U.S. Soldiers Simply Not Getting What They Need - Part 2

Please continue the discussion here.

Rascal
Moderator

The troops are still being asked to put up basic equipment (body armor, etc.) that the government should be issuing to them. More than 2 years into the war, and the Bush administration doesn’t seem to give a damn about ensuring that the supply problems (many noted at the start of the war) are solved. .

The attitude of the Bush administration is simply incredible – that the troops’ needs would be so well within our industrial capability to provide and yet there would be no effort from the government to ensure the troops get what they’re asking for.

Maybe they need what they needed in Vietnam. We’d need a draft, and we’d need to triple deployment to 500,000. We’d need 13 years too. The Vietnam War cost the United States 58,000 lives and 350,000 casualties. So we’d need that. Add on the more than 58,000 Vietnam vets who committed suicide after they got back. And after all that, we still LOST. (Though perhaps if you drink the Washington Times Kool-Aid and are on a dilaudid drip like Rush Bimbaugh you think we WON in Vietnam.) In any event, Iraq is proving to be a much more resilient opponent. Iran or Syria… don’t make me laugh. Maybe the US should stick to picking on nations like Grenada. The one good part of this is some of the posters on Forumosa would get drafted and could post us live reports from the field about how our glorious leader is winning the war.

I can’t help but wonder if the bad-equipment situation is hurting recruitment efforts. Once these teenagers hear that they’re going to be sent down narrow streets laden with IEDs with “hillbilly armor” protecting their hides, it’s a bit harder to sign off on those forms. If people felt that their government was really doing its best to take care of the troops sent over there perhaps it wouldn’t be so much of a problem to get new troops.

Recruiter: “You need to have a better attitude about serving your country.”

Recruit: “The country needs to have a better attitude about serving the troops!”

[quote]Pentagon recruiting kids with mass data mining scheme
By Thomas C Greene in Washington
Published Thursday 23rd June 2005 20:04 GMT

The US military has retained the services of a commercial privacy invasion outfit to assemble detailed dossiers on all American high school children and college students, according to a report in the Washington Post.
[/quote]

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2005/06/23/uncle_sam_wants_your_data/

Moderator Note: Please remember to link to quoted sources rather than quoting large portions of the article itself.

Well, here it is a few months later (from when we were last discussing the Military Times polls right before the election), and the troops are moving away from Bush pretty fast, much as I predicted.

Apparently a GOP experiment was to take a segment of the population for granted, screw them in lethal ways, and see if they support you. Far from the “80%” support figures speculated at earlier in this thread, the latest numbers from the Military Times are now much lower:

Poll results article here.

[quote]Approval of the president

Somehow, appropriate for this thread.

…and its not Photoshopped.

Wow. Those folks are pretty kooky. Just guessing here, but are those Republicans?

The sooner that our anti-troop Republican leaders repudiate this, the better. Perhaps Bush and other members of his cabinet will be willing to come out to say he does not endorse these views. While he’s at it, he can also say he does not endorse sending troops into bogus wars anymore and heartily apologizes for the nearly 2,200 troops who have died in Iraq based on his lies.

nytimes.com/2006/01/08/opinion/08sun2.html
Marines Without Armor - New York Times

Investigative article in NYTimes about armor issues

It’s about time our anti-troop GOP leadership stopped “showing leadership” and actually started leading – obviously they don’t give a damn about the supply situation and are passively waiting it out.

Aside from the armor issue, let’s have another look at how the stonewalling GOP still sticks with only one crony supplier to handle their humvees still:

[quote]Meanwhile, the Pentagon is still relying on another small factory in Ohio to armor all of the military’s principal transport trucks, the Humvee, and it remains backlogged with orders. The factory, owned by Armor Holdings, increased production in December after reports in The Times about delays drew criticism from Congress. But the Marine Corps said it was still waiting for about 2,000 of these vehicles to replace other Humvees in Iraq that are more lightly armored, and did not expect final delivery until June.

An initiative begun by the Pentagon nearly two years ago to speed up production by having additional companies armor new Humvees remains incomplete, Army officials said.[/quote]

Makes one wonder if the buck stops anywhere with the GOP leadership. Having the White House and both houses of Congress, the Republicans simply bide their time allowing U.S. troops to continue bleeding out.

