View Full Version : Armor Still In Short Supply

12-10-04, 07:35 AM
Associated Press <br />
December 10, 2004 <br />
<br />
WASHINGTON - Critics of the war in Iraq seized on charges that U.S. troops there don't have enough armored vehicles as another example of poor planning by the...

12-10-04, 07:35 AM
Rumsfeld Sees Progress, Problems In War
Associated Press
December 10, 2004

WASHINGTON - On his first trip abroad since signing up for a second hitch as secretary of defense, Donald H. Rumsfeld saw vivid evidence of progress as well as problems in the global war on terrorism.

In his public remarks during a voyage that circumvented the globe, he displayed both the passion and the blunt-spokeness that have made him a favorite of troops and a popular target of critics.

And while he became something of a matinee idol early in his tenure for his witty and combative exchanges with reporters during televised war briefings at the Pentagon, Rumsfeld, 72, showed on his trip to Afghanistan, Kuwait and India that his public style can sometimes seem harsh.

When he began the trip Sunday night, Rumsfeld spoke for the first time about why he agreed to President Bush's request that he remain at the Pentagon in a second Bush term. Rumsfeld said he looks forward to pursuing unfinished business, including the war in Iraq. He did not say he would stay for the full four-year term, but he left the impression that he expects to.

He returned to Washington on Thursday night.

In Afghanistan on Tuesday, he attended the inauguration ceremony for President Karzai, a man he and others in the Bush administration believe has managed, in just three years, to parlay the U.S. military defeat of the radical Taliban regime into a viable future for an impoverished, war-weary country.

"It was a breathtaking, thrilling moment to be there," Rumsfeld said the next day when he recounted the event during a question-and-answer session with a group of U.S. soldiers at Camp Buerhing, a remote outpost in the Kuwait desert that is a staging area for troops going to war in Iraq.

It was a triumphant moment for Rumsfeld, and he was eager to share credit with the troops.

"Take Afghanistan only three years ago. It was described after a few weeks as a quagmire. People were aware that the Soviet Union had some 200,000 troops in Afghanistan and they lost after decades, thousands of lives. Well, it's not a quagmire. It's a democracy of 25 million liberated Afghans. And it's a democracy thanks to many of you here and all across the globe who didn't listen to the doubters."

It also was a reminder that much work remains to be done in Afghanistan - and even more in Iraq.

On Wednesday, in his exchange with troops in Kuwait, Rumsfeld acknowledged, "There's a lot not right in Iraq. That's a fact." And during that give-and-take, some soldiers took the opportunity to focus on some of what's gone wrong - not the decision to go to war but in how to fight it.

One soldier asked pointedly why, nearly three years into the war, troops who are being sent into Iraq have to scrounge in junkyards for scrap metal and broken bulletproof glass to armor their vehicles. In essence he was challenging the frequently repeated promise by Bush that his administration is committed to ensuring that troops get nothing but the best to fight the war.

Even more remarkable than the courage of that Tennessee National Guardsman to challenge Rumsfeld was the roar of cheers that arose instantly inside the aircraft hangar where the troops were assembled.

"You go to war with the Army you have, not the Army you might want or wish to have," Rumsfeld replied, while explaining that shortages of armor are not for lack of money but "a matter of physics." The manufacturers of add-on armor are producing it as fast as humanly possible, he said.

The insurgents are killing two U.S. troops every day, on average, and many have died or suffered grievous injuries from makeshift bombs planted along roads used by military trucks and Humvees. Rumsfeld knows this, and on this occasion in Kuwait it appeared to weigh heavily on his mind.

Before he invited questions, Rumsfeld made opening remarks that at one point appeared to leave him choked with emotion. It was a statement of thanks that he makes almost every time he visits troops in the field, but this time it seemed to draw an extra measure of passion to the surface.

"Just know this for a fact," he said after a pause that suggested he had one more thing to say beyond his scripted ending.

