When you feel the ‘pressure’ – Blast pressure, water contamination, and Afghanistan – Ep 12

I’ve fired around a half dozen belt fed weapons systems during my time in service; some bigger and louder than others, and all of them a kick ass way to spend an afternoon.  Well, that is until you realize the effects of firing them over a longer period of time. It’s not just loud noise or dangerous, hot metal. I remember spending an entire day working as a lane safety for a .50 cal machine gun range.  I stood less than three feet from a firing heavy machine gun all day, burning my hands as I changed the barrels when they became too hot despite using a specially designed heat mitten. At a certain point of temperature, it doesn’t matter anymore.  Glove or not, you’re getting burned. I remember I set a hot barrel a bit too close to the side of my foot while it was cooling and the damn barrel burned my foot through my boot.

This is part and parcel the Army’s (and I’m assuming the Marine Corps as well) main area of training.  We’d spent hundred of hours a year on a variety of ranges and not just when we were the ones firing.  It takes dozens of people to run most ranges, so in the lovely mist that is Fort Lewis in the winter and spring, your entire platoon would be spend whole days at the range, near these loud and dangerous devices.  But what if that was enough to hurt you? I was already told as long as we had proper eye and ear protection, we were golden. The truth is much darker.

00:45 – Blast pressure report on heavy use of crew served weapons

11:40 – Afghanistan update from recent SIGAR report

22:32 – Water contamination at 126 DOD sites

In Vets, Even Mild Case of TBI Linked to Increased Risk of Dementia – Karen Kaplan – Los Angeles Times

Gunners Using Shoulder-Borne Heavy Weapons at Risk for Brain Damage – Stars and Stripes – Wyatt Olson

Update to last week’s post on suicide and combat guilt – Matthew Hoh

Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) quarterly report to Congress – 4-30-18

DoD: At least 126 bases report water contaminants linked to cancer, birth defects – Military Times – Tara Copp

Ranks of Notorious Hate Group Include Active-Duty Military – Propublica


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FOH is hosted, written, and produced by Chris ‘Henri’ Henrikson and Danny Sjursen

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Henri

Sergeant Christopher 'Henri' Henrikson is a disabled Iraq war veteran from Portland, OR. A former military police team leader and drug suppression investigator, Henri deployed twice in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. You can contact him at henri@fortressonahill.com. Follow him on Twitter @Rorak11GGD.