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Word Count: 908
In Tim OBriens short story The Things They Carried we are drawn into the world of the common soldier during the Vietnam War As the title implies these men carried with them many things while performing their duties These things ranged from standard gear that was carried by all of the men to equipment that was specific to each individual soldier Each person also carried particular items that were considered special to the individual possessing it Perhaps the most difficult thing to carry was the intense emotional burdens that weighed down upon everyone during such trying times Now let us explore more closely the things that these men had to carry Each character was obligated to carry a variety of weapons and gear during their tour in Vietnam Some of these standard items were P-38 can openers pocket knives heat tabs wrist watches dog tags mosquito repellant chewing gum candy cigarettes salt tablets packets of Kool-Aid lighters matches sewing kits Military Payment Certificates C rations and two or three canteens of water OBrien 387 All of these items put together could weigh between fifteen and twenty pounds depending on the individual Also included in each mans inventory were steel helmets which added another five pounds Because they operated in areas containing mines and booby-traps the men were required to carry flak jackets which weighed 67 pounds per jacket The standard weapon carried by each soldier was the M-16 rifle This weapon weighed 82 2 pounds fully loaded On top of this between eight and fourteen pounds of ammunition was also carried With just the equipment I have listed here each soldiers loadout was around 45 to 50 pounds This would be equivalent to carrying a bag of dry cement in a backpack to put this into perspective This fact enhances the significance of the storys title tremendously Some unlucky individuals had to endure additional weight due to their specific jobs As a Radio Telephone
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