Rigors of war leave troops battling arthritis at a young age

By Seth Robbins
Stars and Stripes
Published: September 25, 2011

Staff Sgt. Thomas Wenzke would sit for hours, hunched over the five-ton truck’s window, scanning for hints of bombs along Iraq’s garbage-lined roadways. The truck — reinforced with heavy armored plates that had ruined its suspension — motored over crater-sized potholes, and Wenzke’s spine would feel every jolt. His body armor, weighing 50 to 60 pounds, added to the strain.
Convoy forays like this lasted from three to 30 hours, he said, depending on the number of breakdowns and firefights.
“By the time we got back,” he said, “I’d be bent over and hobbled like I was an old man of 50 or 60.”
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