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02/03/08

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Books:

   "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 used.

 

...and of course the equipment and programs which I am not much a fan of:

The Government "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.  

The AACU (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 musicians

Check out rhythm guitarist Andy McKey - album "Drifting" awesome

 

*VIEWS FROM OTHER SOLDIERS

  

 

 

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