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Thread: Afgahnistan

  1. #1
    MembersZone Subscriber MalahatTwo7's Avatar
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    Default Afgahnistan

    I read a simliar report from the Embassy news links regarding some US soldiers who have purchased personal body armour and other mil equipment, with claims that issued stuff was worthless.

    Here is a Canadian account of similar activities.

    Soldiers shelling out for their own gear Front-line troops in Kandahar say military equipment inadequate Richard Foot, CanWest News Service Monday, March 20, 2006

    KANDAHAR, Afghanistan -- Canada's front line combat troops in Afghanistan may belong to a national army, but much of their clothing and equipment on this mission is privately owned -- paid for out of their own pockets -- because the gear supplied by the military is inadequate, soldiers say.

    More than a dozen soldiers, interviewed during operations this month north of Kandahar, say the non-shooting equipment issued by the military simply isn't comfortable, strong enough or safe enough, for this rugged and dangerous mission.

    While their actual uniforms are all military-issue, many soldiers say they spent hundreds, in some cases thousands of dollars of their own money on everything from desert boots to ammunition vests before coming to Afghanistan.

    "I dropped a grand on gear before I came over here," says one non-commissioned officer with the 1st Battalion, Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry, who asked that his name not be published. "The stuff the army issues is useless."

    While some soldiers do wear their army-issued desert boots, most appear to be wearing their own boots, purchased at a private kit shop back at their base in Edmonton, or from mail-order military websites. They say the boots handed out by the army are too stiff and heavy for long, multi-day marches over the rugged Afghan terrain.

    The army-issued tactical vests -- designed to carry ammunition, grenades, bayonets and other supplies -- are also inadequate, soldiers say. The vests supplied by the army, for example, carry only four magazines of rifle ammunition.

    "Whose going to survive on four mags in a firefight?" asks another 1st Battalion soldier. "I carry 10 mags every time I climb out of the LAV (light armoured vehicle). If we get into a fight with the enemy, four mags aren't going to cut it.

    "The army stuff is OK in Canada," he says, "but over here your life depends on good gear."

    As a result, most of the troops are wearing a mishmash of privately purchased "tac-vests," boots, rucksacks, cold-weather clothing, and other gear.

    And while many infantry troops say they've grown accustomed to providing their own gear, what they can't understand is why they're being treated as what they describe as "second-class citizens" at the base at Kandahar airfield.

    Of the 2,200 Canadian military personnel in Kandahar this year, only about 500 are front line combat soldiers. The rest are support troops -- logistics, planning and transport staff, plus supply clerks and other administration workers who, unlike the infantry, rarely leave the relative safety and comfort of this base.

    While these rear echelon troops are being housed in dry, semi-private dome tents built upon concrete slabs, Canada's combat troops, also known as the "battle group," are being housed together, hundreds at a time, in three much-hated giant white tents, known by the soldiers as BATs, or "big *** tents."

    The BATs offer no privacy. They leak when it rains. And instead of concrete floors, the ground inside is gravel and dirt. The BATs are also filled with rows of tiny bunk beds, so small and flimsy that many soldiers can't fit on them.

    Unlike the housing for the support troops, the infantry BATs are located far from the Canadian e-mail tents and recreation facilities on the base.

    "It's fine for guys like us to live in the mud out on operations," says Master Cpl. Keith Prodonick, an experienced front line soldier. "That's what we do. But when I go back to base, I want a dry tent and a bed that doesn't break."

    First Battalion soldiers grilled Gen. Rick Hillier, Canada's chief of defence staff, about the BAT controversy during his surprise visit with the troops in the field earlier this month.

    "The boys were asking Hillier, 'Why do the support people get the good shacks and we get the BATs,"' Prodonick says. "We don't want better, we want the same as everyone else. We just don't want to be treated like the retarded cousins."

    Army officials here say the military is constructing better, more permanent housing for the infantry troops at Kandahar airfield, but the new accommodation isn't likely to be ready until the summer, when the 1st Battalion goes home after its six-month tour.

    © Times Colonist (Victoria) 2006
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  2. #2
    Forum Member DaSharkie's Avatar
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    Malahat, what kills me about this stuff is that much of it is slanted.

    The libs and press RIP into the military about inadequate equipment and forget a bunch of things.

