Wednesday, January 18, 2017

A sad, sad development that makes sense

For I don't know how many decades, the Marines have used metal ammunition cans. They are rectangular, and the top has a hinge at one end and a locking mechanism at the other. Ammunition of all kinds has been carried in these cans for about 100 years. That looks to be coming to an end:
QUANTICO–In the Marine Corps’ rush to drop weight, one of the most beloved and storied pieces of gear could be left behind. At the service’s first Equipping the Infantry Challenge here Sept. 27, program managers said they’re looking for a lighter, more practical alternative to the iconic ammunition can.
Scott Rideout, program manager for ammunition at Marine Corps Systems Command, told industry leaders that the rectangular can, which today looks much the same as it did during World War II and Vietnam, may be overdue for an upgrade.
Marine Corps ammo comes to the warfighter, he said, “in the same metal can that it’s come in for 100 years. That metal can is one of those things that when the ammunition is brought to Marines, they take the ammunition out, distribute it however they’re going to distribute it, then throw [the can] away. The ammo can itself provides no value added to the Marine, except to help get the ammunition there.”
I can't tell you how many of these ammo cans we had when I was a kid. We stored everything in them. They were perfect. And that is not the only role these things play in the Corps:
The gear is even more central to Marine Corps identity: one of the elements of the Combat Fitness Test that all Marines must pass once a year is the ammunition can lift, in which troops are tested on the number of times they can lift a 30-pound can above their head and shoulders within two minutes.
Like so:

I suppose the move makes sense. Marines are sent into combat carrying so much weight these days (as are soldiers) that it makes no sense to make them carry more weight than necessary. On the other hand, the ammo can is a big part of the Corps culture. Not sure what will replace that. Sure wish I still had one of those cans, though.

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