Marine gets body armor for Christmas


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Manedwolf
January 9, 2006, 02:09 AM
From UPI

Mom buys body armor for son for Christmas

NEW YORK, Jan. 8 (UPI) -- A New York City mother says she spent about $3,000 for body armor -- a Christmas gift for her son in the U.S. Marines who is deployed to Iraq.

Elaine Brower said her son, James Brower, gave her a list of items Marine buddies gave him, to buy body armor online.

James Brower had been deployed to Afghanistan, but when he returned he became a New York City police officer. Now, he has been redeployed as a reserve to Iraq and when his mom asked him what he wanted for Christmas, he said "body armor."

Elaine Brower made the purchases online for $2,200. Then she spent $800 for armor for her son's legs, the New York Daily News reported Sunday.

James Brower had assisted Marines and soldiers who had lost limbs in Iraq at the New York City Marathon and they suggested leg armor -- especially to protect the femoral artery.

The son says everything fits and is comfortable and mom is set to make an Internal Revenue Service claim of up to $1,100 -- thanks to a recently enacted: "Claim for Reimbursement and Payment Voucher for Privately Purchased Protective, Safety or Health Equipment Used in Combat."

-----------------------------------

That's just not right. Those guys should be getting THE best stuff. Not the crappy Point Blank Interceptors, not older stuff, not chest but not legs...

I say to hell with all the top-2% tax cuts, and if we're at war, everyone, including the rich, make some sacrifices HERE...and make sure our men and women over there have the BEST protective gear possible. Period.

And what is wrong with the administration that they didn't already HAVE all that? We started this in 2003, it's 2006, and everyone still doesn't have the body armor they need? And the only solution is an IRS tax deduction to get the money back, some of it, if families _privately_ buy protective gear for their soldiers who are risking their lives for their country, already? What's going on with this country?

You can't run a war like you run office reimbursement for petty cash when a worker runs out to Office Depot to pick up something! Or, well, maybe that's it, since CIVILIANS, not generals, are calling the shots, and trying to run a military like a "profitable company", cutting "extraneous" things like base housing, base schools, PXes, counseling for returning soldiers, all that.

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CAnnoneer
January 9, 2006, 02:31 AM
Ain't that the truth.

"Lady, here is your 200 dollar tax decrease. Oh, by the way, If you spend 3,000 on body armor for your son, we will kindly allow you to deduct 1,100, pre-tax, naturally. Long live the Fearless Leader's economic policy of trickle-down buffoonery."

:cuss:

beerslurpy
January 9, 2006, 03:07 AM
Do you have to be related to a currently deployed soldier to qualify for the tax credit? </burns in hell>

Jeff White
January 9, 2006, 04:25 AM
The catch to the "Claim for Reimbursement and Payment Voucher for Privately Purchased Protective, Safety or Health Equipment Used in Combat."
is that once you are reimbursed, the body armor etc. becomes property of the US government.

Maned Wolf,
What makes you think the IBAS is crappy?

Jeff

TarpleyG
January 9, 2006, 08:51 AM
That's just not right. Those guys should be getting THE best stuff. Not the crappy Point Blank Interceptors, not older stuff, not chest but not legs...

I say to hell with all the top-2% tax cuts, and if we're at war, everyone, including the rich, make some sacrifices HERE...and make sure our men and women over there have the BEST protective gear possible. Period.

And what is wrong with the administration that they didn't already HAVE all that? We started this in 2003, it's 2006, and everyone still doesn't have the body armor they need? And the only solution is an IRS tax deduction to get the money back, some of it, if families _privately_ buy protective gear for their soldiers who are risking their lives for their country, already? What's going on with this country?

You can't run a war like you run office reimbursement for petty cash when a worker runs out to Office Depot to pick up something! Or, well, maybe that's it, since CIVILIANS, not generals, are calling the shots, and trying to run a military like a "profitable company", cutting "extraneous" things like base housing, base schools, PXes, counseling for returning soldiers, all that.
Okay chief...if the .gov pays for the latest and greatest and tries (unsuccessfully for sure) to keep up with technology, it would cost literally billions of dollars. Logistically and financially it is a no win situation. People bitch because we are spending too much on the war. People bitch because we are not spending enough on the war. War is war and people die. It's a sad thing. Perhaps we should pull out.