"There is nothing more important than for you to understand" - at that point he faltered, his voice seeming to break. He recovered quickly. "Understand how deeply grateful the American people are to you for what you do - indeed what you volunteer to do, and I thank you from the bottom of my heart."


12-10-04, 07:36 AM
1/2 Marines battle insurgents in Jurf as Sakhr
Submitted by: 24th MEU
Story Identification #: 200412105240
Story by Lance Cpl. Zachary R. Frank

FORWARD OPERATING BASE ISKANDARIYAH, Iraq (Dec. 10, 2004) -- Marines of the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit clashed with anti-Iraqi insurgents in the town of Jurf as Sakhr Dec. 1, the last day of a nine-day offensive aimed at flushing out insurgents south of Baghdad.

The Marines once again used the full spectrum of combined arms to hammer the insurgents from the air, land, and sea.

Shadowed by the cover of darkness in the cold, early-morning hours, Iraqi national guardsmen, Marines from Bravo Company, Battalion Landing Team 1st Battalion, 2nd Marines, and soldiers from the British Army's Black Watch Regiment set out to conduct a cordon-and-search mission through Jurf as Sakhr- a town west of the Euphrates River where ambushes, mortar attacks and road-side bombs are prevalent.

With tanks set up in blocking positions and helicopters circling above, the coalition forces divided the town into smaller sectors and went house to house looking for weapons, bomb-making materials and anti-Iraqi insurgents.

Just as the sun began setting - after what had already been a long day for the Marines - eight mortar rounds followed small-arms fire from the eastern side of the Euphrates and began to land near the tank's position.

Bravo Marines, who observed the mortar firing position, rushed through fields and over canals and returned fire from behind a large mound of dirt.

"We were in a very good firing position," said Cpl. Paul E. Durst, a squad leader in Bravo's 3rd Platoon from Shelby, N.C. "We were behind a (mound of dirt) and had great observation on the enemy."

With some distance between them and the enemy insurgents, Bravo Company returned fire hoping to overpower the enemy long enough for Marines from Small Craft Company, who were patrolling the river, or Alpha Company patrolling the eastern side of the Euphrates, to come in to support.

Exchanging fire with the Marines, the anti-Iraqi forces ran into a house that afforded them some cover. The Marines from Bravo continued to engage the enemy as tanks provided fire support with 120 mm rounds from the tank's main gun.
Air then arrived on scene as a UH-1N Huey and AH-1W Super Cobra from Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron 263 provided close air support with a Hellfire missile strike on the house.

Marines from Small Craft Company then swept the area on the east side of the river finding one insurgent.

"We've had numerous problems come out of this area -- mortars, (improvised explosive devices), firefights and ambushes," said Lance Cpl. David Carroll, a squad leader in Bravo's 3rd Platoon from Chapel Hill, N.C. "It feels good to have a payoff after we get bombed and mortared. To confront the people responsible for all we go through."

When the firefight ended, Marines packed up everything they had seized that day -- six AK-47 rifles, a vintage World War II-era German rifle, four grenades, more than 1,000 rounds of ammunition, multiple bundles of firing wire and 12 detainees - and headed home, wrapping up what has proven to a be a very successful operation for the MEU.

The long-term impact of Operation Plymouth Rock is still being assessed, but Marine leaders are confident that the capture of 204 suspected militants and the discovery of 11 arms caches has caused serious near-term disruption to insurgent activity here.


12-10-04, 07:36 AM
Marines prepare for service in Iraq

By Jim Carney, Beacon Journal staff writer

The clanging that rang through a classroom full of Akron-area Marines this week was the sound of young men getting ready to go to war.

The task at hand for the young Marines was to take apart and put back together an AK-47 rifle -- a type used by insurgents to shoot Americans in Iraq (news - web sites).

The Marines were being taught the basics about weapons the fighters they will be battling in Iraq use so that they, too, can use the weapons if need be.

Only two of the Marines had ever even touched the enemy weapon.


