BlueTrain, my Grandfather was a BAR man in Europe. He drug out his belt one day and was showing it to all the grand kids. He also had a bandolier that was essentially three of the BAR pouches on a web strap.
He said that doctrine called for him to have an assitant gunner to help lug spare mags, but that never materialized. He was also supposed to be issued a .45 Automatic, but that never materialized either.
Our platoon sergeant was very quick to chastise anyone caught playing "Rambo" with ammo belts. Most of our guys would carry a drum for the SAW somewhere on thier vest.
In regards to a PDM, our TO&E, designed to fight the Russians in the Fulda Gap mind you, didn't allow for designated marksman at the individual platoon level. However, our H&H Troop did, and had several M-16A3s with nice optics and refurbished M-14s with nice optics issued. However, since our H&H Troop never left the wire, our Squadron Commander worked with the Troop commanders to ensure that every platoon had atleast one PDM rifle and we ran some ad hoc PDM training, too.
He had to carry a shotgun per Humvee in order to comply with the ROE about having a less lethal option.
As SIGHR stated, I learned to back a backpack/rucksack in the Boy Scouts, which served me well in the Army. I was lucky in that the furthest I ever had to carry a rucksack while deployed was no more than five or so klicks from where the Blackhawks dropped us off to where we established a patrol base.
In said rucksack, was mostly ammo and water, with a fleece, gloves, and a couple of pairs of spare socks as well. MREs were tossed out of a Blackhawk when we landed, still in cases, and we just lugged those to our patrol base as well.
In regards to back problems, my back gets stiff sometimes, but according to the VA, that was a result of a negative helicopter-ground interaction, so nothing too bad.
But then again, I'm still young and stupid, so we shall see.
NRA Life Member
"Boy Scout Problem #18: Living with the fear that one day someone will find out you can't tie anything more complicated than a square knot."