On Armor And Ingenuity

In the wake of the [un]armored HMMWV flap, recriminations and blame have been flying about at a rapid pace, with many who opposed even funding the troops in the first place and have whined incessantly about each follow-on request for funding exhibiting the unmitigated gall to blame the Bush Administration for not outfitting our troops correctly.
Many have acted as if this were the first time our troops were sent into the field with inadequate equipment for the task at hand. While this is laughable on its face (examples abound from World War II, Korea, Vietnam and even Desert Storm), I think it also misses a critical point: our troops are making due with what they have. Not only are they making due, they’re excelling at the tasks they’re presented with. They’re modifying Hummers by hand, they’re adjusting tactics in the field in order to compensate for their weak points and are demonstrating an incredible level of ingenuity and resourcefulness. They’re practically pulling off A-Team/MacGuyver-style stuff with the things that they’re presented with. They are demonstrating in a very real and profound manner the reason that American military forces are the best in the world.
One of our greatest strengths is the flexibility with which we approach operational chain-of-command matters. In this most recent example, we had an Army specialist addressing the Secretary of Defense of the world’s premiere superpower with a difficult question and the SecDef batted nary an eye. In most other militaries, such an act would be tantamount to insubordination and that specialist may well have feared for his life (assuming that the SecDef of another military power would ever even be seen in the same room as a bunch of enlisted men).
Our forces’ strengths lie in their seargeants who are able to act independantly and make operational and tactical decisions that affect their men directly without waiting for blessings from above (within a certain set of ROE, of course). While we should be pressing the Pentagon to equip our men and women in uniform to the best of our nation’s ability, we should also be praising every man and woman responsible for taking the initiative and exhibiting the ingenuity shown in the Iraq theater, and we should be praising their commanding officers for letting them do it.

2 Replies to “On Armor And Ingenuity”

  1. This is what junkyard wars is for! And of course sick engineers who enjoys working with scraps to make stuff

  2. Good point. Maybe TLC will start running “Trading Humvees” next. *grin*
    “Oh! A side holster for my M4 carbine! That’s awesome!
    Don’t know about the pink paintjob, though. Might stand out a bit in the desert…”

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