New guidelines for who can be deployed to a combat zone:
The U.S. military command that oversees troops fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan wants to make it harder for combat commanders to send medically unfit troops to war zones, according to a proposal reviewed by USA TODAY.
The proposal from Central Command would add 16 medical conditions that would bar troops from deploying for combat duty. It would toughen a 2½-year-old rule requiring combat commanders to seek a waiver before sending troops who need medical care to a war zone.
At first, this seems like a rather mundane policy change, the kind that takes place in the military all the time. As times change, standards are altered, policies changed. However, if you keep reading the story, you see this:
Last year, 36 soldiers of the 3rd Brigade, 4th Infantry Division from Fort Carson, Colo., were sent to war with medical problems, an investigation by the Army inspector general shows. Commanders sought no waivers for the 36 soldiers, according to the report released under a Freedom of Information Act request.
Six soldiers deployed with health problems were ultimately sent home. Two had shoulder injuries, two had mental health problems, one had a groin injury and a sixth could not carry a weapon, according to the investigative report.
Since last July, the Army sought deployment waivers for 22 soldiers with medical problems, Army spokesman Paul Boyce says.
Couldn’t carry a weapon? Was the CO of this unit brought up on charges? That sounds like complete and total insanity to me, and the notion that only 22 soldiers ARMY-WIDE have had waivers filed for them seems to be a bit on the low side.
What is going on (obligatory “You go to war with the Army you have” reference)?
How badly injured do you have to be before you can’t even lift your gun? What the hell did they expect that guy to do?
“Pvt. Johnson, I want you to take point. Scout the perimeter, spot out any IEDs, and if you encounter the enemy I want you to bleed on them. Good man.”
Why am I suddenly conjuring up images from the end of the South Park movie – Operation Black Shield? Maybe they’ve run out of extra armor and are just strapping wounded soldiers on to the sides of Humvees.
Sheesh! Next they’ll have cardboard cutouts manning the ramparts in the Green Zone to ‘fool’ the enemy. I fear that McCain’s prediction of troops in Iraq for the next humdred years will be the *same* troops we have there now!
This is merely a symptom of the real problem, the military (Army in particular) is broken, used up, worn out and badly in need of both equipment and replacements.
But, in a nation whose government hides the true level of unemployment and hides the real rate of inflation, we should expect they would also hide the current state of the Army.
The Moar You Know
If you can hold a pistol with one of your remaining limbs, it’s back to the front with you, soldier.
Snark aside, words fail me. This has been going on for a couple of years now – guys with traumatic brain injuries being sent back, bad backs, bad shoulders – you name the affliction, the Army doesn’t seem to give a shit. The condition of the troops in-theater doesn’t matter at all to them as long as they can make their numbers.
This has to stop. It’s not right to ask this much of anybody.
J.A.F. Rusty Shackleford
This is so TYPICAL of John Cole, “caring” for the troops, PUH-LEAZE.
ADMIT IT, you won’t be HAPPY until the U.S.’s only option is to send healthy, TRAINED, capable troops to the war theater. ADMIT IT! Your only concern is the health and well-being of the men and women who volunteer to RISK THEIR LIVES to fight in our name and protect U.S. citizens from those who would do US harm.
Cole, just admit it ALREADY.
Dennis - SGMM
George W. Bush; “Have you no sense of decency, sir? At long last, have you left no sense of decency?”
In honor of the recent 50th anniversary of Robert Welch speaking those words to Senator Joseph McCarthy.
Now, where are the ringing speeches on the floor of Congress from the Democrats? As far as I’m concerned, Pelosi, Reid and many other Dems are co-conspirators with Bushco.
A kid of our close friend was stuck on a helicopter in Afghanistan with multiple herniated discs. Can’t say that I’m surprised that the insulated media can’t realize that the numbers in these stories they regurgitate represent actual people.
$5 says he was promoted for demonstrating ingenuity in the theatre.
Remember, in Bush’s army, shit floats up.
While not speaking for every situation, you have to understand the Army’s “profile” system.
Soldiers with permanent injuries get what is called a permanent profile, good for 5 years and reevaluated. A “P” profile doesn’t bar you from deploying, unless you’re a P3, which is an injury or ailment considered too detrimental for deployment, and then you’re on to reclassification or seperation.
(Most of) the injuries described above strike me as temporary injuries. A temporary profile can last from 2 days to as long as necessary for treatment (until it’s determined to be permanent…stay with me). It is possible to have a T3, which would make you temporarily non-deployable (depending on the injury and the specific profile written). In the end though, even T3’s are expected to heal and be deployable at a future time.
Secondly, there are enough “non-combat” jobs in every unit, that injured personnel could and should be used for, so that the healthy troops can do the patrolling, etc.
61% Say Obama, McCain Wives Influence Vote
Obligatory Family Guy clip.
Cassidy, mental health issues are rarely that temporary. No wonder they’re at record suicide levels.
I don’t care what your injury is, if you can not carry a weapon you should not be in a combat zone. Period.
That’s why I said “most”. I’m one of the one’s being treated for MH issues, so I don’t need a reminder. Short of full-blown, debilitating PTSD, though, it isn’t considered a non-deployable injury.
Not being able to carry and fire a weapon is only 1 of the criteria in the non-deployable section.
