Body Armor Debate

This is from an email from my dad, a Viet Nam veteran who usually doesn’t vent about things unless they are important, so I thought I better share this one with all. Thanks again for the two tours Dad, I am proud to be your son.

From someone who’s been to the valley of the Jolly Green Giant has been running an article on the testing of body armor for our troops in Iraq. The Military has stated that they will not pay death benefits on deaths of troops who have purchased their own armor. There are several things here that need to be addressed.

First they need to muffle the retired generals and colonels who are working for the body armor contractors and allow the military to test the armor and set the specifications. The retired colonels and generals are of course pushing for the armor that is built by the companies that they represent and could care less about the effectivness of the product.

We found this out the hard way in Vietnam when the M-16 rifle was fielded and it took 3 years to finally admit that the rifle was defective and needed the chamber chromed to prevent jamming.

Years ago while attending the Senior NCO Command and Staff course, a representative from Natick Labs that tests the equipment for the Army was discussing a new snow shoe for the Army. The snow shoe was made of aluminum and had nylon bindings. One of the sergeants in the class jumped up and told him that they had already tested the snow shoes in the field and that they wern’t worth a damn. The bindings didn’t hold up to the cold and would break and the aluminum frames would collect snow and not shed it like the wooden shoes would, with leather bindings.

The troops in the field should be the ones testing the equipment, not a bunch of civilians sitting in a controlled enviorment lab listening to a retired general tell them what and how to test the equpment. When was the last time you saw a general or colonel on snowshoes?

If I had a company who was bidding on a Govt contract, I sure as hell wouldn’t have a retired general or colonel telling me how he could get the govt to accept it. I would have an old raggedy-ass sergeant or warrant officer tell me what would and what would not work in the field because they’ve been there and done that…