Democrat From Kentucky

Democrat from Kentucky
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Defense Dept. Nixes Some Personal Body Armor Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Cynicus pointed this story out earlier today. The website, Soldiers for the Truth, ran a couple of articles in their online magazine DefenseWatch.

The first article mentions problems with soldiers and their body armor. The body armor in question is called Dragon Skin from a company called Pinnacle. The writers at the site have been talking to soldiers getting ready to deploy:

Two deploying soldiers and a concerned mother reported Friday afternoon that the U.S. Army appears to be singling out soldiers who have purchased Pinnacle's Dragon Skin Body Armor for special treatment. The soldiers, who are currently staging for combat operations from a secret location, reported that their commander told them if they were wearing Pinnacle Dragon Skin and were killed their beneficiaries might not receive the death benefits from their $400,000 SGLI life insurance policies. The soldiers were ordered to leave their privately purchased body armor at home or face the possibility of both losing their life insurance benefit and facing disciplinary action.

Now... the armor in question runs about $6000. The soldiers and their families paid for the stuff themselves yet they were told they couldn't wear it. They had to leave it at home. What was one of the major problems early on in the war? It was lack of protection. Now, we look at the fact that 9 top brass in Afghanistan who're "testing" the body armor. The argument being since it's not "officially approved" body armor, then it's not to be used.

So, the soldiers and their families fork out hard earned money for body armor that's at least as good as what they're getting off the plane. What am I referring too. Well, a recent Marine internal document surfaced on this article on the site as well suggesting the standard issue Interceptor OTV body armor ain't so great.

A recent United States Marine Corps forensic study obtained by DefenseWatch slams the Interceptor OTV body armor system, claiming "as many as 42% of the Marine casualties who died from isolated torso injuries could have been prevented with improved protection in the areas surrounding the plated areas of the vest. Nearly 23% might have benefited from protection along the mid-axillary line of the lateral chest. Another 15% died from impacts through the unprotected shoulder and upper arm," the report says.

The internally produced report revealed that a random sample of 93 Marine deaths studied for the report showed that 60 percent of the fatalities suffered by the Marines who were killed in Iraq between March 2003 and June 2005 died from gunshot wounds received while wearing Interceptor OTV body armor. Another 38 percent died from wounds sustained in Improvised Explosive Device (IED) attacks while wearing Interceptor gear and roughly two percent died from unknown causes.

Let's sum up. The U.S. military isn't letting soldiers use armor they chose to purchase with their money. The U.S. military also says the current armor isn't doing the job. They're saying that improved quality armor would probably have prevented a lot of marine deaths. As Cynicus suggested, "Although the Army and Marines have authorized soldiers to purchase their own body armor, apparently it is a violation of regs to use a brand that hasn't paid their kickbacks - even when it's one that the flag-rank brass is choosing for themselves."

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posted by Stithmeister @ 8:11 PM

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Location: Harrodsburg, Kentucky, United States

I'm currently working in the telecomm industry but one of my passions is still politics.

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