MARINE DEATHS: 867
MARINES WOUNDED IN ACTION: 8,721
As the variety of global terror threats increased, the gear used by Marines also increased. A Marine combat infantryman carries more weight into the field than ever before. Body armor alone can weigh up to 30 pounds. Add in weapons, ammunition, radio, water, food, night-vision goggles, entrenching tools, etc., and the load often soars to over 100 pounds. The combat load in WWII is estimated to have been 45 pounds. In 2009, General James Conway said, “We are going to have to lighten our load.” The heavy pack weight was resulting in chronic injuries, including stress fractures of the foot and back.
Unlike earlier body armor, the IMTV or Improved Modular Tactical Vest, can be quickly modified from mission to mission to help lighten the load. It also has a removable collar and pockets to allow removal or insertion of SAPI or Small Arms Protective Inserts. It distributes weight to ease the load on the spine.
The utility jacket is in a digital camouflage pattern called MARPAT, short for Marine Pattern Camouflage. It comes in green and brown to conceal Marines in forested and desert environments. Considered a superior camouflage because the color is rendered in small pixels, MARPAT more readily blends in with the landscape, and is commonly referred to as “diggies,” a nickname for “digital camouflage.” The Marines patented the camouflage, and a Marine Corps emblem is embedded within the pattern. No other branch of the military may wear MARPAT camouflage. The rifle is an M4 Carbine.
The M4 rifle has a collapsible butt stock, which allows Marines to shortstock the weapon for use in urban environments.
Like their counterparts throughout the 240-year history of the Corps, modern- day Marines find that digging foxholes, using entrenching tools, is still an essential life-saving tactic in ground warfare.
These goggles, strapped to the helmet, are primarily designed to keep sand out of the eyes. The writing on the strap, GF1147, O, indicates the Marine’s company, the first letter of his last name, the last four digits of his Social Security number, and his blood type.