"The Pentagons New
Map" (Barnett)- If you only read one book about the world we live in today, this
is it. Gives the bigger picture as to why we NEED to
be in Iraq.
"The Persian Puzzle" (Pollak) - A thick
read, but well worth it. Many "Ah-ha's" in it. Did you know
the US tried to covertly overthrow the Iranian government in 1953.
Did you know the US staged military forces from bases in Iran prior to
going into Afghanistan? This book gives you a perspective of the
complexities we deal with when we deal with Iran.
"The Crisis of Islam" (Lewis) - A very even
perspective which addresses the history and problems within the Islamic
culture. Good read.
"Confessions of an Economic Hitman"
(Perkins) - a good read; Makes you realize we are not the
cowboys in white hats in many areas of the world.
Army equipment - good and bad
The Army has been on the receiving end of
a lot of criticism regarding not having decent equipment.
Here is a list of equipment I have found was done right:
As of June 22, 2007 my new favorite thing
the Army has are CONCRETE MORTAR BARRIERS!! They are worth every over
priced dollar we paid for them.
The UH-60 helicopter, some don't agree and it can always
be improved-but it is a workhorse, and trusty steed to ride into battle.
The AH-64 Apache attack helicopter, it takes a lot of
training and maintenance to keep it up, but well worth it.
The new Army Combat Uniform (ACU) - the forearm pen
pockets are a definite keeper
The aviator Micro-cooling vest; a life saver
The black fleece jacket
The new army sleeping bag (a.k.a sleep system)
The good ol' army ponco liner
The new Army Combat
Helmet (ACH) - much more comfortable
The Abrams M-1A2 Main Battle Tank (MBT)*, a soldiers
best friend; an insurgents worst nightmare
The Army "Hooah" energy bar; an actual Army food item
that tastes good and is actually one of the better energy bars I have
...and of course the equipment
and programs which I am not much a fan of:
"Bank of America" credit card; if there was ever a program which was
later found to be built on bribes and pay-off's this one would not
surprise me. Soldiers are ordered to "obtain" this credit
card, forced to use it for official travel then required to pay the
balance of the card regardless of weather or not the Army has reimbursed
the soldier for the travel expenses. Failure to pay the credit
card, even if the soldier has not been reimbursed, can result in
disciplinary action against the soldier. If a fraudulent charge is
placed on the card, as in my case, this company (as many soldiers and I
have found) is very resistant and unwilling to resolve the issue.
I have personally found on multiple occasions their customer service
representatives argumentative and very difficult to work with. The
Army (DFAS - Defense Finance Accounting Service) will then do a "Salary
Offset" aka - take your pay to resolve the debt. No due process,
no civil judgment, just a
rip-off to the soldier. Maybe I am lucky, I am only out
$386.00 from a fraudulent charge. I am glad it was not more.
(Army Aviation Combat Uniform) - overall good; but whoever made the
choice to remove the forearm pen pockets ruined it. Now when
pilots wear the Air Warrior body armor system it is very difficult to
reach across your body to your opposite upper arm to retrieve something
to write with.
the Army computer based flight logbook; SCKP6, someone made a
mint off of it; I am NOT convinced it is an improvement over a
pencil and paper
Army wool socks
M-113 Armored Personnel Carrier (APC)* - put it to pasture it is
ancient; won't stop a 7.62 sniper round from a dragonoff
Music - good tunes and
Check out rhythm guitarist Andy McKey - album "Drifting"
*VIEWS FROM OTHER SOLDIERS