Greg

Manedwolf
January 9, 2006, 09:46 AM
The catch to the "Claim for Reimbursement and Payment Voucher for Privately Purchased Protective, Safety or Health Equipment Used in Combat."
is that once you are reimbursed, the body armor etc. becomes property of the US government.

Maned Wolf,
What makes you think the IBAS is crappy?

Jeff

Not me...articles on armytimes, marine corps times, all those, which I hardly think are suspect sources. Like this one, from Marine Corps Times:

---------------------
The Marine Corps and Army are recalling more than 18,000 body armor vests because they failed ballistic requirements when they were manufactured in 2000 and 2001. Many of those vests may now be in the war zone.

The Nov. 16 recall order is the second in six months for the Corps, which recalled more than 5,000 vests in May. All of the vests involved were produced by the same manufacturer, Point Blank Body Armor Inc. of Pompano Beach, Fla., under contract to the Marine Corps.

The first recall, and a subsequent investigation that led to the second recall, came in response to a Marine Corps Times investigation that showed that the Corps knowingly accepted vests in 2003 and 2004 that failed to meet requirements.

Now, the Pentagon’s inspector general is considering whether to launch an investigation into how the two services buy their equipment, and why vests that didn’t meet specs made it to the field.

In the wake of the Marine Corps Times investigation, the Pentagon’s director of operational test and evaluation launched an independent review of the ballistic strength of Interceptor outer tactical vests and the services’ test methodology. It was unclear how many vests were tested or how many failed.

From 1999 to August 2000, the Army and Marine Corps purchased body armor through the same contract. But when the Army’s demand for vests increased, that service broke from the Corps’ contract, buying armor through a separate contract with Point Blank and testing the armor at a different facility.

The Marine Corps is recalling 10,342 vests; another 8,083 are being recalled by the Army.

A spokesman for the Pentagon’s inspector general said the recall is “in the process of being referred to our office” for action, but was unable to say who was making the referral.

“We’ve heard about it. We’ve heard that it’s going to be referred to us. But we haven’t gotten it yet,” said IG spokesman Gary Comerford. “Once we get it, we’ll review it … and see where it leads, and once we do, we’ll decide what action to take.”

Marine officials said the recall does not affect the ballistic plates inside the vests that protect against rifle shots. Only the outer tactical vest — which consists of layers of ballistic-resistant Kevlar material inside an outer nylon shell — is affected. The OTVs are designed to stop shrapnel and 9mm pistol rounds.

The first recall, in May, covered 5,277 vests that engineers at the Army Soldier Systems Center in Natick, Mass., believed had critical, life-threatening flaws. Army engineers in charge of certifying the quality of Marine vests recommended that the Corps not field about 19,000 vests. But Marine Corps Systems Command approved waivers for the vests and acquired them anyway.
-----------

BTW, the owner of Point Blank is a very, VERY rich man, now, who just gave a wretched-show-of-excess $10 million dollar bat mitzvah for his daughter. I've heard more than a few grumbles of "war profiteer" about him.

WT
January 9, 2006, 11:59 AM
Friday's 'The New York Times' had a scathing article about the lack of body armor for our troops in Iraq. Very grim reading.

I hesitate posting it because some THR people are offended by criticism of military practices.

petrel800
January 9, 2006, 12:02 PM
I say to hell with all the top-2% tax cuts, and if we're at war, everyone, including the rich, make some sacrifices HERE...and make sure our men and women over there have the BEST protective gear possible. Period.

This is plain and simple class warfare. So you are saying we should make the tax cuts permanent for everyone except the top-2%. So the top-2% should just pay more right, even though they already carry a majority of the tax burden. The top 10% of income earners in this country generate somewhere in the rhelm of 35% of the governments tax income.

Yet, I don't see you complaining about the fact that almost 50% of people in this country pay no income tax. A lot receive credits and other forms of subsidies which actually put them on the dole from the federal government (welfare = taking more than you put in).

