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View Full Version : Body Armor redux


ndebord
January 17th, 2006, 08:53 PM
I live in what is still very much a military town, Bayonne, NJ. Back in 2003, I was putting out a community newspaper where I wrote about local town news. Pretty mundane stuff, but since it was my joint, I took the opportunity to write commentary about Iraq and deficiencies in the Army and Marine Corp procurement and deployment of armor, both personal body armor and armor for various vehicles. As the Guard was deployed, I found that in the beginning of that deployment, some were still using the old flak vests that I used in 'Nam in 1967-8. I received a lot of support from Veteran organizations in the town then and found tremendous support for the war in Iraq. Now when we talk, there is much anger over how the troops have been treated in Iraq and puzzlement instead of strong support for this war.

Today I got a lot madder when I found this item on the web:

"Soldiers Told To Shed DragonSkin or Lose SGLI Death Benefits"

http://www.sftt.org/main.cfm

Judy G. Russell
January 17th, 2006, 11:31 PM
Sigh... I have no way of knowing personally the relative benefits of issued stuff versus this product, but there is no question -- none -- that our folks in harm's way are being sent there without the best of what's available. The worst case is for the Marines -- they don't have ANY armor that's capable of stopping what they're facing.

Lindsey
January 17th, 2006, 11:41 PM
What I really don't get is that at one time, the Pentagon was leaving it to the soldiers to provide their own protective gear, because the Pentagon simply didn't have enough to go around. ("You go to war with the army you have, not the army you wish you had," pronounced Rumsfeld, when asked why soldiers had to dig through landfills to find material to uparmor their vehicles.) So now that the soldiers have done just that, they're being told they may be denied death benefits if they use it? $#%$@!

--Lindsey

ndebord
January 18th, 2006, 09:35 AM
Sigh... I have no way of knowing personally the relative benefits of issued stuff versus this product, but there is no question -- none -- that our folks in harm's way are being sent there without the best of what's available. The worst case is for the Marines -- they don't have ANY armor that's capable of stopping what they're facing.

Judy,

The worst case is the Guard imo. A young woman I know from Bayonne, just got back a 6 weeks ago from 8 months in Tirkut. She is part of a Jersey Guard outfit, and she was in transportation.(Go Figure). She said her unit was still retrofitting the 2 1/2 and 5 Tonners with metal bought from foundries. Her unit, she said, was short of just about everything and people who could afford it got help from families who shipped (at their expense) stuff over to fill in the gaps. She's still got 3 years to go in the Guard, so considering how they've deployed and redeployed, she could be sent back for a 2nd tour.

Just search googlenews with these keywords and see what you find.

dragon skin body armor

P.S. As I continue to read this and ran across this PBS piece I missed, I'm suddenly reminded of a history channel, I believe, special, on the decline and fall of the Roman Empire. At the end, the Legions were no longer equipped with the battle armor of the early years. Instead they had chain mail, just like the barbarian german hordes pressing in from the North.


http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/middle_east/jan-june06/armor_1-11.html

ndebord
January 18th, 2006, 09:42 AM
Sigh... I have no way of knowing personally the relative benefits of issued stuff versus this product, but there is no question -- none -- that our folks in harm's way are being sent there without the best of what's available. The worst case is for the Marines -- they don't have ANY armor that's capable of stopping what they're facing.

Judy,

When I reread the post and got all the way down to the bottom, I thought of Kirk Douglas in "Paths of Glory" when I looked at how some of the brass lived vs the grunts. This quote reminded of that movie:

<<Currently nine U.S. generals stationed in Afghanistan are reportedly wearing Pinnacle Dragon Skin body armor, according to company spokesman Paul Chopra. Chopra, a retired Army chief warrant officer and 20+-year pilot in the famed 160th "Nightstalkers" Special Operations Aviation Regiment (Airborne), said his company was merely told the generals wanted to "evaluate" the body armor in a combat environment. Chopra said he did not know the names of the general officers wearing the Dragon Skin.>>

ndebord
January 18th, 2006, 09:47 AM
What I really don't get is that at one time, the Pentagon was leaving it to the soldiers to provide their own protective gear, because the Pentagon simply didn't have enough to go around. ("You go to war with the army you have, not the army you wish you had," pronounced Rumsfeld, when asked why soldiers had to dig through landfills to find material to uparmor their vehicles.) So now that the soldiers have done just that, they're being told they may be denied death benefits if they use it? $#%$@!

--Lindsey

Lindsey,

Duncan Hunter held hearings quite some time ago now, in which he talked about uparmoring HumVees with bolted-on armor purcahsed from local armories and tied together with bolts from Home Depot. Said it took him just an afternoon to do the job. As for the body armor provided by DoD, it is the best in the world, they say. (Probably the best produced in a district located where there is an Armed Services committee congressman imo.)

Lindsey
January 18th, 2006, 11:13 PM
As for the body armor provided by DoD, it is the best in the world, they say. (Probably the best produced in a district located where there is an Armed Services committee congressman imo.)
Yeah. This is the price of corruption. :mad:

I sort of vaguely remember hearing something recently about the unwieldiness of the issued armor, and how some soldiers weren't wearing all of it because (as with the knights of old) it limited their movements too much, and lack of mobility can be as much of a danger as lack of armor.

--Lindsey

Judy G. Russell
January 19th, 2006, 12:07 AM
Good grief. That's appalling.

ndebord
January 19th, 2006, 02:32 AM
Good grief. That's appalling.

Judy,

Two major points so far on the difference between the Army's armor and Dragon Skin. First off is the difference in cost as in dragon skin costs more. The second is the old saw: "It wasn't invented here." Something I remember from 'Nam when the Springfield Armory made Colt use RA powder in the cartridges in the M-16. Fouled the early models' barrels something fierce, as they had failed to insist upon chrome plating and the powder stuck like glue. The AK-47, OTOH, could be dropped into a paddy and fired without cleaning. Personally I liked the M-14, although you really couldn't fire it on full auto as it would pull up.

Caveat. I've never seen either the new Dragon Skin or the official Interceptor body armor. One comment I've seen that sounds about right is this. The Interceptor Armor, after being hit, crumbles into the bottom of the vest pocket as it is a "ceramic" plate. The Dragon Skin supposedly can be run over by a HumVee and keep on ticking.

<sigh>

Judy G. Russell
January 19th, 2006, 12:40 PM
<sigh> is right.