Sunday, December 04, 2005

Somebody Forgot to Tell the Troops That They're "Worn Out"

When US Representative Jack Murtha publicly characterized our troops as "broken, worn out" and "living hand-to-mouth," I decided to check the allegation out. Since Murtha was complaining mainly about military equipment, I reasoned that the symptoms would show up at major theater repair depots.

So I sought out the opinion of an NCO I know, who supervises mechanics at Camp Arifjan in Kuwait. Early in his deployment, this soldier had mentioned trouble getting parts and snafus like the engines of some "up-armored" Humvees not being able to handle the extra weight of the armor.

The sergeant had not heard about Murtha's comments; outside news sources are few at Arifjan, and the soldiers there are too busy keeping things in good repair to spend time surfing the 'net.

He was, to put it mildy, highly pissed at Murtha's words. The revelation that Murtha was a 37-year Marine Corps veteran drew a response along the lines of Murtha's opinion being of less value than certain noxious bodily waste products, ex-jarhead or no.

And the current situation at this huge base is this: repairs are handled quickly and efficiently, most parts are already in stock. Those that aren't are usually secured within two days. The army is not "broken, worn out" and "living hand-to-mouth," and one particular soldier did not appreciate the implication.