    1) You cannot make a vest that is able to stop BOTH small arms rounds AND shrapnel.

    2) Adding a ceramic plate to the vest adds at least another 7 pounds to lug around in 110 degree heat.

    3) Equipment is made by the lowest bidder.

    4) Civilian available equipment will always be better because it is advanced over time. military logistics is fixed so vests and equipment are kept forever.

    5) Did I mention the lowest bidder?

    6) Marines in Iraq have CHOSEN not to carry this extra weight and equipment due to the limited protection offered by it and the extra weight in combat is rediculous.


    On a different note, Marine commanders in Iraq have just passed an order restricting the wearing of polyester clothing under utilities due to the risk of burns from the IEDs. Of course it will only be a matter of time before they whine about this.

    When I was in, I hated the military issue boots. Of course with the Corps' change to Danner boots for combat things seem to be better. The Marine Corps has its own command at MCB Quantico- the Marine Corps Combat Development Command - that constantly evaluates, designs, and develops equipment for use by Marines and Corspmen in battle. They are not afraid of using civilian equipment or tweaking civilian material for combat usage.

    Worst of all that is never mentioned is that this stuff is developed in peace time and as hard as that testing can be, it NEVER stands up in combat because NOTHING prepares you for real-world conditions except for real-world conditions.

    The same situation exists in Canada as it does in the Unites States as it does in Great Britain.
    "Too many people spend money they haven't earned, to buy things they don't want, to impress people they don't like." Will Rogers

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  3. #3
    MembersZone Subscriber MalahatTwo7's Avatar
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    Amen there Brother. Especially on #3 and Worst of all that is never mentioned is that this stuff is developed in peace time and as hard as that testing can be, it NEVER stands up in combat because NOTHING prepares you for real-world conditions except for real-world conditions.

    As was quoted in another thread: American spacecraft, Russian spacecraft. Makes no difference... ALL MADE IN TAIWAN! (or Mexico)

    During my field time, the biggest complaints we had (88/89) were that we had only air mattresses to sleep on, and bought our own cots. In 90 we started to get issue cots. Anther "High" commodity was trading almost ANYTHING for US rain gear, cuz ours SUCKED. We've been through 4 different issues of rain gear since, and actually issue #2 was (IMHO) the best. The stuff I have now is only slightly better than what I started with. After nearly 18 years of service they started to issue gortex coats and boots. Of course gortex boots are just wonderful in hot weather conditions.

    So ya, gear quality issues are about the same everywhere. Doesn't really matter what language you speak, complaints on gear are all sung in the same voice. I wonder what might happen if every armed country were to take all their gear and equipment, get together somewhere and through it in a pile and let the troops pick through it. Sorting out good stuff from not so good. What would be the outcome?
    If you don't do it RIGHT today, when will you have time to do it over? (Hall of Fame basketball player/coach John Wooden)

    "I may be slow, but my work is poor." Chief Dave Balding, MVFD

    "Its not Rocket Science. Just use a LITTLE imagination." (Me)

    Get it up. Get it on. Get it done!

    impossible solved cotidie. miracles postulo viginti - quattuor hora animadverto

    IACOJ member: Cheers, Play safe y'all.

  4. #4
    Forum Member DaSharkie's Avatar
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    The higher up the rank structure you go for approval the worse it is.

    Let a bunch of people at the rank of SSgt or below evaluate the gear and give the recommendations on what is good and what is not.

    The ground pounders know what works and what does not.
    "Too many people spend money they haven't earned, to buy things they don't want, to impress people they don't like." Will Rogers

    The borrower is slave to the lender. Proverbs 22:7 - Debt free since 10/5/2009.

    "No man's life, liberty, or property are safe while the legislature is in session." - New York Judge Gideon Tucker

    "As Americans we must always remember that we all have a common enemy, an enemy that is dangerous, powerful and relentless. I refer, of course, to the federal government." - Dave Barry

    www.daveramsey.com www.clarkhoward.com www.heritage.org

  5. #5
    MembersZone Subscriber mcaldwell's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MalahatTwo7
    During my field time, the biggest complaints we had (88/89) were that we had only air mattresses to sleep on, and bought our own cots. In 90 we started to get issue cots. Anther "High" commodity was trading almost ANYTHING for US rain gear, cuz ours SUCKED. We've been through 4 different issues of rain gear since
    I too searched for a couple of months to get some US rain gear when I joined back in 90. I was still issued a friggin PONCHO! (although, not altogether useless, just not combat/exercise effective)

    Boots are a real personal preference too. Most of the guys in my unit shelled out for both jungle boots and winter matterhorns or such just for the comfort factor. My issues boots were fine, I just WANTED better.