Go re-read Marx and see what a progressive income tax system leads to, and if you feel as though you're not sacrificing enough, then feel free to add more to the pot. Just quit suggesting that the government hold a gun to someone elses head and take their money.

dolanp
January 9, 2006, 12:39 PM
Don't blame the taxpayers, blame the people who get huge funding allocations by Congress on top of already enormous yearly budgets and still can't manage to get good equipment. They are spending the money somewhere...

dasmi
January 9, 2006, 12:52 PM
Don't blame the taxpayers, blame the people who get huge funding allocations by Congress on top of already enormous yearly budgets and still can't manage to get good equipment. They are spending the money somewhere...
+1. Exactly. Those billions are going somewhere. Aparently not to protect our troops, but that money is being spent on something.

Old Dog
January 9, 2006, 12:59 PM
WT noted
Friday's 'The New York Times' had a scathing article about the lack of body armor for our troops in Iraq. Very grim reading.
I hesitate posting it because some THR people are offended by criticism of military practices.
No need to hesitate posting about this stuff; although I don't agree with you, WT, when you take issue with strategic priorities, I will be the first to jump on your bandwagon with regard to how flawed our procurement processes are ... and how totally screwed up some (if not most) of the funding priorities are ... The bottom line is that our system of defense appropriations is fundamentally flawed. After experiencing how cumbersome, inflexible and frustrating many of our supply practices are, during my military career, I am at a point where I believe the case may be made for zero-based budgeting.

Sergeant Bob
January 9, 2006, 01:05 PM
If they issued each and every Marine an M1 Abrams, they would still get killed and it wouldn't be enough for some people, or they'd be complaining that we were spending too much money on the military.

SIGarmed
January 9, 2006, 01:24 PM
Friday's 'The New York Times' had a scathing article about the lack of body armor for our troops in Iraq. Very grim reading.

I hesitate posting it because some THR people are offended by criticism of military practices.

The NY Times is biased plain and simple. Their reputation is their own fault.
That is why you hesitate to post an article written by those who cannot be fair.

We'll see right through it.

WT
January 9, 2006, 01:30 PM
SIG - your opinion of my motives is incorrect.

If 3 people request the article, I will put it up. Then people can judge for themselves.

Old Dog
January 9, 2006, 01:33 PM
Uh, SIGarmed, did you not see the article also posted from the Marine Corps Times?
The NY Times is biased plain and simple. Their reputation is their own fault.
That is why you hesitate to post an article written by those who cannot be fair.

We'll see right through it.In this case (although I totally agree with you on the paper's liberal bias), the Times got it right. Both the Army and the USMC have acknowledged significant problems with the supply of body armor availability for the troops -- as far as getting the best body armor systems available issued to all the personnel who require it ... the Marines have also noted that a substantial number of Marines died of torso wounds -- but quite possibly could have survived had they been wearing the superior body armor with the better, larger ceramic plates and side plates.

Old Dog
January 9, 2006, 01:40 PM
Here's another take that may be of interest, though:
http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/national/1152AP_Iraq_Body_Armor.html

hso
January 9, 2006, 01:56 PM
Let's see the NYTimes article. I want all the flavors or KoolAid not just the one on the right.

Chrontius
January 9, 2006, 02:17 PM
ditto. I want to see all of the different spins on this one. They'll all leave out some facts, but different sources drop different ones... the best way to get the whole picture is by looking at it from the left and the right.

WT
January 9, 2006, 02:33 PM
The NY Times article was 2 pages long and discussed body armor and vehicle (HUMVEE) armor. The Humvee topic is widely known. Since this thread deals with 'body armor' I took the liberty of dropping a few paragraphs dealing with vehicle armor. I don't think anything is lost by dropping the vehicle discussion.

Link to article here. Registration required.
http://www.nytimes.com/2006/01/07/politics/07armor.html

_____________________

Extra Armor Could Have Saved Many Lives, Pentagon Study Shows

By MICHAEL MOSS
The New York Times
January 6, 2006

A secret Pentagon study has found that at least 80 percent of the marines who have been killed in Iraq from wounds to their upper body could have survived if they had extra body armor. That armor has been available since 2003 but until recently the Pentagon has largely declined to supply it to troops despite calls from the field for additional protection, according to military officials.

