<\body> Stories in America: Iraq Vets Call for Hearings on Body Armor Shortage

Monday, January 09, 2006

Iraq Vets Call for Hearings on Body Armor Shortage

Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, the first and largest Iraq and Afghanistan war vets organization, is calling on the Senate Armed Services Committee to launch an investigation into the shortages of adequate body armor for the troops. The request follows the disclosure of a secret Pentagon study that found "scores of troops may have survived if they had been wearing the latest body armor."
"What is it going to take for our leaders in Washington to finally commit to providing the best possible support for the Troops?" asked Paul Rieckhoff, an OIF veteran and the founder of IAVA (Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America). "The men and women of the military have long known that the body armor supply chain is seriously flawed, and three years into this war they’re still waiting for a solution. No American should tolerate this continuing example of bureaucracy at its worst."

Rieckhoff, who led an Army infantry platoon in Baghdad, sent a letter today to the Senate Armed Services Committee calling for an investigation into the body armor supply problems.

"There should be no higher priority for our elected officials than protecting our Troops, but so far Congress has shown little interest in fixing the body armor supply problems," Rieckhoff said today. "We’re not talking about building a bridge or rewriting the tax code. This is a matter of life and death, and bureaucratic excuses just won't cut it. We need accountability. We need hearings."


At 1/09/2006 9:42 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Not all soldiers are in favor of more armor


"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.

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.

Second Lt. Josh Suthoff, 23, of Jefferson City, Mo., said he already sacrifices enough movement when he wears the equipment. More armor would only increase his chances of getting killed, he said.

"You can slap body armor on all you want, but it's not going to help anything. When it's your time, it's your time," said Suthoff, a platoon leader in the brigade's 1st Squadron, 33rd Cavalry Regiment. "I'd go out with less body armor if I could.""

At 1/10/2006 9:54 AM, Anonymous p said...

You Bush apologists are so pathetic...it's becoming humorous.

A secret Pentagon study of 93 Marines who were killed in Iraq found that 74 died after they were hit by a bullet or shrapnel in the torso or shoulders — areas unprotected by the armor most are issued.

At 1/10/2006 3:51 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Soooo...a comment focused on the fact that not all soldiers agree that increased body armor is a good thing makes me a "Bush apologist?"

Um, okay...

Frankly, I don't exactly find it all that shocking that wearing heavy armor in 120 degree heat over rocky terrain may have some heavy downside.

Consider: Mobility is most important when the action starts. If someone is weighed down by too much equipment, no matter what it is, they move too slowly and are too vulnerable. Increasing armor is a distinct tradeoff: you are less likely to die if you're shot, but the increased weight drastically increases your chance of being shot.

Meanwhile, it also makes you more vulnerable to things like grenades, which can hit you with shrapnel where the armor ain't.

At 1/11/2006 8:54 PM, Anonymous p said...

Is that right? Are you for the war? I'm sure you wouldn't appreciate having access to the best armor and let's not forget about those humvees that need replacing. Tax cuts for the rich and crap for the troops.

At 1/12/2006 9:14 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Don't get me wrong P. I'm all for whatever it takes -- money, armor, weapons, you-name-it -- to keep our troops alive and well.

It's just that this armor issue may not be as cut and dry as you think. Heavy armor does have it's drawbacks. And that's according to soldiers in Iraq who have written about this and a few I've talked to personally.


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