Operation Truth is a blog written by people who served in the Iraq war. It features issues that concern them -- and us -- in the war on terrorism. It also talks about something that is just a shame to our country:the lack of sufficient armor for HUMVEES.You might remember, when Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld visited there a while back he was confronted in Kuwait by a reservist who asked basically "why do our humvees not have enough armor?" The secretary's answer was typically evasive. The problem remains.
In one post from Operation Truth, an Iraq War veteran wrote:
"...In Baghdad our vehicles we to be turned in for low armor, light skin HUMMVVs. We had been taking fire for some time and the vehicles were too unequipped for the missions that we performed. We lined our vehicles with sandbags and proceeded with our missions. Toward the end of our rotation in Iraq we were performing a routine TCP mission when a small truck swerved in front of one of our squad leader's vehicles and dropped an IED [Improvised Explosive Device, or roadside bomb]. It exploded immediately, tore through the sandbags, shattering both of the squad leaders legs and sending shards of metal into the head of his driver. That is just one example of many where an up-armored HUMMVV would have saved these soldiers from injury..." -- Futomara, an Infantryman who served in Iraq.
In the face of a lack of supply, the soldiers are having to jury-rig stuff call "Hillbilly Armor" from old vehicles (some of which were destroyed because they didn't have enough protection). With all the talk about sending care packages to our troops and making sure that they have what they need, and what we are doing for the Iraqi people, let's press our elected representatives to give them what they need to keep from getting killed.
The Congress acknowledged the problem. In the text of a bill on military appropriations (s.871) it reads:
(1) United States military personnel serving in Operations Iraqi Freedom have experienced significant shortages of critical equipment, such as body armor , aircraft survivability equipment, and armored trucks, including up-armored High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicles. In many cases the shortages have lasted several months. For example, the individual body armor needed for protecting every member of the Armed Forces and Department of Defense civilians in Iraq was not produced and fielded until February 2004, 11 months after Operation Iraqi Freedom was launched. Shortages of armor for Army trucks still existed as of the beginning of 2005.(emphasis mine)
(2) Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom have taken a substantial toll on military equipment of the Armed Forces. The commanding general of the Army Material Command estimated in 2004 that the Army is wearing out its equipment in Iraq and Afghanistan at a rate that could be up to 10 times faster than the rate at which it wears out its equipment elsewhere during peacetime, and there are no significant reserve stocks of that equipment remaining. (again my emphasis)
(3) It is a solemn obligation of the United States Government to ensure that, whenever the Armed Forces are called into battle, the military personnel fighting or supporting the battle are provided with the safest, most effective technology and equipment.
So the Senate did the right thing and voted for more money. Read more at USATODAY.com, but one of my senators, John Warner of Virgina, voted "Nay" while George Allen voted "Yay". Kind of makes me wonder what my vote will be the next time they come up for reelection. I have worked for the Federal Government for 16 years now. If I don't have what I need to do my job, I might miss an interview, or I might not be able to make copies, or might need new batteries. If the guys (and gals) in Iraq don't have what they need, they get their asses shot off. That's not right! D.