12-10-04, 07:37 AM
Elite Marines to defend US embassy in Jeddah

December 09 2004 at 04:44PM

Jeddah - A specialist team of United States Marines arrived in Saudi Arabia to defend the American Consulate in Jeddah after it was stormed by militants this week, a US embassy spokesperson said on Thursday.

"A FAST team arrived yesterday in Jeddah to reinforce security at the consulate," Carol Kalin said. "Their job is to reinforce US diplomatic missions in a time of crisis."

Fleet Anti-Terrorism Security Teams (FAST) usually have around 50 members, while regular Marine forces which defend diplomatic missions are much smaller, Kalin said without giving details.

The Jeddah consulate has been closed since Monday's attack in which five gunmen stormed a side gate, set fire to the US flag and a Marine housing unit and killed five non-American staff.

The gunmen briefly took hostages before Saudi security forces entered the compound, killing four of the attackers and capturing the fifth.

The attack was claimed by al-Qaeda militants who have waged a campaign of suicide bombings and shootings in the kingdom since May last year.

Kalin gave no date for when the consulate would reopen.


12-10-04, 07:38 AM
Fallujah's displaced grow angry in harsh conditions
07 December 2004

NEAR FALLUJAH: Forced out of their homes by a US-led offensive in Fallujah in November, thousands of Iraqis facing winter cold, medicine shortages and contaminated water are eager to return home.

But there are no signs they will be able to leave tent camps outside Fallujah and head back to the western city any time soon.

"We are asking the occupation forces and the interim government to allow the return of the people of Fallujah to their homes and to rebuild the destroyed homes and infrastructure, water, electricity and schools," said Abdul Kadir Muhammed.

"More importantly we want school doors to open. They are depriving us from education," added the 17-year-student.

The US-Iraqi assault crushed Iraqi insurgents and foreign Muslim militants but Marines are still clearing Fallujah of huge weapons caches in houses across the city.

They still face sporadic resistance that is slowing down weapons searches vital for security. Clashes, including US tank and machinegun fire, erupted in several parts of Fallujah on Monday, witnesses said.

The US military has said Fallujah's residents can only return when the city is secured.

Many areas of Fallujah were destroyed by air strikes and artillery barrages in the November assault. When residents eventually return, they will find houses flattened or torn apart by US Marines now trying to stabilise the city 50km west of Baghdad.

"The tragedies of Fallujah are unbelievable due to the American occupiers and the US-installed government," said Abbas Attiyah, 60, a retired teacher who lives in a camp in Saqlawiya, 7km north of Fallujah.

"Diseases are spreading and some have died due to cold and lack of medicine. Diarrhoea is spreading because people are drinking from irrigation canals in farmland that are also used by animals."

Mekki Nazal of the Iraqi Red Crescent said humanitarian services can't keep up with the needs of the displaced who he estimates at more than 90,000.

"The number of displaced has outpaced the supply of shelter, food and medicine and medical care. We see huge problems. It is difficult to move because many routes have been closed," he said.

Hardships have deepened suspicions of the Americans, who say they will stay in Fallujah until Iraqi forces are capable of controlling what was Iraq's most rebellious city.

"The Americans and the Iraqi government conspired against the Fallujah people and the goal was the breaking of their nationalist and human will that rejects the occupation," Attiyah said.


12-10-04, 09:44 AM
Marines blow up runway to practice fixing it

Associated Press

YUMA, Ariz. - A group of Marines here blew up parts of a simulated runway at the Yuma Proving Ground just to repair it.

Five explosive devices were used to puncture holes in a 96-foot-by-96-foot concrete pad and a simulated runway so that Marines from the Marine Wing Support Squadrons-371 from Yuma and 272 from Cherry Point, N.C., could practice fixing it.

Marine officials said the drill is practice for expected deployments to Iraq.

The squadrons provide ground support for fixed-wing Marine aviation units.