Here’s what’s happening to our troops:

[quote]The 120-degree June heat and rising tension in Falluja had already frayed the nerves of the Marine women when the cargo truck they were riding in pulled onto the main road and turned toward camp. It was only a 15-minute trip. But the blast took mere seconds to incinerate lives.


Several of the women lost the skin on their hands. One’s goggles fused to her cheeks. After rolling 50 yards on fire, the truck flipped and spilled the women onto the road, where enemy snipers opened fire. With their own ammunition bursting in the heat, the women crawled and pulled one another from the burning wreckage.


“It was like somebody had ripped her face off,” said Cpl. Sally J. Saalman, the leader of the group, who was waving her own hands to cool them. "I told her, ‘It’ll be all right, babe.’ "[/quote]

Nearly three years after the Iraq war was started based on a pack of lies by the Bush administration, they still don’t have the willingness to supply our troops with the basic equipment they need. What sort of vehicle were these troops in?

Three years into World War II, do you think that we would ever have been sitting about on our thumbs while troops f**king roasted and died for lack of a little steel plating? The Bush administration is taking its sweet-ass time coming up with armored vehicles for our troops … but if you were to go back some 60+ years you’d find our Depression-era economy breaking into massive activity to provide battleships, airplanes, tanks, armored halftracks, and so on … and even supplying our allies with trillions of dollars of supplies along the way. Clearly the GOP leadership doesn’t even give a crap. :fume:

Bullets and shrapnel do strange things.
They tend to delflect and penetrate in the weirdest ways.
Mobility is needed for mission completion.
They need to function and survive with mobility.
“Mobile, agile & hostile” is needed in infantry operations.
The S.A.P.P.I. plates work, but bring weight up to 16.4 lbs.
See previous article:

[quote]Update 6: U.S. Soldiers Question Use of More Armor
By RYAN LENZ , 01.07.2006, 04:28 PM

U.S. soldiers in the field were not all supportive of a Pentagon study that found improved body armor saves lives, with some troops arguing Saturday that more armor would hinder combat effectiveness.

The unreleased study examined 93 fatal wounds to Marines from the start of the Iraq war in March 2003 through June 2005. It concluded 74 of them were bullet or shrapnel wounds to shoulders or torso areas unprotected by traditional ceramic armor plating.

Soldiers from the 101st Airborne Division’s 3rd Brigade “Rakkasans” are required to wear an array of protective clothing they refer to as their “happy gear,” ranging from Kevlar drapes over their shoulders and sides, to knee pads and fire-resistant uniforms.

But many soldiers say they feel encumbered by the weight and restricted by fabric that does not move as they do. They frequently joke as they strap on their equipment before a patrol, and express relief when they return and peel it off. (more at link - link works)
forbes.com/business/manufact … 34673.html[/quote]

From the NY Times article:

[quote]Military officials said they had originally decided against using the extra plates because they were concerned they added too much weight to the vests or constricted the movement of soldiers. Marine Corps officials said the findings of the Pentagon study caused field commanders to override those concerns in the interest of greater protection.

“As the information became more prevalent and aware to everybody that in fact these were casualty sites that they needed to be worried about, then people were much more willing to accept that weight on their body,” said Maj. Wendell Leimbach, a body armor specialist with Marine Corps Systems Command, the corps procurement unit.[/quote]

Looks like the Marines in combat know a lot more than the pencil-pushers at Forbes. But, then, isn’t Forbes that GOP presidential candidate whose entire platform consisted of cutting the taxes on rich people like himself?

The Administration still has no explanation for the continuing absence of armored vehicles for the troops, nearly 3 years in on this war. Nice. The Republican Party’s plan for everything is to give exclusive deals to their cronies.

Sounds to me like negligent homicide.

When I was at Ft Bragg, many a day we went out lugging 135lbs+…that’s 62kg for you Euro-lackies.

[quote]From 2000 until 2004, I was an infantry officer in the Army. I deployed with a light-infantry platoon to Afghanistan in 2002, then with a platoon of Army Rangers to Iraq in 2003 and back to Afghanistan in 2004. While I can testify that soldiers usually appreciate the protection body armor gives them, the load shouldered by the average infantryman often hinders his ability to fight - especially at high altitude as in Afghanistan.