Doesn’t “combat zone” cover a rather wider range of potential combat than simply being “the front lines”? I can see sending someone with a shoulder injury to be a clerk at a FOB, which I’m sure is considered a “combat zone”. Doing so frees up a fully able-bodied soldier to actually carry a weapon and go on patrol.
I’m all about getting the hell out of Iraq ASAP, but I get irritated by media coverage of military issues that takes those issues out of the military context and puts an OMG! after the headline.
A perfect example is Rumsfeld’s “you go to war with the army you have…” statement. It’s absolutely true, and it’s basic common sense. You’re never as fully prepared as you’d like to be, and at the end of the day, you fight with what’s available, not with what’s on the wishlist.
Granted, Rumsfeld is someone I’d like to see captured by Mujahadeen and treated the way Russian prisoners were in their invasion (i.e., forcibly sodomized to the point of gibbering insanity, then flayed and left at the end of the runway in a bag).
There’s a howling need for a decent military commentator to separate the issues that come up into “this is normal and appropriate” and “this is the army treating its soldier like Russian prisoners”.
Don’t think so. When Army and civilian leadership started noticing they were a little short handed for the Republican grand adventure in nation building, and like equipment soldiers were getting a little wear and tear from multiple deployments, directives like in this memo from Bragg were impressed upon COs…
No pressure there. Couldn’t possibly have contributed to something like this…
So yeah, maybe some common sense does need to be put in writing. But hey, no cost has been too great for the continuing dog and pony show in Iraq for our patriot warrior class. 95 more years!
So wait. Even with the increase in waivers for ex-cons they still need to do this crap? Greeaaat.
But suggest that the Army is getting just a bit stretched and you’re a soldier hating tr8tor who plays snugglebunnies with the terrorists.
Like guarding John “When we get the soldiers out of there isn’t important” McCane the next time he goes for a stroll through the streets of Bdad.
Phoenician in a time of Romans
How badly injured do you have to be before you can’t even lift your gun? What the hell did they expect that guy to do?
The phrase “[Insert ethnic minority] Mine Detector” springs to mind.
No actually…things like manning the CP, working in the S-3 shop, etc. These are essential tasks, but they tend to be very safe jobs, comparitively. Even being on a FOB, can be dangerous, but the risks are substantially higher for those who go on missions regularly.
Unfortunately, this kind of thing does happen, but it’s not a systemic problem. Most units are very proactive on managing and tracking profiles. Typically, the worst thing you’ll see is a Battalion, or Company, insisting that all personnel deploy, knowing that a few of its Soldiers cannot. Typically those Soldiers are identified and re-deployed back to the States within weeks, sometimes days.
The Other Steve
Would you not want everyone at a FOB to have the ability to carry a rifle?
I could certainly understand a soldier who was injured to not leave his squad, but isn’t the point that having a squad member who cannot defend himself actually puts his squad at risk, which is why a commanding officer would not allow it?
Of course, but if you have injured personnel, there are jobs for them with a significant level of decreased danger.
If someone is injured, but determined to be able to return to duty, they are gainfully employed until they are healed. That’s what differentiates the temporary and permanent profiles. Temporary profiles assume that the Soldier will be able to return to duty and function at 100% in a relatively short amount of time.
The 16th and last item on that list is: “The inductee is heavier than ‘Pudge’ Kagan.”
Bill Section 147
My nephew had thyroid cancer. He had already finished his stint in the Army National Guard. He was/is considered disabled. But before the time elapsed where he couldn’t be activated they activated him. He is a PA and a Captain and they needed medical personnel so he went (yes he wished it were not so but still it was his duty). However, they did excuse him from having to pass the physical training prior to deployment. I joked with him that when somebody starts dropping mortar fire he can just wave his “doctors excuse” while strolling for cover.
The hitch. His condition and treatment greatly inhibits his bodies ability to metabolize calcium. The upshot, if he goes in to a stressful situation the lack of calcium can cause muscle seizure. And he needs meds to maintain stability.
I don’t want to be too long winded but the full scope of this joke of a war effort needs to be told.
While driving with two buddies in a leased SUV with no armour – you see there were not enough military vehicles so they lease SUVs at a huge price – they got stuck in a minor traffic incident in the middle of no-where. This was on the Kuwait/Iraq border so not a “high-risk” zone but still any time your vehicle is force to halt it sets off the alarm bells.
Suddenly they hear a weird sound (think Steve Martin as the Gas Station Attendant in the Jerk). Out of the vehicle drop to the ground and all three of them start emptying their pistols at a way to far of a range at some yahoo with an AK 47 firing from a white pick-up out in the desert. Well the guy drives off and my nephew is still lying on the ground. He cannot move. All of his back muscles are locked up. He had to spend the night under observation. What the fuck is he doing there. If he would have been further from base or in a real fire fight he would have been SOL.
Side note. The army has created a combat badge type award for non-infantrymen who have been in combat. My nephew appreciates this idea as the Iraq occupation puts a lot of guys who aren’t infantrymen in those types of situations – but he was a bit embarrassed that he was given this and better still it was given to his unit because “elements” of the unit had come under fire. But wait…there’s more.
Later he receives the Bronze Star. No not for his heroics (although just going is pretty damn heroic/foolish). I guess somebody decided that all officers (Captains and above) who are deployed in Iraq for an appropriate time (decorum must be observed) are awarded the Bronze Star.