responses to “US Army Shows Us How Soldiers Have Changed Over The Last 50 Years”

  1. DM says:

    Hurray,
    All the numbers go up. Including the total poundage of all the “light-weight” gear we have.

    • Jack Boothe says:

      Unfortunately, pay, despite the numbers posted, has not gone up. Using the calculation of economic power (what you can actually buy and how it relates to overall economic activity of society and a much more accurate accounting of value of labor vice the simple CPI caculation most non-economists use) the numbers are actually down. That $279 a month in 1969 in terms of economic power today would be worth $5,740. So in terms of overall economic purchasing power and wealth our enlisted Soldiers are earning half of what their 1969 drafted counterparts did.

  2. PTL21 says:

    Will it be possible to go back to a lighter load out?

    • GD442 says:

      No because it makes sense.

    • Ashley says:

      It is completely possible and without loss of capability. In many cases industry already has the solutions. This is a leadership issue.

      • Kirk says:

        It is, and it isn’t… Part of the problem is that society is not willing to pay the price for that lighter loadout, either… Which is why the leadership ain’t up for us leaving the wire in pajamas.

        The cold equations mandate that we’re going to load the troops with every bit of life-saving body armor and other gear, to the detriment of mission accomplishment and even long-term health problems. They’re fine with the guys getting out after 10-15 with damaged lower backs from all that crap they have to carry, but if they get killed in combat because they weren’t wearing their plates up in the mountains…? Yeah; that’s gonna get someone in front of a Congressional, post-haste. The idea that we’d save lives because our forces were more mobile and agile, and be more effective? Anathema. They will rail against the first death due to not equipping someone out on patrol with every bit of armor they can stack on them.

        You want to fix the overload problem, you first need to fix the risk-averse civilian culture that supports and provides the manpower for the forces. That’s where the root of it all is at–With the mindset of our civilian population, every bit of weight savings in “better, lighter gear” is going to be offset by the drive to ensure that the guys have everything they need, and then some.

        I honestly think we’d be doing a lot better, were we to simply say “Enough…”, and accept that maybe we could trade a few lives for better quality-of-life out in the ranks of those worn down due to humping all that gear around. Ain’t nobody wanting to hear that, though… Hell, I’m not so sure I’d be up for it, either, were I still on active duty. I am seriously glad I no longer have to make the decisions on that sort of thing, though.

  3. Bruce Fleming says:

    As a soldier who enlisted in 1976, don’t forget about the high level of drug uses in the Vietnam and post Vietnam army.

  4. CON says:

    $279 in January 1968 has the same buying power as $2,028.00 in january 2018.
    – Bureau of Labor Statistics

  5. Seer says:

    Apart from the draftees/volunteers line, I’m not sure that any of those things are improvements. And I’m quite sure that a few of them are just the opposite. Y’all know what I’m talking about.

    Anyway, “survival rate” has more to do with the counter-insurgency/police-type nature of the wars we fight today, with most of our injured troops suffering blast and minor shrapnel injuries from IEDs. America’s modern wars redefine “low intensity conflict.” It’s just not a fair comparison.

    • Will Rodriguez says:

      Vietnam’s casualties were also primarily caused by mines. Some estimates cite as high as 80%.

      (Landmines: A Deadly Legacy – Page 18 Physicians for Human Rights (U.S.) – 1993 – In 1965, one year for which detailed statistics are available, 65–70% of US Marine Corps casualties were caused by mines and booby-traps….
      Congressional Record – Page 20595 Congress -“”Fact is, anti-personnel land mines were the leading cause of our casualties in Vietnam,” Muller said, “and they are the leading cause of casualties for our peacekeepers through NATO and the UN,” not to mention the peril they now pose “)|

      As to survival rate, body armor and TCCC have made HUGE differences. All one need do is look at Vietnam era first aid kit and compare it to today’s along with the individual training soldiers get to see the huge difference.

  6. RFfromNOVA says:

    So we are clear. SGLI Adjusted for inflation has gone up substantially (in 1968 inflation adjusted dollars equals about 72k). Monthly pay has gone up about $240 per month, and we’re spending 6k more per soldier on equipment (both of the latter costs are in today’s dollars).
    There are some things on that chart to be proud of and others they should probably quit focusing on all together.

  7. orly? says:

    Someone must document UCP.

  8. The survival rate if wounded comparions then till now is incredible. The one stat that really stands out.

    • Victor DiCosola says:

      Sorry auto spell check from darn cell phone…
      The survival rate of wounded comparisons then till now is incredible. The one stat that really stands out.

  9. Snakeman says:

    I was in in 1970-72. I was only a E4, but I think I remember getting $220.00 a month. I wouldn’t want to hump all that gear that today soldiers have to carry. But, then the quality of that gear have advanced leaps and bounds over my gear.

  10. Björn Andersson says:

    Can you make a list of what the modern day solder is carrying?

  11. Will says:

    What’s up with his boots though?

    • This Gentleman says:

      The boots that are depicted are the old Danner Combat Hikers that were issued to Soldier deployed to OEF as an urgent requirement. They have since changed to a coyote colored variant in temperate and hot weather makes.

  12. JonMac says:

    Here’s a version you can actually read;

    https://pbs.twimg.com/media/Dd–jeqX4AIiYOR.jpg:large