s skippy the bush kangaroo

skippy the bush kangaroo



Thursday, November 25, 2004

it's not you need any training or anything just to go to war

this latimes piece points out that the national guard who are being sent to iraq are not being trained adequately to do the job:

members of a california army national guard battalion preparing for deployment to iraq said this week that they were under strict lockdown and being treated like prisoners rather than soldiers by army commanders at the remote desert camp where they are training.

more troubling, a number of the soldiers said, is that the training they have received is so poor and equipment shortages so prevalent that they fear their casualty rate will be needlessly high when they arrive in iraq early next year. "we are going to pay for this in blood," one soldier said…

the guard troops in new mexico said they wanted more sophisticated training and better equipment. they said they had been told, for example, that the vehicles they would drive in iraq would not be armored, a common complaint among their counterparts already serving overseas.

they also said the bulk of their training had been basic, such as first aid and rifle work, and not "theater-specific" to iraq. they are supposed to be able to use night-vision goggles, for instance, because many patrols in iraq take place in darkness. but one group of 200 soldiers trained for just an hour with 30 pairs of go

ggles, which they had to pass around quickly, soldiers said.the soldiers said they had received little or no training for operations that they expected to undertake in iraq, from convoy protection to guarding against insurgents' roadside bombs. one said he has put together a diary of what he called "wasted days" of training. it lists 95 days, he said, during which the soldiers learned nothing that would prepare them for iraq.

[lt. col. michael] hubbard had said he would make two field commanders available on tuesday to answer specific questions from the los angeles times about the training, but that did not happen.

the fact that the national guardsmen have undergone largely basic training suggests that army commanders do not trust their skills as soldiers, said david segal, director of the center for research on military organization at the university of maryland. that tension underscores a divide that has long existed between "citizen soldiers" and their active-duty counterparts, he said.

"these soldiers should be getting theater-specific training," segal said. "this should not be an area where they are getting on-the-job training. the military is just making a bad situation worse."
thanks and a tip of the bush kangaroo hat to westegg's dkos diary for the link!
posted by skippy at 2:09 PM |

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