So I spent a good amount of time while I was in the sandbox with the Army's 4th Battalion, 9th Infantry Regiment which is outfitted with Land Warrior equipment.
There were decidedly mixed reviews of the thing, and I gotta tell you, I could feel the frustration from the guys hefting that extra 17 pounds.
Take a look at our lead story today on Military.com for more details.
CAMP ABLE X-RAY, Iraq --- It was billed as a revolutionary new tool that promised to give Soldiers an added edge in the fight, with a heads-up displayed map, a see-around-corners rifle sight and speed-of-light communications.
And on its first deployment to combat, the decades-old Land Warrior system did win over many of its detractors. But as the Soldiers carrying Land Warriors burdensome boxes and wires on their backs labored into their seventh month of deployment, some are beginning to question whether this version of a system the Army worked so hard to get to the field is worth the price.
"It's like a 17-pound GPS unit," said a Soldier assigned to Alpha Company, 4th Battalion, 9th Infantry Regiment, the first Army unit to ever deploy to a war zone using Land Warrior. "We don't use half the things it's supposed to be able to do."
Fielded as an interim solution to the long-term goal of providing the individual combat Soldier with an improved, digital option for greater situational awareness, the current Land Warrior suite has proven its worth in some of 4/9's operations, Soldiers say.
On targeted raids and complex "kinetic" operations, the Land Warrior's capabilities blossom -- with detailed photo-realistic maps displayed on a small screen attached to each helmet, real-time locations of target houses, and friendly personnel at a Soldier's fingertips and short text communications with battle managers in the rear.
And that's just the kind of thing the Land Warrior was designed for: maneuver warfare against a dispersed enemy.
"The one thing that it has done is allow speed to be the primary advantage," said Maj. Ryan Wolfgram, operations officer for 4/9. "Now we can spend less time on the objective. It reduces the confusion of getting to the right spot at the right time."
Problem is, that's not the kind of battle Soldiers at this base in downtown Baqubah are fighting anymore. Instead it's a daily grind of house calls, checking in on the city's residents to see if they've had a full day's worth of electricity, running water and consistent trash removal from the streets...
Read the rest of the story HERE...