This Is In Reference To Our Troops In Real Life – Not The Comics
More than 7,000 coalition troops have died in the Middle East; 4,700 in Iraq and 2,600 in Afghanistan. Possibly tens of thousands of US soldiers have had amputees due to IEDs and from combat. As an ex Airborne Ranger, I’ve often wondered, WHY THE HELL aren’t our soldiers issued bullet/fragmentary resistant shields similar to what Captain America wears. Body armor is currently being used, but it does nothing to protect the arms and legs of soldiers exposed to enemy fire. Body armor also transfers a huge amount of force to the body and internal organs.
With standard issue Captain America shields, the term “Double Amputee” would still be used when talking about returning US casualties of war, but hopefully, the incident rate would be far, far less than what we see now.
Cover and Concealment
Cover: Cover is what a soldier hides behind when receiving fire. Bullets are fired at you, you need something in between you and the bullets, something that will stop them. A very thick wall, lots of cyder blocks, a hill, an armored personnel carrier, 50 camels. These things keeps you alive.
Concealment: Concealment is something that prevents a soldier from being seen. Think of all those Vietnam movies you’ve seen. Soldiers in the bush, hiding in the foliage are concealed from enemy eyes. If spotted, and if they have no cover to hide behind, they’re dead meat, depending on how fast they can run and how many rifles are pointed in their direction.
What’s A Shield Do?
A Captain America shield is portable cover. No matter if a soldier is an urban environment, a desert or even in a jungle, they are exposed when going from point A to point B. Every single time they move from one building to another they are essentially moving from through a “Danger Area” (Danger Area is any “open” area such as a field, river, top of a hill. Any area where the enemy can go, “So, Abdul, there I was dreaming about these virgins and…. HOLY JIHAD! Abdul, Look! There is an infidel out in the open in that goat field! Wake Jafar up and let us shoot these Great Satan dogs! …and don’t forget your sandals Abdul, like you did last time.”
Out in the open, in a Danger Area, a soldier is exposed. As he starts receiving enemy fire, he has nothing to hide behind. there is no cover to stop the bullets from hitting any part of his body. His only hope, depending on the size of the enemy with respect to his own unit, is getting in the prone position (decreasing the size of his silhouette), laying down a tremendous amount of suppressive fire (which can’t be sustained for too long), and then strategically getting the hell out of there to a better position (cover) so they can then return targeted fire from a safe position. They can also call for support, which god only knows when that would come. In this instance, the shield would help protect a soldier’s torso, arms and legs until he and his comrades got safely to a better place of permanent cover.
What’s Needed In A Shield?
The shield would need to meet certain conditions in order for it to function properly in the combat theater of operations. Off hand, some of the requirements are:
- Capable of stopping an AK-47 round. Granted, armor can’t stand up to a hail of bullet fire, but it only takes one bullet to mess up a soldier’s day. If that shield can stop that one bullet, and a couple more, he’ll be able to get a new shield back at base, and have a great story to tell his buddies, wife and little daughter at home.
- Portable without weighing a ton. A soldier can only carry so much crap before he starts bitching and moaning. .. well… he’s going to be bitching and moaning no matter what (I hear the MREs are only marginally better than they were when I was in) no matter what, especially in the heat, but logistically, he can only carry so much before his performance is hampered which is when his equipment becomes a liability. The shield shouldn’t weigh any more than 14 pounds max.
- Easily worn during performance. It has to function while he moves and engages in combat. Which means he needs to be able to lie in the prone, kneeling position, in urban environment (going through doorways) and is not cumbersome while firing his weapon.
- Can be unencumbered as needed. At some point a soldier needs to do other stuff, remove a rucksack, put on a rucksack, apply a dressing to a wound, get to that hot piece of frag lodged in his rib cage, get behind the wheel of vehicle quickly, grab a pen to take a cute female MP’s phone number down. The shield needs to be rapidly deployed and discarded on an as-needed basis.
- Camouflaged. Obviously, the shield wouldn’t look like Caps, except for ceremonial dress, and would have a camouflaged cover on it, based on the terrain and the operations involved.
- Cost effective. What’s the price of a soldier’s life? If you consider that an M4 (M-16) costs somewhere around $500 and a Kevlar helmet around $300, an effective shield should be able to be issued at around $1,000. A while ago we had up to 200,000 troops in Iraq and 20,000 in Afghanistan. If 75% of them were combat assigned, that’s about 165,000 soldiers out in the field susceptible to enemy fire. The tax payer’s price tag would be $165,000,000. Even at $2,000 per shield (which could EASILY be gathered by doing nothing more than passing a hat) the total cost would be $330,00,000. Chump change! US tax payers would be getting a goddamn deal and more troops would be returning, walking off that plane to their wives and kids.
Don’t they deserve it?
- by Ronando
PS: Yes, the photoshopped pics are less than ideal, but since our main graphics guy left to go be a counselor at some summer camp, we’re left on our own to hack and slash our way through making pics. So, no flamers!
Tags: Captain America