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Bill is a genetic freak who is far stronger and more durable than any person should be. Bill absolutely dominated the sports scene in highschool and college, and has become somewhat of a celebrity. Now he's turned down various sports recruiters in order to fulfill his lifelong dream of joining the US military and killing foreigners. He easily managed to join the Marines and is currently training to be sent to Iraq. The military intends to make Bill a posterboy in order to draw in new recruits (if it weren't for his celebrity status the CIA would simply kidnap him and dissect him to see how his biology worked), and as such is willing to spend quite a bit of money on R&D to provide him with personalized combat equipment that takes advantage of his incredible strength.

Bill Stats

  • 5x muscle strength
  • 5x more durable body tissues
  • Enhanced stamina (so long as he doesn't overheat)
  • Height and size of a regular person, but around 1.3x as dense
  • Enlarged lungs
  • High blood cell count
  • Tachycardia
  • High blood pressure

The bottom 4 stats are all 'side-effects' of needing to feed Bill's incredibly energy-hungry muscles. He doesn't feel any negative effects from the thick blood, high blood pressure, and high heart rate, as his heart can pump with incredible force and his circulatory system can maintain much higher pressures.

With these improvements, Bill can carry much more weight than the average soldier and can run incredibly quickly, all while feeling less strain. The one downside to his abilities is that while exerting himself, Bill is much more prone to heatstroke than the average person, as his muscles output a lot of heat while working. He also eats and drinks much more than most people, but so long as he isn't stranded in the field for a long time, that's a non-issue.

Design Specifications

  • The location is the US
  • The R&D costs can't be more than 5 million USD (i.e no carbon nanotubing or exoskeletons or fancy stuff like that)
  • The equipment will be worn in Iraq (i.e in heat and sand)
  • The objective of the equipment is the same as for any Marine (i.e protecting the soldier while allowing them to be effective in combat)

The Question

With these specifications in mind, what gear does Bill wear when in active combat? I don't care about the aesthetics of the design, but rather the practical features of it. Keep in mind the military simultaneously wants to make him a force to be reckoned with, while still keeping him as safe as possible. That means you can't just strap an LMG to each arm and call it a day, or cover him in 500kg of bulky steel plating and say that's good enough.

What I would expect

I imagine the basics of what he will be provided are: denser and thicker armor, stronger fabrics that won't tear easily, a larger backpack, a heavier gun with more firepower, and some system or material that helps keep Bill cool. Beyond that, I don't know enough about the topic to be sure what to expect, or how his strength could best be leveraged.

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    $\begingroup$ You admit you don't know much about the topic on which you are asking the question. Because of this, your question is based on wrong assumptions, and the answers you are getting are pointing that out. Please don't get cranky with the answerers. $\endgroup$
    – L.Dutch
    May 31, 2023 at 15:02
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    $\begingroup$ Comments have been moved to chat; please do not continue the discussion here. Before posting a comment below this one, please review the purposes of comments. Comments that do not request clarification or suggest improvements usually belong as an answer, on Worldbuilding Meta, or in Worldbuilding Chat. Comments continuing discussion may be removed. $\endgroup$
    – L.Dutch
    May 31, 2023 at 19:34
  • $\begingroup$ @L.Dutch is there a reason you moved or deleted every single comment other than your own? I fail to see how your comment is more valuable than any other $\endgroup$
    – M S
    Jun 14, 2023 at 11:58
  • $\begingroup$ My comment was addressing your behavior so it had value in staying, while the remaining 22 comments had strayed away from improving the question. $\endgroup$
    – L.Dutch
    Jun 14, 2023 at 12:07

3 Answers 3

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Standard-issue gear

Bill isn't that impressive. His 5x physical strength puts him on par with professional weightlifters. There is no reason why the army would devote millions of dollars worth of development to outfit a single person with unique gear which will never be used again. Physical strength is not really a major boon in a modern warfare setting that rarely sees hand-to-hand combat. Bill is just an unusually, but not superhumanly, strong grunt who will get the same equipment as everyone else.

