AP Reports Disgruntled Troops Complain To Rumsfeld. I don’t think they’re complaining – they’re asking legitimate questions to someone in a position, one would hope, to take action. But Rumsfeld does a good job of answering the questions, I think. One was asked by a member of the 278th out of Tennessee — the same unit that will be relieving us shortly. The question, which is perfectly valid I think, was this:
“Why do we soldiers have to dig through local landfills for pieces of scrap metal and compromised ballistic glass to uparmor our vehicles?” Wilson asked. A big cheer arose from the approximately 2,300 soldiers in the cavernous hangar who assembled to see and hear the secretary of defense.
Rumsfeld hesitated and asked Wilson to repeat his question.
“We do not have proper armored vehicles to carry with us north,” Wilson said after asking again.
Rumsfeld replied that every measure is being taken to address the situation, and countered by saying all the armor in the world isn’t necessarily enough. While that may be true, I would emphasize that it certainly helps a great deal. Since I arrived here in the summer, a lot of our vehicles (but still not all) have been up-armored in some fashion, many with hodge-podge home-made solutions that give the vehicles a “Mad Max” look. I’ve also seen a number of vehicles, both in my unit and others, that have survived IEDs, and the armor works. True, a couple of 155mm arty rounds underneath *anything* will be devastating, but most of the time IEDs are on the roadside, and usually buried, so the main threat to vehicles is often fragmentation from the sides, not direct blast from below. Side armor kits and improved ballistic windshields work. Some of my buddies here probably wouldn’t be here if their windshield hadn’t been uparmored.
Anyway, it’s good to see Rumsfeld over here talking to the troops. I hope the Army continues its efforts to improve the protection for our troops. I know it is one of the highest priorities for every level of command I’ve encountered; I can only assume it is a high priority in Washington as well.