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"Perhaps we should throw stones" – another guard unit decries training, equipment

They are not freaking prepared to go to war. Who is going to fix this problem? (LA Times):

Members of a second National Guard unit that prepared for duty in Iraq at the Army’s Fort Bliss compound have come forward with allegations that they were not adequately trained. The soldiers said in interviews, e-mails and official documents that they were sent to war earlier this year with chronic illness, broken guns and trucks with blown transmissions.

The unit’s M-60 machine guns reportedly were in such bad condition when the soldiers deployed in February that one sergeant — in a section of a post-training summary sent to his commanders that was titled “gun maintenance” — wrote: “Perhaps we should throw stones?”

The allegations come a month after another National Guard unit alleged that its training at Fort Bliss was so poor that soldiers feared incurring needlessly high casualties when they arrive in Iraq early next year.

Although the military has defended its troop preparedness, the willingness of units to go public with allegations suggests growing concern among National Guard and reserve members.

In the summary document obtained by the Los Angeles Times, the sergeant reported that some soldiers had arrived in Iraq without ever having fired some of the weapons they would use in war. Military commanders at the Fort Bliss complex, which straddles the Texas-New Mexico line, had misread mobilization orders, costing the soldiers a month of training, the sergeant wrote.

“We have been called away from our homes and families for hostile operations. We are owed a chance to be trained properly and given the tools to obtain that objective,” the sergeant wrote.

…He said the soldiers’ concerns appear to be related to the changing role of the National Guard and reserve. “Citizen-soldiers” now make up about 40 percent of the troops in Iraq — and shoulder a large share of the front-line combat roles.

Pam Spaulding

Pam Spaulding