Posted by Curt on 27 March, 2006 at 6:00 am. 1 comment.


Not too long ago all the Democrats could talk about was the lack of body armor for the troops. Bush didn’t care about the troops since there was not enough body armor…blah blah blah.

Many of us former military were saying then that it was all bullshit. Too much body armor makes you more likely to get yourself killed since you are not that mobile anymore. A groundpounder needs to be able to move and move quickly.

Well finally some in the media have taken notice:

HUSAYBAH, Iraq – Extra body armor ? the lack of which caused a political storm in the United States ? has flooded in to Iraq, but many Marines here promptly stuck it in lockers or under bunks. Too heavy and cumbersome, many say.

Marines already carry loads as heavy as 70 pounds when they patrol the dangerous streets in towns and villages in restive Anbar province. The new armor plates, while only about five pounds per set, are not worth carrying for the additional safety they are said to provide, some say.

“We have to climb over walls and go through windows,” said Sgt. Justin Shank of Greencastle, Pa. “I understand the more armor, the safer you are. But it makes you slower. People don’t understand that this is combat and people are going to die.”

Staff Sgt. Thomas Bain of Buffalo, N.Y., shared concerns about the extra pounds.

“Before you know it, they’re going to get us injured because we’re hauling too much weight and don’t have enough mobility to maneuver in a fight from house to house,” said Bain, who is assigned to the 3rd Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment. “I think we’re starting to go overboard on the armor.”

Since the insurgency erupted in Iraq, the Pentagon has been criticized for supplying insufficient armor for Humvees and too few bulletproof vests. In one remarkable incident, soldiers publicly confronted Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld about the problem on live television.

Hometown groups across the United States have since raised money to send extra armor to troops, and the Pentagon, under congressional pressure, launched a program last October to reimburse troops who had purchased armor with their own money.

Soldiers and their parents spent hundreds, sometimes thousand of dollars, on armor until the Pentagon began issuing the new protective gear.

In Bain’s platoon of about 35 men, Marines said only three or four wore the plates after commanders distributed them last month and told them that use was optional.

[…]In Euphrates River cities from Ramadi and Romanna, lance corporals to captains have complained about the added weight and lack of mobility. But some commanders have refused to listen. In the former insurgent stronghold of Fallujah, for example, commanders require use of the plates. End of story.

The Marine Corps has said a total of 28,000 sets of the plates, officially called small-arms protective inserts, or side SAPIs, will be in combat zones by April. The Army has said it is hoping to have 230,000 sets of plates in the field this year.

[…]But many Marines ? particularly those who conduct foot patrols also carrying weapons, extra ammunition, medical equipment, night vision goggles, food and water ? say the extra armor is not worth it, especially when the weather becomes unbearably hot.

“When you already have 60, 70 pounds on and you add 10 pounds when you go patrolling through the city or chasing after bad guys, that extra 10 pounds is going to make a difference. You’re going to feel it,” said Lance Cpl. David Partridge from Bangor, Maine.

Many Marines, however, believe the politics of the issue eventually will make the plates mandatory.

“The reason they issued (the plates), I think, is to make people back home feel better,” said Lance Cpl. Philip Tootle of Reidsville, Ga. “I’m not wishing they wouldn’t have issued them. I’m just wishing that they wouldn’t make them mandatory.”

Listen, I wear a bulletproof vest every day at work. Sure, I can get shot at and I have seen my friends die. But if I had to wear an extra 10 pounds I would go tell them to go Eff themselves. I still need to move quickly, I still need to run, I still need to be able to fight a guy hand to hand. All that weight is going to do is hinder that. And this is from a patrol cop.

Just last week my partner and I encountered 3 gangsters in a enclosed garage, the one I had my gun trained on decided to duck behind a car, as he rose back up the trigger on my .45 was already halfway depressed, ready to fire if any metal was in his hands. Turns out he was hiding a open beer bottle. What did we find on him later? A stolen .45 in his right pocket with 5 live rounds, and the hammer back.

When he ducked behind that car I moved quickly behind cover ready to engage. But I tell you what, if I HAD to wear 10 extra pounds of armor and this gangster with F13 tattoo’d on his face had intended on engaging me, he could have had me as I exited my patrol car because there would be no way I could have moved quickly.

To all those who never served in the military and want more armor for our troops…give it a rest. Their lives depend on moving quickly. If a IED explodes and it’s their time, then it’s their time. But at least give them the chance to move.

Other’s Blogging:

To all those who never served in the military and want more armor for our troops…give it a rest. Their lives depend on moving quickly. If a IED explodes and it’s their time, then it’s their time. But at least give them the chance to move.

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