Soldiers help scientists study physical demands - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

Soldiers help scientists study physical demands

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FORT STEWART (WTOC) -

A handful of soldiers donned full battle gear inside a motorpool and went through some of the most physically demanding jobs of combat.

Pairs of soldiers picked up a .50 caliber machine gun and hurriedly carried it down a lane. Others loaded and unloaded 35 pound mortar shells in rapid succession.

Perhaps one of the toughest was dragging a 270 pound dummy that simulated a fallen comrade.

"Moving the dummy was the most challenging thing," said Sgt. Shawanna Washington, a 141 pound member of the 2nd Brigade.

She's one of the soldiers who volunteered to be studied as she performed the combat drills.

Washington, a cook, put herself through the paces so doctors and scientists can measure her heart rate, oxygen intake, and other vitals to measure soldier performance.

The data could serve several purposes.

"We train soldiers to do specific tasks. What we really haven't done is break down some of those tasks and look at them in detail so we can see, what do those tasks really require," explained Dr. Edward Zambrasky, of the US Army Research Institute for Environmental Medicine.

Zambrasky said the tests could eventually help evaluate new soldiers and help match them to certain military jobs and careers.

That could save months of training for jobs that don't suit them, which could save the Army and, ultimately, taxpayers.

The researchers are one year into a three year study.

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