U.S. Troops Prepare for Possible An Najaf Operation
Scott Nelson  /  Getty Images
A reconnaissance patrol of U.S. Army humvees pushes out from forward operating base Duke Thursday outside Najaf.
updated 4/16/2004 12:47:14 PM ET 2004-04-16T16:47:14

Michael Moran received numerous responses to his Brave New World column about the lack of armor protection on U.S. military Humvees in Iraq.Among those responding were soldiers, veterans and parents of troops deployed in Iraq who have seen or heard these complaints firsthand. Here are some examples; e-mail addresses have been removed.

Dear Mr. Moran:

Thank you for this article.  My husband just returned from Iraq several weeks ago and after learning only some of what they had to go through to get proper equipment, I know that your article is unfortunately a hard fact of life for our soldiers. 

My husband's unit, a Military Police Battalion of which he is the commander, was headquartered in Baghdad.  His unit found any type of steel plating that could be welded onto the sides of their vehicles to help keep his soldiers safe as they patrolled the streets.  Armor plating was not the only issue.  I can't tell you how many family members sent items such as spotlights and leg holsters to their loved ones because the supply system was broken or the items issued were not up to the standard they needed to perform their duties.

Thank you again.  As a dedicated military spouse, it is refreshing to see articles such as yours that bring to light the sacrifices that our soldiers are making to defend the freedom enjoyed by all Americans. 

Susan and Dave Glaser

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Mr. Moran:

I agree with you 100 percent.  I have a son currently in Iraq, Fallujah to be exact, that is in one of those "barely there" Humvees.  It worries me every day to think that our military and government officials cannot or will not do what is in the BEST interest of our soldiers.  Thank you for the article.  It really hit home. 

Janis Kirby

Proud of Marine son Cpl. Aubrey Kollatschny (Iraq)

Proud of Navy daughter HN Kari Baker (Japan)

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Dear MSNBC:

I want to add my voice to the chorus of military families thanking you for exposing this grave problem facing our troops.  What does the fact that soldiers are sent into battle without proper armor to protect them say about the current administration's true concern for the men and women serving in Iraq? Nothing good.  This administration wants to piggyback on the bravery and valiance of the soldiers, yet sends them out ill-equipped and undermanned. So many have died, so much blood has been shed. Shame on George Bush.  

However, the American people, whether they approve of this administration or not, seem to be unanimous in their care about and concern for the soldiers.  It's both heart warming and heart wrenching to hear the stories of soldiers fashioning their own armor, and families and communities pitching in to purchase armor.  Thank you for spreading the news, for spreading the truth, about the conditions under which our troops must fight and risk their lives and limbs unnecessarily.  Keep up the good work!

Best

Diana Holt,

A proud Army mom of a First Cav soldier now fighting in Sadr City

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Dear Mr. Moran:

As the mother of a 10th Mountain Division light infantry 240 gunner who served on the border of Bosnia and Yugoslavia during the Kosovo bombing campaign and whose unit provided the "rapid reaction force" for Eagle Base Camp, I am so thankful for your article.

Video: Humvees drawing fire

Regarding the Humvees being used by the troops in Iraq:  My son, who is reserve now, has kept in touch with soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan, and was angered when he learned how many soldiers were dying due to a lack of armored Humvees. I was appalled!  Had it not been for the “uparmor” on his squad's Humvee in Bosnia, he and four other soldiers would have been killed when their Humvee was forced off the road.

The Humvee withstood the force of a deep ravine rollover, and my son, seated in the turret as the gunner, would not have survived the incident had it not been for the hard top of the Humvee, (as well as the quick reaction of his fellow soldiers with only seconds to pull him back in the vehicle ) before it finally came to rest on it's top.  It was completely uparmored.

The soldiers were not allowed to leave base camp in their convoys on patrol, weapons searches or recon missions without full "body armor," and always in the “uparmored” Humvees.  When I initially heard from my son shortly after the beginning of the war in Iraq that soldiers were riding in unarmored and canvassed Humvees, I could not believe our military would send our soldiers out to an almost certain death in those vehicles.  I hope your article has informed our public of the immediate need to push our local reps all the way to the top of this administration, of their repeated voiced commitments to provide our soldiers with all the protection they need in this war.  I send this e-mail to you at a time when my son has been re-called for possible deployment at the end of this month, and his re-entry to active duty will be combat infantry, again utilizing the Humvee, which now appears not to be a lifesaver for the soldiers, but deathtraps instead.  Every soldier deserves well above the very best our country and our military can provide for their safety, and their very lives.

Sincerely,

Deborah Lucas

Crowley, Texas

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I would like to thank you for writing this story. My wife, brother and myself recently returned from Iraq. It really was sad that in order to do our jobs we had to fabricate our own armor kits as well as weapon mounts. Your story hopefully will help to embarrass them into buying more “uparmour” Humvees, just like the stories about lacking body armor helped us get our interceptor [body] armor.

Sgt. Charles Vender

North Dakota Army National Guard

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Mr. Moran:

As the father of a soldier (1st Cavalry in Khalidiyah since October 2003) I read with great interest your article today. I agree with it; our troops are not getting what they need, nor in a timely manner. Recently, I went looking for goggles for my son. I found them difficult enough to get, and once I found some at an Army/Navy store, sent him two sets only find that they did not fit him.

U.S. military deaths in IraqMy daughter-in-law tried to get him some and was told that since she was not active military or retired, she could not purchase them. Let’s see here: My son needs them for eye protection, cannot get them there and the only source found won't let the purchase be made since she is not in them military. I would submit that as an Army wife she most certainly is in the military.

My son spent the first half of his enlistment in a mechanized unit learning to fight from a Bradley. With some two weeks of training, they were converted to Humvee's and told that this is how they would fight form now on.

If we are going to send these fine young men into harm's way, the least the Army should do is make damn certain that they have the very best that they need to do the mission, or not send them.

Thanks for you article.

David D. McKirdy

USAR, (Ret.)

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