"This practical application has never been done before because we didn't have the assets to do it," said Gunnery Sgt. Jerry Washington of MWSS-371. "This is really new. It's never been done before. There is nowhere else in the Marine Corps, that we know of (where we can do this)."

The training is part of a larger two-week exercise that started Dec. 3 with 3,000 Marines and 80 aircraft in Yuma.


12-10-04, 11:28 AM
Two US soldiers killed as helicopters collide in Iraq

BAGHDAD (AFP) - Two US soldiers were killed and four wounded when two helicopters collided at a military airfield in northern Iraq (news - web sites), the US army said.

A Black Hawk helicopter was on the ground at Mosul airfield when an Apache crashed into it, an army spokesman said.

The cause of the accident was under investigation, he said, adding that the wounded soldiers had all been returned to duty. He gave no further details.

Earlier Friday, the US marines said one of its men had been killed Thursday during an operation in Al-Anbar province, where the rebel hotspots of Fallujah and Ramadi are located.


12-10-04, 11:28 AM
Reporter drafted soldier's remarks to Rumsfeld on troop safety in Iraq

WASHINGTON (AFP) - A US journalist traveling with a Tennessee National Guard unit worked with soldiers to develop remarks about troop safety made to Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld during his stop in Kuwait, his newspaper revealed.

In an e-mail to colleagues that was later published on the internet, Chattanooga Times Free Press reporter Edward Lee Pitts recalled that he knew that only military personnel, and not the press, would be allowed to speak with Rumsfeld.

"Beforehand, we worked on questions to ask Rumsfeld about the appalling lack of armor their vehicles going into combat have," Pitts said in the e-mail, explaining that he had also arranged for the soldiers he was with to be called on during the question-and-answer session.

During a visit to Kuwait Wednesday, Rumsfeld faced one of the toughest question-and-answer sessions with troops since the start of the Iraq (news - web sites) war in March 2003.

"Our vehicles are not armored. We are digging up pieces of rusting scrap metal and compromised ballistic glass that has already been shot up, dropped, busted, taking the best for our vehicles to take into combat," Tennessee National Guard member Jerry Wilson commented to Rumsfeld.

The Pentagon (news - web sites) deemed the journalist's interference in an exchange between Rumsfeld and US soldiers "unfortunate."

"The secretary provides ample opportunity for interaction with the press. It is better that others not infringe on the troops' opportunity to interact with superiors in the chain of command," said Pentagon spokesman Larry Di Rita.

In his e-mail, Pitts gushed: "I just had one of my best days as a journalist," after the question was asked.

"I have been trying to get this story out for weeks -- as soon as I found out I would be on an unarmored truck -- and my paper published two stories on it. But it felt good to hand it off to the national press," he said.

Tom Griscom, the publisher and executive editor of the Chattanooga Times Free Press, insisted that Pitts did nothing wrong. "Lee was trying to pursue a story," he said.

"If he couldn't ask Rumsfeld the question, then clearly he said to the soldiers, 'This is something you should talk about.' But they decided to ask the question," Griscom said.

The colleague who released the journalist's e-mail on the Internet said Pitts's fellow journalists are very proud of him.

However, L. Brent Bozell, president of the Media Research Center, a conservative watchdog group, declared: "It was sneaky, it was slimy, and he should be fired for it."


12-10-04, 11:41 AM
Would you ask your CEO a hard question...
in front of the press?

From the Airborne Combat Engineer's Blog
Dec. 10, 2004

If you worked for Bow Wow! Dog Food Company, and you were at a company meeting being covered by the press (with cameras), would you stand up and ask the President of Bow Wow! why you were having to modify the prescribed formula on the fly at the plant to get the test dogs to even go near it? (Knowing it would make the national news, dog food sales would tank, and layoffs would not be far behind?)


You know how the kids' shoes are paid for, so you don't want to damage the source.

There's a time and place for dealing with problems, and that's not it.

Would you feel a sense of urgency about going through the proper channels (out of the public eye) to solve the problem?