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Unfortunately, in the age of modern warfare, there is little use for Bill.

You mentioned the Iraq context: In fact the vast majority of foot soldiers / marines sent by the US during the Iraq War did not come under fire and even did not shoot their rifles in combat.

The armed conflict of recent times are generally fought by Armour, Air Power or Naval Power, in machines with vastly superior survivability and firepower than Bill can withstand or deliver. Against a missile, drone bomb, tank, IED or artillery shell, Bill is still as vulnerable as a standard infantryman with no hope of survival.

The only exception to this is peacekeeping duties, where marines questioned civilians, spoke to the general populace and assisted in infrastructure building - however the abilities Bill has sadly is not needed in this context.

His R&D funding will quickly be diverted to purchasing a far more useful new tank, or drone, and Bill will be given standard camouflage gear for relatively light peacekeeping duties.

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Bill is unfit for service, cannot go into combat

...except — possibly — in Russia

You write...

"Now he's turned down various sports recruiters in order to fulfil his lifelong dream of joining the US military and killing foreigners"

Okay, you just 4-F'd Bill, that sort of mentality makes Bill unsuitable as a soldier.

If Bill expresses anything like that during recruitment or basic, he is out on his ears. "Blood thirsty glory seeker" are bad traits for a modern US soldier.

Next issue...

Height and size of a regular person, but around 1.3x as dense

Bill cannot swim. He will sink like a rock if he tries, since he has 50 lbs of negative buoyancy or more.

Again, this is likely to 4-F him, if not in recruitment, no latter than basic training. And all sorts of special forces service is out of the question.

Next, you say...

Keep in mind the military simultaneously wants to make him a force to be reckoned with, while still keeping him as safe as possible.

Bill will not go into any combat.

A person that the military wants to keep "as safe as possible" will not go into combat, because the very definition of combat is that people risk getting harmed. Nothing of Bill's extraordinary physique gives him such an edge that he becomes invulnerable. It does not matter how awesome Bill is in comparison to other humans, bullets, shrapnel, explosions, chemical weapons and so on, will still do a number on any squishy human, including Bill.

And no amount of sub 5 million USD kit you put on him, will help. Remember that a M1 Abrams tank costs roundabout 18 million USD, and not even that is invulnerable.

Next you say...

The military intends to make Bill a posterboy in order to draw in new recruits

Again, Bill will not go into combat. You do not send your posterboy out to get killed. If you have put all sorts of attention on an individual and they then die in service, then you have created a public relations nightmare. Dead posterboys do not get more recruits, they get less.

Also, even if they managed to keep him safe, he is a crap posterboy! Americans do not Ooh! and Aah! over übermenchen. To get them to sign up for the military, you want to make people feel "I will fit in that service", or "I can become that".

Bill is impossible to relate to, and no-one else can aspire to be like him.

Bill is not a good posterboy.


Side track

All in all, you are not talking about the US military, you are talking about Russia. Russia loves the Potemkin style of military propaganda, all testosterone and machismo. Bill would be perfect for Russia.

Unfortunately for Bill and the question, Russia will not be equipping Bill with 5 million USD worth of kit, corruption will make sure of that. They will give him vodka and girls and hope that is enough.

Then they will send him out in a meaningless operation where he gets killed by Russia's now infamous inability to apply the latest 100 years worth of experience in conducting military operations.

And Russia being Russia, they can — of course — either completely cover up Bill's untimely demise, or spin it into something good and glorious.


Summary

Bill can possibly be a accepted as a soldier in a superhero comic — think Captain America — or in Russia.

But in a setting that has any aspiration to be realistic, Bill is — literally — unfit for any kind of service that the question specifies, because he does not fit in any slot that the US military has to offer, not even as a propaganda vehicle.

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