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Tuesday, October 12, 2004

Boots on the Ground (Minus the Boots) 

The next time Bush accuses Kerry of voting against supplemental funding to provide "equipment for our troops," kindly recall that Bush sent our troops to war without the equipment they needed. James Ridgway of the Village Voice received the following e-mail from a marine infantryman who was part of the original invasion force:
• On footwear: "Days before we flew out from North Carolina to Kuwait, some Marines were still not being provided with the correct size desert boots. There were extra boots left, but none that would fit. The unit was allotted only a certain number of boots for each size. Still, others were issued two pairs of boots . . . the older type and a new type just released. The Marines without boots had to pay for cabs to bring them outside of the base to a military surplus store in town, where they could buy desert boots that actually fit."

• On weapons: "We were issued a certain amount of ammunition while in Kuwait, prior to flying into Iraq. This was on 4/1/03. There was no ammo for the machine gunners. Therefore, our infantry rifle company had no heavy guns support. While we were in the hangar in Kuwait, waiting to fly out, a few of the machine gunners went up to a Navy SEAL team, which was also staged in the hangar. They had a small arsenal of weapons, including all-terrain vehicles with shoulder-launched rockets attached, and box upon box of ammunition. When told that we had no machine gun ammo, they gave us a few boxes so we could fly into Iraq with working machine guns."

• On backpacks: "Their frames were made of plastic. The Marine Corps knew that these packs were shit. They were supposed to be the 'next-generation' thing, but troops in Afghanistan complained about them. The USMC already began developing new packs, but sent us into Iraq with these plastic frames. Many Marines had their frames break, simply by putting them on under the full combat load weight. Then they're expected to carry them. Some had to repair their packs with string."

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