01/22/2006: As if the body armor scandal wasn't bad enough....
Lurch at Main and Central points out that the helmets they've been issued aren't exactly up to snuff, either:
Did you know that the Republicans are also responsible for the poor quality Kevlar helmets our troops were issued? Thereís a problem with our troopsí Kevlar helmets. Operation Helmet explains that over 65% of the injuries and deaths come from the blast and secondary shrapnel effects of bombs and IEDs.At the link to Operation Helmet, we get a statement of purpose:The "360-degree" war our troops face right now deals with an enemy that uses high explosives from all quarters to inflict casualties from blast force and large primary and secondary frags from vehicles, concrete, buried cannon shells, RPG's etc. The strap suspension allows the helmet to 'rock' on the head, making violent contact with the skull in an area about the size of a ball-peen hammer. The impact, if severe enough, causes skull fractures, intracranial bleeding, and/or concussions resulting in death or disabling injuries.Now, anyone whoís actually worn a helmet in the field and been subjected to the bonking that results from normal activity can understand that combat increases the head knocking by a factor of 10. The chinstrap just isnít enough to stabilize the helmet, Weíve known this since WW II, and the intermediate solution was the helmet liner, with its partial webwork inside. It seems the Kevlar helmets issued today donít have a good interior webwork. But there is a solution:Change the unstable suspension system for a shock-absorbing pad suspension system with a stronger chin and nape strap. The pad suspension system suspends the helmet on impact-resistant highly engineered pads to provide 'standoff', comfort, and stability. The helmet does not contact the skull directly, with the pads absorbing and spreading out the blow. This upgrade prevents or cushions the trooper's head from blast/fragment impact, spreads contact over a wider area and can save lives and prevent disability.Helmets coming out of the factory today have these shock-absorbing pads, and are being issued to the active duty Army. It seems the Marines, Navy Corpsmen, Air Force ground troops, and Special Ops helicopter crews are still issued the older helmets. Itís a matter of cost. The Republicans canít afford to pay for all the pads systems needed, (probably because Halliburton and Bechtel are still charging $48.50 per meal served in their kitchens.)
OPERATION HELMET provides helmet upgrade kits free of charge to troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as to those ordered to deploy in the near future. Emails come in every day from Marines, their Navy medics and Air Force Special Ops and ground security forces asking for this added measure of protection they need, deserve and should have. In addition to providing enhanced blast protection, the helmet upgrades are much more comfortable and stable than the 'strap/sling' suspensions, allowing the trooper to concentrate on the job at hand rather than a blinding headache. A helmet is effective only when the troops will wear it!Strikes me as a damn good cause to contribute to. So if you have a little extra pocket change, consider making a contribution.
Troops and their loved ones should not feel they aren't protected with the standard issue helmet. Our forces are issued head armor (kevlar helmets) that offers the best protection known in the Military from bullets and small frags. That was the main danger in previous combat engagements and is still an important defense now. However, new elements have entered the picture, that of IED's (roadside bombs) and other explosives which these helmets were not designed to defend against. The blast wave, large frag's carried thereon and the trooper being tumbled along the ground or inside a vehicle is producing brain injury ranging from concussion to death or permanent disability...if the blast is survivable.
Len on 01.22.06 @ 10:32 AM CST