Thursday, December 18, 2003

Even though the vulnerability of troops is obvious --

American troops are dying in Iraq and suffering amputations and other massive injuries while they confront the Iraqi insurgency in Humvees not designed to withstand front-line combat....

The Army's sole contractor for putting the armor plating on the standard Humvee chassis, Armor Holdings Inc., is hiring 150 workers at its Ohio plant but won't go to round-the-clock shifts until February.

Peak production won't come until April, when the company hopes to make 220 armored Humvees a month....

--Newsday, 12/14/03

--the Army doesn't want any jury-rigging armor that might literally save soldiers' lives and limbs:

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. - Fearing roadside bombs and sniper bullets, the members of the Army Reserves' 428th Transportation Co. turned to a local steel fabricator to fashion extra armor for their 5-ton trucks and Humvees before beginning their journey to Iraq earlier this month.

But their armor might not make it into the war, because the soldiers didn't get Pentagon approval for their homemade protection.

The Army, which is still developing its own add-on armor kits for vehicles, doesn't typically allow any equipment that is not Army-tested-and-approved, Maj. Gary Tallman, a Pentagon spokesman for Army weapons and technology issues, said Thursday.

"It's important that other units out there that are getting ready to mobilize understand that we are doing things" to protect them, Tallman said, "but there's policy you have to consider before you go out on your own try to do something."

The possibility that soldiers could be denied extra protection because of an Army policy has outraged some of the friends and neighbors who tied to help the Missouri reserve unit.

"I think it's the stupidest thing I ever heard of," said Virgil Kirkweg, owner of the Jefferson City steel company that rushed to meet the local reserve unit's armor request. "I just hope the government is not dumb enough to make them go out there without something that's going to protect them somewhat."

The 72 vehicles operated by the 428th Transportation Co. aren't designed for battle and so have thin metal floorboards and, in some cases, a canvas covering for doors....


The Bush administration never had an adequate plan for what would happen after Baghdad fell. This is a consequence.

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