The ceramic plates in vests currently worn by the majority of military personnel in Iraq cover only some of the chest and back. In at least 74 of the 93 fatal wounds that were analyzed in the Pentagon study of marines from March 2003 through June 2005, bullets and shrapnel struck the marines' shoulders, sides or areas of the torso where the plates do not reach.

Thirty-one of the deadly wounds struck the chest or back so close to the plates that simply enlarging the existing shields "would have had the potential to alter the fatal outcome," according to the study, which was obtained by The New York Times.

For the first time, the study by the military's medical examiner shows the cost in lost lives from inadequate armor, even as the Pentagon continues to publicly defend its protection of the troops. Officials have said they are shipping the best armor to Iraq as quickly as possible. At the same time, they have maintained that it is impossible to shield forces from the increasingly powerful improvised explosive devices used by insurgents. Yet the Pentagon's own study reveals the equally lethal threat of bullets.

The vulnerability of the military's body armor has been known since the start of the war, and is part of a series of problems that have surrounded the protection of American troops. Still, the Marine Corps did not begin buying additional plates to cover the sides of their troops until this September, when it ordered 28,800 sets, Marine Corps officials acknowledge.

The Army, which has the largest force in Iraq, is still deciding what to purchase, according to Army procurement officials. They said the Army is deciding between various sizes of plates to give its 130,000 soldiers; the officials said they hope to issue contracts this month.

Additional forensic studies by the Armed Forces Medical Examiner's unit that were obtained by The Times indicate that about 340 American troops have died solely from torso wounds.

Military officials said they had originally decided against using the extra plates because they were concerned they added too much weight to the vests or constricted the movement of soldiers. Marine Corps officials said the findings of the Pentagon study caused field commanders to override those concerns in the interest of greater protection.

"As the information became more prevalent and aware to everybody that in fact these were casualty sites that they needed to be worried about, then people were much more willing to accept that weight on their body," said Major Wendell Leimbach, a body armor specialist with Marine Corps Systems Command, the marine procurement unit.

The Pentagon has been collecting the data on wounds since the beginning of the war in part to determine the effectiveness of body armor. The military's medical examiner, Craig T. Mallak, told a military panel in 2003 that the information "screams to be published." But it would take nearly two years.

The Marine Corps said it asked for the data in August 2004; but it needed to pay the medical examiner $107,000 to have the data analyzed. Marine officials said funding and other delays resulted in the work not starting until December 2004. It finally began receiving the information by June 2005. The shortfalls in bulletproof vests are just one of the armor problems the Pentagon continues to struggle with as the war in Iraq approaches the three-year mark, The Times has found in an ongoing examination of the military procurement system.

Body armor has gone through a succession of problems in Iraq. First, there were prolonged shortages of the plates that make the vests bulletproof. This year, the Pentagon began replacing the plates with a stronger model that is more resistant to certain insurgent attacks.

Almost from the beginning, some soldiers asked for additional protection to stop bullets from slicing through their sides. In the fall of 2003, when troops began hanging their crotch protectors under their arms, the Army's Rapid Equipping Force shipped several hundred plates to protect their sides and shoulders. Individual soldiers and units continued to buy their own sets.

The Army's former acting secretary, Les Brownlee, said in a recent interview that he was shown numerous designs for expanded body armor back in 2003, and instructed his staff to weigh their benefits against the perceived threat without losing sight of the main task: eliminating the shortages of plates for the chest and back.

Army procurement officials said that their efforts to purchase side ceramic plates have been encumbered by their much larger force, and that they wanted to provide manufacturers with detailed specifications. Also, they said their plates will be made to resist the stronger insurgent attacks.

The Marines said they opted to take the older version of ceramic to speed delivery. As of early last month, officials said marines in Iraq had received 2,200 of the more than 28,000 sets of plates that are being bought at a cost of about $260 each.

Marine officials said they have supplied troops with soft shoulder protection that can repel some shrapnel, but remain concerned that ceramic shoulder plates would be too restrictive. Similarly, they said they believe the chest and back plates are as large as they can be without unduly limiting the movement of troops.