2slick gives his observation and links to the observations/opinions of some other bloggers.

A more important question might be: Whose bright idea was it to have such an open Q&A session, knowing there were disgruntled NGs in the crowd? Unlike the Airborne and the Marines, they are not just happy as pigs in slop to be able to serve their country in warfare! (thus not having to tell their grandkids: "No, Honey, your grandadddy didn't fight in a war. He was just a peacetime soldier.)

The attempt by the DoD to run its business in the open is laudable, but not prudent.

Things usually aren't quite what they seem. If Drudge is correct, the question didn't come from the heart of a NG SFC, but rather from a Chattanooga reporter.

Bill Hobbs @ Hobbs Online says Pitts, the reporter, crossed the line of jounralistic ethics.

Donald Sensing @ One Hand Clapping notes there are 1300 stories re. the Rummy Grilling in the news, very few of which have reserached the full picture.

All that said, numerous past ACE posts have dealt with the inadequacy of even up-armored Humvees, and have suggested other vehicles the military could buy NOW.


12-10-04, 11:42 AM
Weapons found at Ramadi school, playground <br />
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------- <br />
Dec. 10, 2004 <br />
<br />
BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) -- U.S. Marines found weapons and...

12-10-04, 11:46 AM
Taking one day at a time
December 10, 2004

The hours for Julio DeJesus travel slowly these days. He goes to physical therapy three times a week. He needs a cane to walk and wears a brace on his right knee.

DeJesus, a Marine Corps corporal stationed at Camp Lejeune, tries to stay upbeat. But the 21-year-old food service specialist from Tampa, Fla., can't help but remember the days not so long ago when he played football and basketball or went out to shoot pool with his friends.

But things changed in October for DeJesus, who was on his second tour of duty in Iraq. That's when he was injured in the lower back near the spine - a place not covered by his flack jacket - when an enemy mortar round exploded nearby. He was at Camp Kalsu in northern Babil Province south of Baghdad, Iraq.

"It's hard not doing the things you used to do," DeJesus said at Camp Lejeune Monday morning shortly after receiving a Purple Heart for his actions in Iraq. The senior cook is now assigned to Food Service Company, Headquarters and Service Company, 2nd Force Service Support Group.

Time in Iraq

Eighteen months ago things were different for Cpl. Julio DeJesus. He was pulling guard duty and protecting convoys during Operation Iraqi Freedom I. When not serving meals to the troops at Camp Fox or Camp Viper Kuwait in 2003, DeJesus pulled guard duty and helped to protect convoys carrying supplies to and from the southern areas of Baghdad.

Like many Marines, he came home not long after the fall of Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein in the spring of 2003.

And like many Marines, DeJesus wasn't through with the Persian Gulf. In July, he again deployed to Iraq with the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit from Camp Lejeune.

DeJesus said he took the younger troops under his wing.

"There were a lot of inexperienced Marines about 19 to 20 years old with one to two years in the Marine Corps who were on their first deployment," DeJesus said.

They built Camp Kalsu up, nearly from scratch, and fed the troops until contracted civilian cooks arrived with a portable mess hall that looked like a doublewide mobile home.

"We keep the morale up by feeding them good food," DeJesus said.

DeJesus said the Marines would periodically come under fire from "shoot and scoot" insurgents. The attacks happened a couple of times a week.

"You never know when they're going to hit," DeJesus said. "There were usually about four to five mortar rounds or sometimes they'd shoot a rocket and leave."

He knew what to do

In early October, DeJesus said he was sitting down to eat before his 12-hour shift when mortar rounds started coming in.

He knew what to do.

"We heard and felt the first one to come in, and everybody grabbed their flak and Kevlar," DeJesus said. "After the second one, everybody started running out (of the trailer). Those were pretty close - 'sha-boom' right next to you."

With adrenaline pumping and bits of debris flying everywhere, he didn't feel the wound until somebody pointed it out.

