Thursday, February 5, 2009

Humvees = death trap says Pentagon

I picked this up over at Airman Mom's blog. It ran in Wednesday's USA Today.

By Tom Vanden Brook, USA TODAY
WASHINGTON — Army and Marine Corps officials knew nearly a decade before the invasion of Iraq that its workhorse Humvee vehicle, was a "deathtrap" even with armor added to protect it against roadside bombs, according to an inspector general's report.

Reports distributed throughout the Army and Marine Corps after the 1991 Persian Gulf War and the Somalia conflict in 1994 urged the development of armored vehicles to avoid the devastating effects of roadside bombs and land mines, but the Pentagon failed to act, the report says.

The Pentagon didn't field significant numbers of Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicles until 2007, more than three years after roadside bombings began to escalate in the Iraq war. The conclusions of the 1991 and 1994 reports were not included in the one-page summary of the inspector general's findings released in December.

The inspector general's full report was later posted on a website by the Center for Public Integrity, a government watchdog group.

Troops added makeshift armor to their Humvees and the Pentagon rushed kits to retrofit the vehicles with better protections after the threat from roadside bombs escalated in 2003 and 2004. Even so, retrofitted Humvees remained vulnerable to improvised explosive devices (IEDs), because of the vehicle's "flat bottom, low weight, low ground clearance and aluminum body," the inspector general found.

The report distributed throughout the Army and Marine Corps in 1994 found that Humvees "even with a mine-protection retrofit kit developed for Somalia remained a deathtrap in the event of an anti-tank mine detonation."

That report called on the Army to outline what types of mine-resistant vehicles it might need, according to the inspector general.

The rest of the story can be found here.


AirmanMom said...

I see I am not the only one appalled by this article! It will be most interesting how this issue is addressed. I have every intention of following this story!
btw, thanks for the link!


ABNPOPPA said...

Very sad on the part of the military however, Congress controls the purse strings.