    And back then I learned a valuable lesson early on. Americans will trade ANYTHING for Canadian rations.
    Never argue with an Idiot. They drag you down to their level, and then beat you with experience!

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    Forum Member DaSharkie's Avatar
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    Ah yes, I remembered earlier today that people are screaming about "uparmored" Humvees. It kills me that people have no understanding of this concept. HMMWVs are general purpose transporters and were never really intended to have heavy armor added to them. They were meant to replace the mobility and power of a freaking Jeep for crying out loud.

    So we slap 1,000 pounds of armor on a 4,000 pound truck with a 100hp Diesel engine in it. The things handle like pigs as it is, so now you change the entire center-of-gravity of the vehicle, change the handling characteristics of the vehicle, and then put the vehicle overweight, thereby underpowering the vehicle.

    But alas, common sense escapes most people.
    "Too many people spend money they haven't earned, to buy things they don't want, to impress people they don't like." Will Rogers

    The borrower is slave to the lender. Proverbs 22:7 - Debt free since 10/5/2009.

    "No man's life, liberty, or property are safe while the legislature is in session." - New York Judge Gideon Tucker

    "As Americans we must always remember that we all have a common enemy, an enemy that is dangerous, powerful and relentless. I refer, of course, to the federal government." - Dave Barry

    www.daveramsey.com www.clarkhoward.com www.heritage.org

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    MembersZone Subscriber mcaldwell's Avatar
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    Same here in Canada,

    There was a whole outcry with our Iltis' too. The Iltis is a lot closer to the original jeeps for size and function, and like the Humvee ended up beeing used outside it's original intented role.

    Now we have the G-wagons, which have a little more capacity for armament, but are still not intended for that role.

    If you want armored transports, buy ARMORED TRANSPORTS! Unfortunately, Bisons and LAV's are expensive and difficult to transport.
    Never argue with an Idiot. They drag you down to their level, and then beat you with experience!

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  8. #8
    Forum Member DaSharkie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mcaldwell
    Unfortunately, Bisons and LAV's are expensive and difficult to transport.
    Yeah, but that Busmaster cannon on top of the LAV gives me a warm and fuzzy.


    Seriously, these are the same people the b!tch about the cost of a tank or armored transport, but balk at the cost of properly equiping the boys that they now decry as being unprotected when they had the chance to do it right when they bought the equipment in the first place.
    "Too many people spend money they haven't earned, to buy things they don't want, to impress people they don't like." Will Rogers

    The borrower is slave to the lender. Proverbs 22:7 - Debt free since 10/5/2009.

    "No man's life, liberty, or property are safe while the legislature is in session." - New York Judge Gideon Tucker

    "As Americans we must always remember that we all have a common enemy, an enemy that is dangerous, powerful and relentless. I refer, of course, to the federal government." - Dave Barry

    www.daveramsey.com www.clarkhoward.com www.heritage.org

  9. #9
    MembersZone Subscriber MalahatTwo7's Avatar
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    I think these arguements are pretty much universal. From some of the discussions I've had with other members of the FJSNA, we all suffer similar complaints about gear. As someone said to me (I dont recall whether officer or sr NCO) when I was a young pup, stationed with the armoured corp in Calgary, "When a soldier b(tches and complains, he is mostly content. Its when he stops b(tching and complaining that you know there is a serious problem." Sadly in this circumstance, that maxim doesn't apply very well.

    Band-aid solutions don't work well in the long run.
    If you don't do it RIGHT today, when will you have time to do it over? (Hall of Fame basketball player/coach John Wooden)

    "I may be slow, but my work is poor." Chief Dave Balding, MVFD

    "Its not Rocket Science. Just use a LITTLE imagination." (Me)

    Get it up. Get it on. Get it done!

    impossible solved cotidie. miracles postulo viginti - quattuor hora animadverto

    IACOJ member: Cheers, Play safe y'all.

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