Too Much Heavy Weight

James Love 20” x 16” • Mixed Media

James Love
20” x 16” • Mixed Media

“Too Much Heavy Weight” was inspired by the suffocating feeling I felt as I read through Thomas Cannon’s account, “Heavy Weight.” I felt smothered by the materials he carried, and even more weighed down by the burden of war he carried. As I read, I found my reading interrupted by the image in my mind of a man crushed under rocks. I felt that the image was a simple, yet powerful metaphor to describe the crushing weight that I felt figuratively.

Inspired by the experiences of Thomas Cannon

Heavy Weight
by Thomas Cannon

The weight of the fight is heavy. Every ounce makes the fight harder, and every ounce saved makes it easier. The uniform is light and feels comfortable. My boots were broken in from the hundreds of miles walked in them. I wear one knee pad to keep from burning my knee on the pavement. My vest is heavy by itself, and the weight added to it is heavy but necessary. I carry 300 rounds of ammo in the front, and 120 more in the back.

I carry an MBITR radio to talk to my squad, and a Harris radio to talk to the platoon and company. The extra batteries are stored in a pouch on my vest. I keep my night vision in a canteen pouch with a canteen cup to protect them. I need extra batteries for those as well because you never know. Most Soldiers carry a big knife, but I prefer two small ones. The multi-tool is important for small repairs. My first aid pouch would be the envy of most medics in previous wars giving me the ability to either keep my brothers or myself alive. I keep a map and markers in a small pouch along with a compass and protractor.

The five pistol magazines are for a last stand. The M-9 pistol is a heavy paperweight almost as effective as throwing rocks. Each man carries three puck breaches made from skoal tins, c-4, and blasting caps. The Vf-17 panels are to mark cleared buildings or show we are good guys. Our helmets are heavy. The NVG mount and small light are securely attached. The standard m-4 rifle weighs 5.65 lbs, but then you add a light, PEQ-15 laser, and whatever sight you are using. Water is essential to life in this hellish part of the world and we carry at least three liters. The go bag will travel with you always. It is smaller than a rucksack but packed with more necessities.

An additional combat load of ammo for your rifle, 200 rounds for the M240B, Chem.-lights for multiple applications, extra water, food, and extra batteries for all of this high-tech gear. You bring your small patrol sleeping bag and there is no room for novelty items. By the end of the day you have added 100 plus pounds to your own weight.

The leader carries the mission, and decisions that will bring your Soldiers home from the fight. This is the heaviest burden to carry. Right or wrong you have to make that damn decision. We carry poleless litters and body bags for their intended purposes. You carry the routes, the rally points, and the ability to call in the 9line MEDEVAC or air support because you have done all of this many times before. The knowledge of what is coming weighs heavy. The fight will happen, you will see your Soldiers change into what they have been trained to be, the beautiful monster that the enemy will fear forever. You carry the love for them, and the memories of heroes that have touched your soul forever.