Posted on Apr 18, 2015
SPC Jan Allbright, M.Sc., R.S.
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M3 medic bag 500x240
I was a combat medic in Vietnam in direct support to the 1/26th Reg, 1st Inf Div.
I carried the basic load (to include 80 rounds), M16, and standard rigging with 2 canteens. and pack. I also carried a M3 medic bag and two 1,000 count bottles of Salt Tablets and Darvon in canteen pouches.
I quickly ditched the M16 in favor of a 1911 in a shoulder holster.

So what do the 68W carry around while in the field now days?
What “specials” did you carry?
Are Salt Tablets still "the kind"?
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Responses: 32
SFC Battery First Sergeant
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16
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I carried an M4 with 210 rounds, an m9 with 60 rounds, an Aid bag that had everything I could possibly need and a drop leg pouch that had tourniquets. All of that was in addition to the IOTV and ACH that we all have to wear. All of that gear easily took me from 185 lbs to 235-240 lbs. Forget about needing a rucksack. We conducted an air assault mission in Iraq and had to pack for a month....I chose medical gear over uniforms. Couldn't carry both!
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SFC Battery First Sergeant
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>1 y
Not too deep. We were in an agricultural region and the canals were used for irrigation.
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SPC Team Leader
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>1 y
I was amazed at the crops they grew there. Watermellon, sunflowers, and stuff that usually needed lots of water. Then I saw how they flooded their fields like rice paddies. It amazes me how people adapt to survive
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Military Family
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>1 y
What is best Army MOS for a young man who wishes to be a medic but wants to be in a combat unit (not a clinic?) My 18 year old son has enlisted (35T) and is going to BCT in a few months. My 16 yr old son wishes to do delayed entry and do BCT next summer (Between his junior and senior year of high school) and then be a combat medic. But the 16 year old really wants to be a solider (not put in a clinic). What is the best MOS for being a medic and solider?
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SFC Michael D.
SFC Michael D.
>1 y
Along with all that, I carried super glue for wounds that needed stitches and tampons to stick in bullet holes. I still carry an aid bag and I'm 62. I'm my MCs medic. Stay prepared.
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CPT Bob Moore
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I would definitely prefer a dirty and smelly medic with medical gear than a medic that had clean clothes.
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SPC Jan Allbright, M.Sc., R.S.
SPC Jan Allbright, M.Sc., R.S.
>1 y
CPT Bob Moore
You guys say the sweetest things!
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SFC(P) Health Technician
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I can not speak for every medic, but I carried a full combat load for M4 plus a M9 with 45 RDS. Usually had a thigh pack with combat gauze, tourniquets, morphine for short trips, for long trips I carried my medic bag with everything including IV and suture kits.
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SFC Ncoic, Education And Training
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>1 y
For a typical dismounted patrol I would carry my full kit: M4 with 210 rounds, M9 on drop leg holster with 45 rounds, body armor with individual first aid kit, magazine pouches, med pouch, and NVGs. Also a hydration system, M9 aid bag (for longer or mounted patrols a Blackhawk Stomp II aid bag), and drop leg pouch with tourniquets, combat gauze, kerlix, and ace wraps. And of course 20 mg of morphine in carpuject syringes. Total weight between 50-70 lbs depending on mission load out. This does not include a 45 lb rucksack, which I never had to carry in combat in Iraq. Never made it to Afghanistan.
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SSG S1 Personnel Ncoic
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>1 y
I carried a Blackhawk aid bag. my aid bag by itself weighed between 45 and 50 lbs depending on mission. throw on the full load for the M4 and body armor and you are looking at nearly 200lbs of gear.
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SPC Tony Mauch
SPC Tony Mauch
>1 y
Same here, Blackhawk aid bag, approx 50lbs. I did finally get it down to 39.5lbs once dismounted patrols became the norm rather than the exception though. Neither of these weights includes the chilled fluids in case of heat emergency, but those always stayed in the vehicles. Lastly, in my unit, your patrol loadout was different than your sickcall load out, and each medic packed his aid bag to the level of his skill set. Unfortunately, all medics are NOT created equal.
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CPL Chris Palmberg
CPL Chris Palmberg
9 mo
All these folks talking about rolling with a basic load for their M4 & M9... lol...
First, 3d ACR didn't have enough M4s to go around by the time they moved the colors back to Hood. By OIF 3, our organic engineer company had enough carbines for the line & equipment platoons, but the mechanics, cooks, medics, etc., were issued A4 model M-16s, which are a few inches longer (and therefore heavier) than the normal M-16 (slick thru A-2 models)
Personal & professional philosophy was to scrounge every available magazine for both it and the M9 on my thigh. IIRC, I carried 12 magazines @ 27 rounds each (Old-school tip learned reading LRRP autobiographies from Nam vets during my formative years) plus 3 full mags in reserve plus one in my M-9 for 60 9mm rounds.
Plus of course my aid bag, a Blackhawk backpack as was normal in that Era. In my primary vehicle, there was also an EMS style oxygen bag including an intubation kit, as well as backup dressings and fluids, and a 80s Era MOLLE aid bag for a Pharm Bag for things that didn't need to be in the Aid Bag.
Tossed the '03-04 bag on a scale at one point for 56#. The primary bag in '05-06 weighed at 63#. My IBA was so heavily laden that I attempted a pushup in full rattle and couldn't break the plane because the add-on equipment prevented me from going "all the way down."
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