Warning

 

Close

Confirm Action

Are you sure you wish to do this?

Confirm Cancel
Member Login
Site Notices
9/22/2017 12:11:25 AM
Posted: 9/29/2005 10:15:20 AM EDT
Troops Wait for Body Armor Reimbursements
By LOLITA C. BALDOR, AP

WASHINGTON (Sept. 29) - Nearly a year after Congress demanded action, the Pentagon has still failed to figure out a way to reimburse soldiers for body armor and equipment they purchased to better protect themselves while serving in Iraq.


Soldiers and their parents are still spending hundreds and sometimes thousands of dollars for armor they say the military won't provide. One U.S. senator said Wednesday he will try again to force the Pentagon to obey the reimbursement law it opposed from the outset and has so far not implemented.

Sen. Christopher Dodd, D-Conn., said he will offer amendments to the defense appropriations bill working its way through Congress, to take the funding issue out of the hands of Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld and give control to military unit commanders in the field.

"Rumsfeld is violating the law," Dodd said in an interview with The Associated Press. "It's been sitting on the books for over a year. They were opposed to it. It was insulting to them. I'm sorry that's how they felt."

Pentagon spokeswoman Air Force Lt. Col. Ellen Krenke said the department "is in the final stages of putting a reimbursement program together, and it is expected to be operating soon." But defense officials would not discuss the reason for the delay.

Krenke said the Pentagon's first priority is to ensure that soldiers "have all they need to fight and win this nation's wars."

Others don't see it that way.

"Your expectation is that when you are sent to war, that our government does everything they can do to protect the lives of our people, and anything less than that is not good enough," said a former Marine who spent nearly $1,000 two weeks ago to buy lower-body armor for his son, a Marine serving in Fallujah.


The father asked that he be identified only by his first name - Gordon - because he is afraid of retribution against his son.

"I wouldn't have cared if it cost us $10,000 to protect our son, I would do it," said Gordon. "But I think the U.S. has an obligation to make sure they have this equipment and to reimburse for it. I just don't support Donald Rumsfeld's idea of going to war with what you have, not what you want. You go to war prepared, and you don't go to war until you are prepared."

Under the law passed by Congress last October, the Defense Department had until Feb. 25 to develop regulations for the reimbursement, which is limited to $1,100 per item. Pentagon officials opposed the reimbursement idea, calling it "an unmanageable precedent that will saddle the DOD with an open-ended financial burden."

In a letter to Dodd in late April, David Chu, undersecretary of defense for personnel, said his office was developing regulations to implement the reimbursement, and would be done in about 60 days.


In a letter to Dodd in late April, David Chu, undersecretary of defense for personnel, said his office was developing regulations to implement the reimbursement, and would be done in about 60 days.

Soldiers and their families have reported buying everything from higher-quality protective gear to armor for their Humvees, medical supplies and even global positioning devices.

"The bottom line is that Donald Rumsfeld and the Defense Department are failing soldiers again," said Paul Rieckhoff, executive director of Operation Truth, an advocacy group for Iraq veterans.

"It just became an accepted part of the culture. If you were National Guard or Reserve, or NCOs, noncommissioned officers, you were going to spend a lot of money out of your pocket," said Rieckhoff, who was a platoon leader with the 3rd Infantry Division and served in Iraq from the invasion in March 2003 to spring 2004. "These are bureaucratic failures, but when they make mistakes like this, guys die. There has been progress made, but we're still seeing serious shortages."

Dodd said he is worried the Pentagon will reject most requests for reimbursement. Turning the decision over to the troop commanders will prevent that, he said, because the commanders know what their soldiers need and will make better decisions about what to reimburse.

Dodd also said he wants to eliminate the deadline included in the original law, which allowed soldiers to seek reimbursement for items bought between September 2001 and July 2004. Now, he said, he wants it to be open-ended.

"I'm tired of this, obviously they're not getting the job done," said Dodd. "If you have to go out and buy equipment to protect yourself, you're going to get reimbursed."
Link Posted: 9/29/2005 10:18:05 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 9/29/2005 10:18:19 AM EDT by gordon_freeman]
The worst part is that you can buy USGI interceptor vests online...

WTF?!
Link Posted: 9/29/2005 10:35:13 AM EDT



"It just became an accepted part of the culture. If you were National Guard or Reserve, or NCOs, noncommissioned officers, you were going to spend a lot of money out of your pocket," said Rieckhoff, who was a platoon leader with the 3rd Infantry Division and served in Iraq from the invasion in March 2003 to spring 2004. "These are bureaucratic failures, but when they make mistakes like this, guys die. There has been progress made, but we're still seeing serious shortages."



It's been an accepted part of culture since soldiering began.

Some units in the Civil War bought lever action rifles and ammo out of their own pocket. Most people in the Revolution carried their own arms. Etc. etc.
Link Posted: 9/29/2005 10:39:22 AM EDT

Originally Posted By gordon_freeman:
The worst part is that you can buy USGI interceptor vests online...

WTF?!



Because despite the hype, nobody is in theather without one and it has been the case for a while now.

We have enough for us, some spares, everyone now has 2 sets of SAPI plates (new and old style), and we have enough for our terps and contractors who convoy with us.
Link Posted: 9/29/2005 10:54:40 AM EDT
The Congress should allow US soldiers to buy stock in US companies that operate in the Mid-East. They can enjoy the fruits of their labor and have a REAL long-term stake.
Link Posted: 9/29/2005 11:01:30 AM EDT

Originally Posted By KlubMarcus:
The Congress should allow US soldiers to buy stock in US companies that operate in the Mid-East. They can enjoy the fruits of their labor and have a REAL long-term stake.



Who is stopping them?
Link Posted: 9/29/2005 11:01:47 AM EDT
I wonder if they'll just accept the write-off under itemized business expenses..of course, then you'd have to meet 2 % of your gross income before they'll let you claim a dime of it.........
Link Posted: 9/29/2005 11:05:25 AM EDT
I dropped 369 dollars plus shipping for the side armor plates, and will be purchasing my own shoulder guards and guantlets to protect me up in the turret of the HMMWV for when we deploy.

I have zero problem with purchasing these things, because I can't enjoy using the rest of the money I have left over from deployment if I ain't around to use it. Plus...work related business expense - keep the receipts, and claim it come tax-time.

John
Link Posted: 9/29/2005 11:09:49 AM EDT

Originally Posted By JSteensen:
I dropped 369 dollars plus shipping for the side armor plates, and will be purchasing my own shoulder guards and guantlets to protect me up in the turret of the HMMWV for when we deploy.

I have zero problem with purchasing these things, because I can't enjoy using the rest of the money I have left over from deployment if I ain't around to use it. Plus...work related business expense - keep the receipts, and claim it come tax-time.

John



We have all that issued as well, at leats enough for all gunners plus a good bit more...... lots of good stuff around now, hold on to your $$$.
Top Top