Sunday, January 22, 2006

Private First Class? Meet Private Economy Class 

Via Zemblan patriots K.Z. and J.D.: You find the darnedest things on EBay. Here, for example, is a Zen Micro MP3 player, with accessories, offered for sale by a young man hoping to raise money for . . . well, let him tell it:
Off to Overseas Sale!

Hello, and welcome to my ebay auctions! Just a quick background info on myself :) I am a 22 year old Chicagoan, currently serving in the US Army, and back home for a few weeks until I am to report and then deploy to Iraq. I joined the army so that I could see the world, finish college when my enlistment is over, help the less fortunate in times of need, and more importantly (to me), serve this great nation. It is my firm belief that everyone has a greater cause in life (whether they've already achieved it, are en route, or in search of..), and for me, it was to give back to a nation that has sacrificed so much. Now, you may disagree with me on my decisions to take active part in "Operation Iraqi Freedom", or possibly the politics or ethics of "war"..or you may not. But I feel that by serving our great country, someone else won't have to and my family and friends stateside will feel safe and protected from all possible dangers (I dont think "evil" is the term to use here..). All I (and other enlisted members of the United States armed forces) ask for is support. With my deployment to Iraq, also comes with dangers and it is my hopes that with the proceeds I receive from selling some of my items on ebay, I will be able to purchase a brand new Interceptor Body Armor to replace the Vietnam-era flak jackets that have been issued, for my tour in Iraq. Thank you for your Support! - John
Shop wisely, soldier. If you spend your money on the wrong brand, you might just void your warranty:
Two deploying soldiers and a concerned mother reported Friday afternoon that the U.S. Army appears to be singling out soldiers who have purchased Pinnacle's Dragon Skin Body Armor for special treatment. The soldiers, who are currently staging for combat operations from a secret location, reported that their commander told them if they were wearing Pinnacle Dragon Skin and were killed their beneficiaries might not receive the death benefits from their $400,000 SGLI life insurance policies. The soldiers were ordered to leave their privately purchased body armor at home or face the possibility of both losing their life insurance benefit and facing disciplinary action.

The soldiers asked for anonymity because they are concerned they will face retaliation for going public with the Army's apparently new directive. At the sources' requests DefenseWatch has also agreed not to reveal the unit at which the incident occured for operational security reasons.

On Saturday morning a soldier affected by the order reported to DefenseWatch that the directive specified that "all" commercially available body armor was prohibited. The soldier said the order came down Friday morning from Headquarters, United States Special Operations Command (HQ, USSOCOM), located at MacDill Air Force Base, Florida. It arrived unexpectedly while his unit was preparing to deploy on combat operations. The soldier said the order was deeply disturbiing to many of the men who had used their own money to purchase Dragon Skin because it will affect both their mobility and ballistic protection . . . .

Currently nine U.S. generals stationed in Afghanistan are reportedly wearing Pinnacle Dragon Skin body armor, according to company spokesman Paul Chopra. Chopra, a retired Army chief warrant officer and 20+-year pilot in the famed 160th "Nightstalkers" Special Operations Aviation Regiment (Airborne), said his company was merely told the generals wanted to "evaluate" the body armor in a combat environment.
The Secretary of the Army has since announced that extra side plates will be added to the DoD's favored brand, the Interceptor vest. Michelle Pilecki has more, including links to a debate over the merits of Pinnacle's Dragon Skin, at HuffPo.

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