Body Armor?

Day 20
The trip to the airport to get cell phone stuff is becoming a real circus. Lots of people going just so they can get off the base and see civilian society again. I didn’t go today. I’m going tomorrow. Of course, now that I’ve threatened to spend money the Internet seems to be up a little more often. It stayed up all day yesterday and seems to be making it through today. I also finally got blessed so that I can use the 802.11 wireless access. All in all, I’ve discovered that Internet access is really important to me out here. So the more options I have for making sure I have internet access, the happier I am.

We’ve been talking about Internet access for three days now. Let’s find a new topic. There’s some discussion of a couple of operations coming up. OpSec precludes me from going into any detail here. However, it will be good to get some other things going on. New problems to solve, action to be involved in, risks to take, reasons for all of you to worry about and pray for me.

I suppose some of you have seen the articles about families and friends spending their own money to provide body armor for their loved ones over here. Yeah, well, my own unit does not have enough to issue out to all the members of our unit. My duties require me to wear body armor part of the time. This is mostly for show but I’m required nonetheless. I went to get my issue. The helmet is too small. It fits on my head but gives me a headache after about ten minutes. I wear it anyway. My flak jacket is also too small. The flak jackets they issue only stop flak and glancing rounds. If I get hit with a well aimed round I’m probably screwed. Where I am currently working my biggest risk is vehicle accidents and mishaps. So I’m not overly concerned about it. If I find that I’m heading north, I will probably purchase my own body armor and helmet along with a few other pieces of equipment.

It should be noted that part of what is going on here is that the military issues one type of body armor. Better stuff is available. The same is true of most of the equipment we’re issued. The boots I was issued are mediocre and don’t fit well. I purchased my own. The unit used discretionary funds to purchase good quality sunglasses for the unit. What is available through the military supply system is inadequate for the conditions out here. Of course, those of us who need prescription lens were left to our own devices for getting those lens. Don’t get me wrong here. The unit went above and beyond in getting us sunglasses. I’m very happy that they did it. It shouldn’t have been necessary.

When Congress considers military spending they would prefer to spend money on big ticket hardware that brings industry and jobs to their constituencies than to spend it on improving and retaining the service members. The men and women going into Iraq and other hot fire zones around the world ought to have the very best equipment money can buy. Typically, what they and we have is equipment developed and produced by the lowest bidder. Immediate family members of military service members should have excellent housing, excellent schools, excellent medical and dental care. Military families make huge sacrifices for the sake of our country, our freedom and our liberty. The country should be taking better care of them than it does.

There are a thousand quotes that talk about the fact that freedom and liberty are not free. They are paid for in blood by each generation. People can talk about world peace and stopping war but the simple fact is that there are people in the world today who are free because there were people in the previous generation who were tough enough to fight the bloody battles required to either win it or keep it. I’ve met a few of those people from the current generation while I’ve been here. Quite honestly, I consider that one of the privileges of serving over here.


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