The Kay's Thinking Cap has been bouncing off her head since reading this report from
Associated Press writer, James Hannah, that Ohio's National Guardsmen, as well as those in other states, are not being trained with the same equipment as they will use in Iraq and Afghanistan until just before they are deployed. Excuse me? Our kids aren't thoroughly familiar with their weapons and other equipment when we send them into those hell holes? That really annoys (insert appropriate Anglo-Saxon profanity if you wish) me off! Mark Wayda of the Ohio Guard lists the following deficiencies our Guardsmen dealing with:
1. Training with M-16 rifles instead of the M-4s used in Iraq.
2. Less powerful night vision goggles and machine guns with different optics than those used in Iraq.
3. Humvees without armor that handle differently than those used in Iraq.
4. Guardsmen must share the ceramic plates that fit into body armor because there are insufficient plates. This is important because the plates affect the way a soldier holds his/her weapon.
The same lack of equipment prevails in Oklahoma.
The Army's spokesman says that the "Army doesn't take shortcuts on soldier protection and safety." and says that commanders who feel their units have the proper equipment/training are required to inform their superiors.
Wayda says that before our Guardsmen are deployed, they train on the new equipment at pre-mobilization stations and are expected to master the new weapons, etc. quickly.
Correct me if I'm wrong here -- and I don't think I am, but wouldn't it be more efficient -- not to mention more intelligent (we all know that 'military intelligence' is an oxymoron) to train with the correct equipment from the start? Wouldn't it produce a better, more confident soldier? I would certainly think so and I want our sons and daughters as well-prepared, well-armed and well-protected as possible.
This report raises some questions in my mind. How safe are our troops with makeshift training? How many lives have been lost because of it? At last count, 146 Ohioans were killed and 1,056 were wounded in this damned war. That some may have been due to improper or insufficient training is an insult to them and their families.
I respectfully demand that this travesty be stopped NOW! The brave young men and women of the Ohio Guard deserve the best.