Thursday, October 07, 2004

The Body Armor Lie

Over at PoliPundit a regular reader, "Oakleaf", has guest posted on John Edwards's disingenuous Body Armor statement from the debate. He is an Infantry military man and here is his post:
n the election of 1944, President Franklin D. Roosevelt chose Senator Harry S. Truman to be his vice presidential candidate. Harry S. Truman was well qualified to serve as Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces during a time of war. It is now clear, Senator John Edwards is no Harry Truman.

Yesterday in the debate, the Senator that “represents” the brave soldiers, of the 82nd Airborne Division (Hooah), stated as fact, “they sent 40,000 American troops into Iraq without the body armor they needed.” Unfortunately, as a soldier, I now must correct the Senator who wants to serve as my Commander in Chief.

One must first understand that in the Army, “equipment” is either individual equipment (personal property) or organizational equipment (unit property). Individual equipment would include such items as a uniform, while organizational equipment would include things like canteens, compasses, helmets and yes, body armor. It is interesting to note that, officers, unlike enlisted soldiers, have always had to purchase their own uniforms (individual equipment), right down to their socks and boots. Lets keep that a secret or Senator Edwards will make an advertisement stating that some soldiers in Iraq have to buy their own boots and socks! The advertisement would be factually correct, but would be as misleading as his body armor debate statement. Concerning organizational equipment, there has been a long standing tradition in the military where soldiers will often buy additional or alternative equipment to make ones life easier in the field. Often, soldiers will purchase their own equipment because it simply works a little better. Various companies, outside every post, have sprung up over the years to meet this demand. A favorite establishment for Infantry soldiers is Ranger Joe’s outside Fort Benning, GA. “Since 1963 Ranger Joe’s has offered those hard to find military items to those who serve and protect our country.” Note that Ranger Joe’s is a multi million dollar business that has been selling “needed” equipment to “American troops” since George W. Bush was a student in High School.

It is true that approximately 40,000 soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan, did not have their own issued set of “interceptor body armor.” It is equally true that every soldier did not have their own issued compass. It is not true to infer, as Senator Edwards would, that 40,000 soldiers were on patrol without body armor and in need of a compass. Only a small percentage of soldiers are engaged in combat operations at any given time. Remember that this type of equipment is organizational equipment; it does not belong to the individual. A clerk typist, one of many jobs, working in a fortified defended structure has no need, nor any desire, to wear body armor. Because this is organizational equipment, body armor can be requested as needed from a supply point and then turned in when no longer needed. There was always enough body armor in Iraq and Afghanistan so two out of every three soldiers could be wearing issued body armor at any given time. In the very unlikely event that every soldier needed torso protection at the same time, 1990s manufactured “flak vests” were available for all other soldiers that were at less risk.

An example of a life saving piece of equipment that every soldier requires, that cannot be turned in and re-issued, because you do not know when you will need it, would be a protective “gas” mask. Every soldier in Iraq and Afghanistan has their own issued protective mask and immediate access to protective clothing. Remember, a soldier knows when they will need body armor, they do not know when they will need a protective mask.

Well, just who is buying body armor? Myself, for one. I have my own set, but not for reasons that Senator Edwards would want you to believe. Nor did my family have a bake sale to buy it. My own set is “tailored” for my body dimensions so I can function a little bit easier than the government issued version. I could have saved the money, however, every rumor you have heard about “government issue” is true, especially about “G.I. socks!” Psssst, don’t tell Senator Edwards, but I also bought my own Kevlar helmet. It fits great and I look real good in it for action photos.

How the DNC and John Kerry is just like Micheal Moore...don't let the facts get in the way of misrepresenting any given situation for your own political gain.

Also remember that our military supports Bush 4 to 1.