Protecting Military Convoys in Iraq: An Examination of Battle Injuries Sustained by a Mechanized Battalion during Operation Iraqi Freedom II

1st Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion, 1st Marine Division, Camp Pendleton, CA 92055, USA.
Military medicine (Impact Factor: 0.77). 07/2005; 170(6):546-9. DOI: 10.7205/MILMED.170.6.546
Source: PubMed


Improvised explosive devices and mines pose a formidable threat to military convoys traveling in Iraq. This study evaluated battle injuries sustained by a mechanized battalion operating against this threat. The objective was to gain insight into injury profiles and prevention. In the period examined, 32 attacks injured 120 Marines, causing 188 injuries. Upper extremity and head injuries (70%) were common, whereas lower extremity injuries (11%) were rare (as expected, given the threat and the body areas exposed). Shoulder and axilla protectors may be beneficial, but lower arm and hand injuries remain difficult to combat. Ear injury was the most common single injury type (23%). Combat earplugs may reduce ear blast injuries. Eye injuries were uncommon (0.5%), likely because of ballistic eye protection. Injury to the torso (11%) was generally mild, because of body armor vests. The majority of wounds were minor, allowing > 80% of the injured Marines to return to duty.

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