Skip to comments.Pentagon study faults US body armor in Iraq deaths
Posted on 01/07/2006 4:53:06 AM PST by benjamin032
By Will Dunham Fri Jan 6, 11:19 PM ET
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Better body armor could have prevented or limited about 80 percent of fatal torso wounds suffered by Marines killed in Iraq, a report by U.S. military medical experts obtained on Friday said.
The report, conducted for the Marine Corps by the Office of the Armed Forces Medical Examiner and not released to the public, examined the cases of Marines fatally wounded from the start of the war in March 2003 through June 2005, and found weaknesses in the torso protective gear.
Bullets or shrapnel hit the Marines' shoulders, the sides of their torsos or other areas not fully covered by ceramic plates contained in the body armor in at least 74 of 93 fatal wounds examined in the study.
"Either a larger plate or superior protection around the plate would have had the potential to alter the fatal outcome," the study stated.
Critics in the U.S. Congress have accused the Pentagon of failing to provide the best possible body armor and armored vehicles for American troops fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan. But military officials have defended the protective gear provided for troops as well as the quality of vehicles.
(Excerpt) Read more at news.yahoo.com ...
"We take operational security very seriously and will not discuss in public sensitive issues that may render any insight to the enemy about our capabilities, fielding plans, or tactics, techniques and procedures."
Another patriotic whistleblower. Time for the President to perform his duties and have these people frog marched into custody. The Dems have declared open season on National Security and the safety of the troops.
Yeah, and obviously, none of these dorks have ever walked around in 120 degree heat wearing 40 pounds of armor - BEFORE you strap on your basic load of ammo, water, etc.
Even with that statement, with obvious national security implications, some jackass still published this.
I actually blame the terrorist enemy for the deaths.
MSM: Bash the military, bash Bush, bash the war effort......the beat goes on.
In 1942, our fleet got their clocks cleaned at the Battle of Savo Island by the Japanese. It was then, and remains to this day, one of the biggest military disasters for the USA.
There were so many things that went wrong, so many areas to lay blame (and did have blame assigned in inquests) that it seems not much different than the witchhunts one might see today.
One of the things that came up is how unprepared for war our ships were. We had thick coats of paint all over the inside and outside of ships. There were linoleum floors. Various rooms had overstuffed furniture in them. When the ships caught on fire, all of these things burned ferociously and were responsible for the deaths of many men.
When they tried to put the fires out, the equipment was inadequate for the job. It wasn't designed correctly, and men died.
The point is, these were lessons we learned in the crucible of warfare. There is often no other way to learn these lessons, and the lessons are hard, particularly for the men who die and the families who are left behind. But that is war.
One might argue that we knew how to design body armor before this war. Perhaps that is true, but it might be that we had reached the point of diminishing returns where throwing larger and larger sums of money at a problem produces smaller and smaller returns on the investment, all the low hanging fruit is gone. Sure, we could have had better armor, but at what cost? Would we have replaced all the units that probably were not all that old or used with newer units at twice the cost with 5-8% more protective value? If you are a person with a gun in your hand, the answer is yes.
But the problem with these things is that us civilians, including politicians, see these them one dimensionally. We tend to see them as isolated problems, when in fact, there are many things like this, and none can be fixed for free. We only see the armor or whatever the issue-du-jour is, but there are also (and these are not real, I am just making them up as examples of things that might be):
Defective guidance devices for JDAMS that could cause friendly casualties that must be addressed.
More armor and upgraded humvees.
Hydraulic weaknesses in Apache helicopters that put pilots at risk.
Expensive parts that must be replaced due to high wear and tear in an abrasive environment, where failure could put the users at risk.
And so on.
Now take those, and imagine how many more things there are out there, given how HUGE the military is, that have the capability of causing lost lives if some component is not performing as expected.
As far as I am concerned, this is part of an emotional anti-military anti-administration witch hunt.
Should read: Better body armor would have protected Marines that had wounds that would have been protected by better body armor. What a stupid analysis.
The question should be " Do they have the best body armor now available" I believe they do.
Certainly wearing a helmet driving your car and having NASCAR designed roll bars would stop many auto deaths also.
Instead of giving thanks for the thousands of lives spared by the invention and use of body armor, we cannot allow even one micro smidgen of positive information to be associated with the war or those who are waging it. Hell if we had been using nuclear weapons instead of smart bombs and bullets, all of our problems would have been solved in an instant to continue with the logic of ignorance.
Exactly! WTFs wrong with everyone not able to see that?
If 10% of casualties were cause by shrapnel penetrating or bypassing gaps in our body armor, and larger body armor would eliminate 80% of them, then larger body armor would only eliminate 2% of our casualties. And that assumes no increase in casualties from refusing to wear that heavy hot crap or additional casualties from terrorists adjusting to take advantage that encumbrance.
Freakn stupid report and stupid people who cant think through it.
and the new improved armor weighs how much?
"patriotic whistleblower"..... right.
Fact of the matter is, body armor is just helping you play the odds. It protects what it can, without making you so slow you can't maneuver. We can't turn our troops into knights in full plate mail. It simply slows them down too far, and invites someone to invent a longbow. I appreciate any tools that are developed to help accomplish the mission while minimizing casualties, but reducing casualties to zero is an impossible goal and an unfair standard.
There's a mixture of the woodland and desert camouflage IBA (individual body armor) vests. There hasn't been a really concentrated effort to get everyone outfitted with each color since the new Army Combat Uniform (ACU) has been in development practically since the war. Now, everyone will have the new digital camouflage pattern on their uniforms as well as their IBA and ammo pouches and CamelBaks, etc, etc.
Basically it's a cost-saving measure that will eventually be completely fixed across the entire Army.
Besides--haji can barely shoot straight. It takes an act of Allah for him to hit one of our guys (thankfully).
It's sad to think that something as important as a soldier's body armor has to wait as a 'cost-savings measure'. Obviously the coverage.
At least we have body armor. I read about some of the fatal wounds from WWII and Vietnam, and it's just pathetic. One that stood out in my mind was the SOG in Vietnam--this one SOG team was being chased by an NVA patrol. A mortar round blew up a tree near one of the operators and a splinter from the tree pierced his heart, killing him instantly. A complete waste of a well-trained warrior. Nowadays, such losses are minimized.
But, according to this article, not as minimized as they could be or should be.
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