"The third one got me," DeJesus said. "I was right inside the trailer, close to the door and that's when I got hit."

He sought refuge in a nearby bunker.

"They called for a corpsman, and he wrapped me up pretty good," DeJesus said. "The medical hummer picked me up and took me to our medical building out there."

From there, DeJesus was flown under heavy anesthesia to a hospital in Baghdad, where they took out some shrapnel and stitched him up. He still couldn't feel his leg.

"I thought maybe I wouldn't get feeling in my leg at all," DeJesus said. "It hit me where the nerves come out of the spine. They said a couple of inches to the left and I would have been paralyzed."

He then made stops at military hospitals in Landstuhl, Germany, and Bethesda, Md., where he was granted a month of convalescent leave - about two weeks from the time of his injury before he could visit his family.

"My mom had difficulty last time I went to Iraq, so we didn't tell her this time," DeJesus said. "My father knew, but that put a lot of weight on him. I told him I was hurt and she didn't know anything."

When he returned to his unit three weeks ago he was a bit of a celebrity.

"Some thought I was shot, some thought I got blown up and some thought that I was paralyzed," DeJesus said. "There were all different kinds of stories."

His current enlistment is up in December 2005. DeJesus said he dreams of going to college someday. In the meantime, he tries to remain positive about his recovery and take one day at a time.

"When I went home a lot of people showed me that they care," DeJesus said. "Only time will tell."


12-10-04, 11:50 AM
Troops learn sacrifice is only for some <br />
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------- <br />
By John Farmer <br />
The Star Ledger <br />
Friday, December 10, 2004 <br />
<br />
It was John...

12-10-04, 01:39 PM
Soldier admits his story of Iraqi boy's death a lie <br />
By Brian MacQuarrie, Globe Staff | December 10, 2004 <br />
<br />
When Army Sergeant Dennis Edwards spoke at Dennis-Yarmouth Regional High School last...

12-10-04, 03:15 PM
Release No. 12-05-04
Dec. 9, 2004

TRDP eligibility includes "Gray Area" retirees

Eligibility for the TRICARE Retiree Dental Program (TRDP) extends to all
retirees of the Reserve and Guard and their family members, including "gray
area" retired Reservists who are entitled to retired pay but will not begin
receiving it until age 60.

TRDP officials explained that, although eligibility for this group has been
in effect since the TRDP first began in 1998, many retired Reserve and Guard
members, and even more "gray area" retirees, still do not realize they are

Premiums for the TRDP are regionally based on the primary enrollee's
residence ZIP code. Title 10 of the United States Code, Section 1076c
mandates that monthly premiums for the TRDP be deducted automatically from
retired pay through one of six discretionary allotments.

However, "gray area" retired Reservists who are younger than age 60 and who
enroll in the program are naturally exempt from the mandatory government
deduction, so alternative payment arrangements such as direct billing or EFT
will be made.

According to the TRDP officials, today more than 791,000 retired members of
the uniformed services, Medal of Honor recipients, unremarried surviving
spouses, and their family members have benefits under the TRDP. Enrollees
in the TRDP can choose any licensed dentist within the TRDP service area or
can select from a network of more than 80,000 dentist locations nationwide.

The TRDP service area includes all 50 United States as well as the District
of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam, the U.S. Virgin Islands, American Samoa, the
Northern Mariana Islands, and Canada.

Retired Reservists and Guard members, including "gray area" retirees, who
would like more information about the TRDP can visit the web site at
http://www.trdp.org <http://www.trdp.org> or call the contract
administrator, Delta Dental of California, at 1 (888) 838-8737 for a
complete TRDP enrollment packet which explains what is and is not covered
and the costs.


12-10-04, 04:04 PM
Case Against Pfc. England Moved to Texas <br />
<br />
By ESTES THOMPSON, Associated Press Writer <br />
<br />
FORT BRAGG, N.C. - The case against Pfc. Lynndie England, charged with abusing Iraqi detainees at Baghdad's...