The Times obtained the 3-page Pentagon report after a military advocacy group, Soldiers for the Truth, learned of its existence. The group posted an article about the report on its website earlier this week. The Times delayed publication of this article for more than a week until the Pentagon confirmed the veracity of its report. Pentagon officials declined to discuss details of the wound data, saying it would aid the enemy.

"Our preliminary research suggests that as many as 42 percent 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," the study concludes. Another 23 percent might have been saved with side plates that extend below the arms, while 15 percent more could have benefited from shoulder plates, the report says. In all, 526 marines have been killed in combat in Iraq. A total of 1,706 American troops have died in combat.

The findings and other research by military pathologists suggests that an analysis of all combat deaths in Iraq, including those of Army personnel, would show that 300 or more lives might have been saved with improved body armor.

Military officials and defense contractors said the Pentagon's procurement troubles have stemmed in part from miscalculations that underestimated the strength of the insurgency, and from years of cost-cutting that left some armoring firms on the brink of collapse as they waited for new orders.

WT
January 9, 2006, 02:45 PM
EDITORIAL
Marines Without Armor
January 8, 2006
The New York Times

American marines are a proud, tough bunch. They expect to be sent into the most dangerous battles and expect enemy fighters to come at them with everything they have. But they also expect, and have every right to expect, the Pentagon to provide them with the most effective armor available to maximize their chances of staying alive and in one piece. An investigative article in Saturday's Times by our colleague Michael Moss makes painfully clear that the Pentagon has let these brave warriors down.

A secret Defense Department study reveals that more extensive armor, of a kind available since 2003, could have saved the lives of some 80 percent of the marines killed by upper body wounds in Iraq between 2003 and 2005. That amounts to scores of needlessly lost lives - hundreds if Army deaths attributable to inadequate armor are counted as well. The ceramic armor plates in question cost about $260 a set.

Marines in the field have been clamoring for additional body armor (and vehicle armor) almost since the Iraq war began. Military officials initially turned them down because of concerns that the added weight might constrict movement. Once the study results came in last summer, Marine Corps leaders belatedly reversed themselves and started speeding armor to the troops.

Still, as of last month, less than 10 percent of the 28,000 sets of armor plates on order had actually reached the Marines in Iraq. Similar delays have plagued deliveries of improved vehicle armor. And the much larger Army contingent in Iraq has faced even more extensive delays.

The Pentagon buys some truly wondrous space-age weaponry with its half-trillion-dollar annual budgets. If the cold war ever resumes, the American military will certainly be prepared. Meantime, surely enough spare change can be found in that vast budget to accelerate deliveries of lifesaving armor to the marines and soldiers coming under fire today, and every day, in Iraq.

USMCRotrHed
January 9, 2006, 03:27 PM
All this excitement about body armor! Just look at the helicopters. The engines abd flight controls on most combat helicopters have armor plating, but the passengers and crew members have only an aluminum skin of 0.050 thinkness protecting them. How's that for priorities! The engines are worth more than the passengers!

This is a complaint that is not going to be won by either side. Technology moves faster than logistics and budgets will ever allow. Marines have and will do the best they can with what they have. They will also do what they have to to get the best equipment they can get their hands on, whether they have to request it, buy it, or steal it from the other services.

When I was in, most of our tents were actually used Air Force surplus that they didn't want to bring home from the 1st Gulf War.

Leatherneck
January 9, 2006, 05:21 PM
All this excitement about body armor! Just look at the helicopters. The engines abd flight controls on most combat helicopters have armor plating, but the passengers and crew members have only an aluminum skin of 0.050 thinkness protecting them. How's that for priorities! The engines are worth more than the passengers! Kind of disingenuous there, Marine. What happens if the engines/transmission get taken out in a fully loaded helo? Your autorotation MAY be successful. Most likely not. All armor is a balance between ballistic protection and mobility/agility.

TC

Don Gwinn
January 9, 2006, 06:05 PM
Leatherneck, I took his meaning to be a tweak at those who would like to see 2-inch hardened steel plate covering all Humvees. As you correctly point out, although it may sound callous, it can be argued that the engine and control systems ARE more important than any individual passenger, since all the passengers and crew need those engines to stay alive.

