until you've walked the walk on the streets of a foreign country where people want to kill you, don't believe everything you hear in the media. i'm sitting in abu ghraib, iraq right now, and just because i haven't been hit by an IED in the last 6 months doesn't mean it's not going to happen. we (as soldiers) do not overreact in the situation. we're also never "bored" while outside the wire. i understand that posting a reply on slashdot will not change your opinion, but i feel a need to defend my profession and my brothers in arms. i've lost a lot of friends here, and whether or not you agree with the wars or the actions of my comrades doesn't matter. you should still respect them for volunteering. what's reported is (mostly) never true.
we have different helmets now than back in the gulf war. a different design, different padding, different chinstrap. it's a lot different. but they do about the same thing.
i'd second adding battery life. instead of a solar charger that he won't be able to use EVER, get him an external battery that he can charge, or just a battery powered charger. since he's light armor recon, he'll have vehicle access. i'm army recon, and i've never had my ipod die in 3 year-long deployments. you always get a chance to charge it. and since he's the medic, they'll treat him good. the other point i wanted to bring up is solar-powered anything in combat. everyone thinks it's always sunny and awesome in the desert. far from the truth. if it is sunny, you're usually working twice as hard and don't have time for solar. good luck to him and i hope he has an easy deployment.