Here’s a grassroots view of “the hidden extent of systemically ill-considered acquisition
actions” for U.S. troops in Iraq, according to a weapons expert who brought it to my attention:
By: Sgt. Zachary A. Bathon
CAMP VIRGINIA, Kuwait – In a large warehouse outside of Kuwait
City civilian contractors from more than 25 countries around the world work in two, 12-hour
shifts seven days a week.
They are working around the clock in temperatures reaching 120
degrees to ensure U.S. Marines are protected from improvised explosive devices and small-arms
fire during convoy operations by installing new panels, dubbed up-armor, to the gunner’s turret,
undercarriage and sides of their vehicles.
“Since February we have installed more than 5,000 kits on Marine
Corps vehicles,” said Chief Warrant Office 2 Eric Gilmer, who hails from Columbus, Ohio, and is
a project team leader from Logistics Command, Marine Corps Base Albany, Ga. “The guys in my
shop call this ‘Operation Armor All.'”
The issue raised by Bathon’s report is not how well protected those 5,000 vehicles may now
be, our weaons expert says, but rather: “Do the services buy humvees and tanker trucks
only for use in parades?” As we know from recent headlines, inadequately armored humvees and
tanker trucks are still being sent into hot combat zones.
Sorry, I can’t find Bathon’s report online at the moment. But it’s out there on one of
the Marine Corps sites. When I have it, I’ll let you know.