But in Iraq, as well, the “soldier’s load” is often unbearable. Most studies recommend that a soldier should not be burdened with more than one-third of his body weight. But if you take a 160-pound soldier and put 40 pounds of Kevlar and body armor on him and then he picks up an automatic weapon, ammunition, water and first aid equipment, it’s not long before he is carrying half his body weight - and he is then expected to run, jump and fight insurgents, themselves carrying little more than a 10-pound AK-47. All of this, of course, often takes place in 120-degree heat in the cities of Iraq.

Lost among the politicians’ cries for more extensive armor for the troops is the fact that most soldiers, in my experience and based on discussions with many, feel they have enough armor already - and many feel they are increasingly being burdened with too much equipment. And the new supplementary body armor unveiled this week in Washington doubles the weight of the equipment - worn over the torso and, now, the upper arms - to 32 pounds from 16 pounds (for a medium-sized soldier).[/quote]

nytimes.com/2006/01/14/opinion/14exum.html

Dragon Skin Body Armor

"One of the soldiers who lost his coveted Dragon Skin is a veteran operator. He reported that his commander expressed deep regret upon issuing his orders directing him to leave his Dragon Skin body armor behind. . . .

"Currently nine U.S. generals stationed in Afghanistan are reportedly wearing Pinnacle Dragon Skin body armor, according to company spokesman Paul Chopra. Chopra, a retired Army chief warrant officer and 20±year pilot in the famed 160th “Nightstalkers” Special Operations Aviation Regiment (Airborne), said his company was merely told the generals wanted to “evaluate” the body armor in a combat environment. Chopra said he did not know the names of the general officers wearing the Dragon Skin.

Pinnacle claims more than 3,000 soldiers and civilians stationed in Iraq and Afghanistan are wearing Dragon Skin body armor, Chopra said. Several months ago DefenseWatch began receiving anecdotal reports from individual soldiers that they were being forced to remove all non-issue gear while in theater, including Dragon Skin body armor, boots, and various kinds of non-issue ancillary equipment. . . ."

This is an issue that the anti-troop GOP leadership probably hate. This is absolutely going to kill the image that they’ve tried to portray of their being “good for defense”, but of course there’s a huge difference between an Eisenhower presidency (i.e., leadership from a guy who cared about his men and knew the costs and destruction of war) and this Bush presidency (i.e., “showing leadership” from a guy who couldn’t even do his own Texas Air National Guard duty).

Some new information for those following this thread. A rather long, but info rich article detailing the development and current status of troop euiptment load - both Matrine Corps & U.S. Army.
Detailing protective euipt. as well as newly developed personal armaments. Interesting - but it is a rather long read.
There has been a fundamental re-think of what the role of an Infantry Soldier should be. Training has been modified to accomodate this change. It is a significant step forward in the evolutionary position of the grunt. I was once an 11B.

[quote] Infantry transformed by new tools, training
By Sydney J. Freedberg Jr., National Journal

SAND HILL TRAINING AREA, FORT BENNING, Ga. – The Army drill sergeant rebuked a group of recruits who had fired their rifles too hastily in a mock ambush. “You know we’ve got civilians on the battlefield,” said 1st Sgt. Dennis Williams. “Just because your buddy fires, doesn’t mean you fire.”

You’ve got to be aware of exactly what you’re shooting at, Williams told the soldiers. Be aware of what you’re not shooting at, too; don’t focus on the first target that pops up and forget your flank. “Everybody wants to kill that same guy, but those guys over there,” he said gesturing to the side, “would’ve wiped us all out!” Be aware even when the battle is won and you’re searching the prisoners for weapons, insignia, family photos, Williams said. “You’ve got to be checking everything. Every piece of information you find is important.”

Williams wasn’t shouting. He did not even raise his voice. He just shook his head and said, exasperated, “You all are in week 11.”

The two dozen recruits sitting on the concrete floor knew exactly how serious their situation was. Today’s ambushers were pop-up paper targets, the prisoners were mannequins, the road unmined. But soon the targets, bystanders, and bombs would be live. In less than a month, these recruits would graduate from their 14-week course at Fort Benning’s Infantry Training Brigade and join regular units headed, sooner or later, to Iraq.

Staff Sgt. Robert Col