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Newsday (New York, NY) March 23, 2003

The Modern Soldier (stand alone chart)

By Orlando Sentinal / Newsday

The Modern Soldier

U.S. troops fighting in Iraq are equipped with the latest technological advances to give them the edge over the enemy.

HELMET
Multiple layers of Kevlar protect the head from shrapnel.
Weight: up to 4.1 pounds

KNEE PADS
High density shell protects against impacts, debris and pressure injuries.
Weight: 1.7 pounds

NIGHT-VISION GOGGLES
(Shown removed from bracket)
Enhances vision in dark. See explainer below.
Weight: 14 ounces

BODY ARMOR
Kevlar vest protects torso from shrapnel, pistol rounds and some rifle bullets.
Weight: 16.4 pounds

PROTECTIVE MASK
M40 mask protects against nuclear, chemical and biological threats.
Weight: 4.5 pounds

COMBAT BOOTS
Leather water resistant upper with molded sole.
Weight: 4.1 pounds per pair

M249 SQUAD ASSAULT WEAPON
5.56-mm caliber machine gun greatly enhances unit's collective firepower. Effective range: 3,281 feet.

BATTLE DRESS OVERGARMENT
Desert camouflage coat and trousers, 100 percent cotton.
Weight: 3.1 pounds.

LOAD BEARING VEST
Features ammunition and utility pockets in five configurations according to mission. See explainer at right.
TOTAL WEIGHT OF ALL GEAR: 45.9 pounds

Dressing the Part

MOLLE SYSTEM
The Modular Lightweight Load-Carrying Equipment System consists of two main elements: the modular backpack and the load-bearing vest.

THE MODULAR BACKPACK
It includes main rucksack, patrol pack, sleeping bag, sustainment pouches and "drink-on-the-move" hydration system.
The backpack attaches to the load-bearing vest and can be separated from the vest with a quick-release mechanism.

DESERT CAMOUFLAGE
Camouflage is the art of disguising yourself from the enemy, and the desert uniform does just that.
The desert uniform has a "digital" pattern, which replaces the "tiger stripe" design. The "digital" pattern looks like pixels from a video monitor, and at a distance, the pattern blends in better against numerous backgrounds.
A neckerchief covers the nose, mouth and face, providing protection from blowing sand. Goggles protect the eyes against the ultraviolet rays of the sun. The weapon is covered in camouflage adhesive tape.

How night vision goggles work

One of the biggest advantages U.S. soldiers have over the enemy is the capability to fight in the dark. Making this possible are night vision goggles, which amplify existing light.

1. Natural light, typically from the moon, strikes a cathode in the goggles and is converted into electrical energy.

2. That electrical energy gets multiplied by a microchannel plate.

3. Energy, now amplified, strikes a phosphor screen (like a TV screen), where the image is focused. Brightened image is relayed to the eye.

Visibility under a full moon:

With night vision, 890 yards; without night vision, 250 yards.

SOURCES: U.S. Army Elite Force, Reuters, KRT, "Military Camouflage" by Randy Cox; "Camouflage" by Will Fowler; Federation of American Scientists, How Stuff Works, Sentinel research: GlobalSecurity;Morovision.

GRAPHIC: Orlando Sentinel / Newsday- 1) Goggles, shown at right, 2) AP Photo - are designed to project a green image, above, because the eye can differentiate more shades of green than any other color. 3 - 4) Modern Soldiers


Copyright 2003, Newsday, Inc.