STILL Not Supporting the Troops

Marines in Arizona preparing to ship out to Iraq are being asked to buy their own equipment.

John Tod of Mesa had been prepared to face Father's Day worrying about his son's pending date with the war in Iraq.

Then Uncle Sam stepped in with more disappointing developments.

Marine Pfc. Jeremy Tod called home with news that his superiors were urging him and fellow Marines to buy special military equipment, including flak jackets with armor plating, to enhance the prospects of their survival.

The message was that such purchases were to be made by Marines with their own money.

"He said they strongly suggested he get this equipment because when they get to Iraq they will wish they had," Tod said.

Total estimated cost: $600.

Tod said his son's call about two weeks ago from the Marine Corps Air Station-Yuma was a sobering reminder that the military is not prepared to equip Pfc. Tod and fellow Marines with the best equipment.

Besides the essential flak jacket with steel "trauma" plates, the shopping list for the young Marine included a Camelbak (water pouch) special ballistic goggles, knee and elbow pads, a "drop pouch" to hold ammunition magazines and a load-bearing vest.

Tod, 45, is picking up the tab for a son who blew most of his savings on a new pickup truck. And dad says he is tempted to forward the bill to the Pentagon. "Or maybe I can write it off in taxes," he said with a grin.

It's not the cost that concerns him, even though the self-employed home repairman will have to dig deep for the cash.

"We're supposed to have a professional army," he said, "the best in the world. And we're not providing them with the type of gear they need to protect themselves as they do their jobs."

What does the administration think is more important. This? Or actually making sure the soldiers who are being put in harm's way (for dubious reasons) have the best possible equipment?


Post a Comment

<< Home