Measures to Prevent Profiles in Combat Support Commands by ProQuest

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									Measures to Prevent Profiles
in Combat Support Commands
by   lieutenant sarah D. thoMas, usn




S
      oldiers on duty-limiting medical profiles offer       with a newer model known as the modular tactical
      reduced benefits to commands that provide logis-      vest, but the OTV is still issued to active duty members
      tics support to operations in Iraq. Medical limita-   in ancillary roles, such as supply, transportation, and
tions can prevent a Soldier from wearing body armor or      training commands.
driving, leaving fewer Soldiers to perform a steady work-       The OTV should be worn tightly around the torso to
load. For units already undermanned, medical issues can     protect core organs from some types of small projec-
compromise mission success.                                 tiles. The vest, with two small-arms protective inserts,
   Between March and August 2007, shoulder and              weighs approximately 17 pounds. The additional bur-
back pain complaints among Soldiers of the 377th            den of side, shoulder, groin, throat, and neck pieces,
Theater Support Command were numerous. Because              plus the enhanced tactical load-carrying vest and
of the physical demands of the environment, many            individual equipment belt, can result in a total system
ailments became chronic despite rest and required           weight of more than 60 pounds.
physical therapy. Recognizing this injury trend, the            When worn tightly on the torso with minimal shoul-
command identified measures for preventing injury in        der contact, the OTV attempts to distribute its weight
order to reduce physical therapy visits and avoid lost      along the surface area of the ribcage. If the vest is
work hours. Two areas identified as causing injury to       not adjusted correctly, the tactical load rests directly
Soldiers were ill-fitting body armor and misaligned         and disproportionately on the smaller surface area of
vehicle seats.                                              the shoulders. Over a prolonged period, the weight
                                                            of the system pushing down on the upper extremities
Shoulder Pain and Individual Body Armor                     can fatigue muscles, compress nerves, impinge on the
   Prolonged wear of the interceptor body armor outer       shoulder rotator cuff, reduce available range of motion,
tactical vest (OTV) is frequently blamed for common         and cause pain. Even if patients improved after a
complaints of neck and shoulder pain. Thirty percent of     period of light duty and shoulder rehabilitation, many
the physical therapy referrals at Camp Arifjan, Kuwait,     complained of pain after returning to OTV wear when
in March 2007 were related to pain caused by OTV            their shoulders again became the focal point of weight
wear. The OTV is being replaced in direct combat roles      distribution.

Note how the ill-fitted outer tactical vest does            The Soldier looks up as he adjusts the OTV to
not align at the front closing.                             clear his chin from the path of the neckline.




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