Robert Douglas writes about a friend of his who recently arrived in Iraq:
Word is that they all have been issued the latest body armor, and all have NVG gear and other goodies. So, they are well equipped, and appear not to have to deal with any of the gear shortages we all hear about.
This is good news. I wrote last month about friends and relatives who are still buying their loved ones body armor despite Army reassurances that everyone will be issued proper protection when they arrive in the Middle East. The article I linked to didn’t bother mentioning if troops were actually getting their armor or not, and I’ve been unable to find out more.
One thing that occurs to me is that the big hand-off of armor from departing troops to arriving troops is going to get fouled up if the departing troops don’t actually depart. Right now, word is that many units scheduled to rotate out this spring and summer have had their deployments extended due to the recent wave of unrest. As painful as this must be for those troops and their families, this is probably the right thing to do.
However, where are newly arriving troops going to be getting their armor from? The hand-off was going to be one great big SNAFU already, considering that this is a government operation, and this is probably going to break it even if there is enough armor to go around.
Which I don’t think there will be.
UPDATE: Phil Carter at Intel Dump notes that the government is going after a body armor black market:
Investigators from the Defense Criminal Investigative Service announced today that they had executed search warrants in seven states relating to a probe of black market sales of American military body armor. The alleged black marketeers were selling the body armor, and associated small-arms protective inserts, mostly to soldiers and civilians headed towards Iraq who were not receiving the gear from their units or employers.
Go read and follow the links.
You know, there wouldn’t be a black market for body armor if normal channels were an easy way to get body armor. The rings should be shut down, but I don’t really blame them one damn bit for trying.