There'd be less of an uproar over the Humvees if people knew what they are. They're not APC's, that's for sure.

engineer151515
January 9, 2006, 06:46 PM
My son's Christmas included an Eotech and a Luminox watch for his deployment.

Chip in where I can.

engineer151515
January 9, 2006, 06:46 PM
My son's Christmas included an Eotech and a Luminox watch for his deployment.

Chip in where I can.

Manedwolf
January 9, 2006, 06:58 PM
This is plain and simple class warfare. So you are saying we should make the tax cuts permanent for everyone except the top-2%. So the top-2% should just pay more right, even though they already carry a majority of the tax burden. The top 10% of income earners in this country generate somewhere in the rhelm of 35% of the governments tax income.

Yet, I don't see you complaining about the fact that almost 50% of people in this country pay no income tax. A lot receive credits and other forms of subsidies which actually put them on the dole from the federal government (welfare = taking more than you put in).

Go re-read Marx and see what a progressive income tax system leads to, and if you feel as though you're not sacrificing enough, then feel free to add more to the pot. Just quit suggesting that the government hold a gun to someone elses head and take their money.

If it were not the case that the average large-company corporate CEO now makes FOUR HUNDRED TIMES the average annual salary of the average worker (and by average, I mean the 50k range), then that'd be right.

But Horatio Alger is dead, sorry. It doesn't matter how hard you work, you can NOT ever get to that level...you have to be born with the right family connections already in place. Skewed wealth of THAT level of inequality isn't capitalism...it's feudalism. And the serfs didn't question THEIR lords and masters in the castles, either.

I do.

(And also keep in mind that it's ultra-rich celebrities and such, with their expensive personal bodyguards, who often want to take guns AWAY from everyday people who can't afford bodyguards! Class warfare? No kidding!)

MechAg94
January 9, 2006, 09:36 PM
If it were not the case that the average large-company corporate CEO now makes FOUR HUNDRED TIMES the average annual salary of the average worker (and by average, I mean the 50k range), then that'd be right.

But Horatio Alger is dead, sorry. It doesn't matter how hard you work, you can NOT ever get to that level...you have to be born with the right family connections already in place. Skewed wealth of THAT level of inequality isn't capitalism...it's feudalism. And the serfs didn't question THEIR lords and masters in the castles, either.

I do.

(And also keep in mind that it's ultra-rich celebrities and such, with their expensive personal bodyguards, who often want to take guns AWAY from everyday people who can't afford bodyguards! Class warfare? No kidding!)
Bull! The large majority of millionares in the US did not inherit their money. You can work your way up to that level, but you probably won't get there working for someone else. One day maybe I will.
I heard an interview a few months ago about a kid from a poor family in some city who was a millionaire by age 14 or somewhere close to that. It was done through ability and hard work. Sure, most people won't do it, but it can be done.

Standing Wolf
January 9, 2006, 10:31 PM
I've got a better idea. Why don't we empty out the Congress, slap those courageous talkers into uniform, and send them off to fight land wars in Asia with flimsy armor? If there aren't enough elected misrepresentatives to go around, maybe we could empty out the White House, too.

CAnnoneer
January 9, 2006, 10:59 PM
The large majority of millionares in the US did not inherit their money. You can work your way up to that level, but you probably won't get there working for someone else. One day maybe I will.


+1

I am pretty certain one day I will be a millionaire, while I started from nothing.

However, Manewolf is ultimately right that there is a very strong class-struggle element involved in current gov corruption and the consistent and incessant attack on our civil liberties and the constitution. To people like Bush and Kennedy, the rest of us are nothing but unwashed serfs even if we do work our way up to a few million.

Another way to think about the same issues is to note that a measure of society's age and decadence is the level of nepotism and hereditary power/wealth. I can't see how anybody might find the Paris Hilton's of today to be identical to the Andrew Carnegie's of yesteryear. The emaciated scions born in privilege are so disconnected from reality that they would cause horrendous damage when they assume their "rightful" place in the pecking order. Btw, that is one of the major reasons GWB is so reviled...

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