DALE SUITER: Support Troops



By Dale R. Suiter STAFF WRITER

History offers many examples of military personnel fielded as infantry when America’s combat arms are hard pressed in battle. The Marne in World War I, The Battle of the Bulge in World War II, The Chosin Reservoir in Korea, TET – 1968 in Vietnam are famous examples. Cooks, clerks, mechanics and other Soldiers, Sailors, Marines and Airmen have picked up weapons and acted as infantry. Many of the military support personnel have been replaced by so called private contractors. Troops back from Iraq and Afghanistan have told me they have a very, very low opinion of the private military contractors regarding their work ethic and technical capability to perform maintenance tasks.

Our military does not feed itself. Food service is contracted. Lt. Gen Lewis (Chesty) Puller said, words to the effect in “Marine” (Puller’s biography) “In future wars the troops will starve”. He had a point years ago. Gone are company Mess Sergeants that older vets like me remember. Gone too is the service the troops were provided by an in house food service system.

Repair of trucks, the (troop killing and maiming) HUMVEE, aircraft, armor and the thousands of maintenance and supply issues are privatized. Cost savings? Not within my view. A civilian welder is paid in excess of $80,000.00 a year in Iraq. His military counterpart makes far less.

Recall “Beware the military/industrail comples” said by a fromer President in the 1950’s. We can not “beware” the military/industrial complex. It is here – and it does not work.

The thousands of contracted “workers” will not be available to respond to the next offensive by the nation’s enemies. Who is going to pick up a rifle and go “…once more into the breech…”?

Dale R. Suiter
RVN Vet 67-69

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