We, the Armed Forces Service Center, a Military Hospitality Lounge in Miami ( formerly operated by the USO) are seeking a Medal of Honor recipient for a free 7 day cruise November 7th, to the Western Caribbean out of Fort Launderdale (“FLL”). This is a fund raising cruise and we will have an announcement available soon and a press release. Hopefully, this Medal of Honor recipient lives in Florida or we will fly this person to Florida. We plan a ceremony on Veterans Day, November 11th, on board the Celebrity Solstice, one of the newest and most beautiful ships at sea.
The Armed Force Service Center is the old USO of south Florida and our 501(c)(3) is the Armed Forces Service Center. We operate the Military Hospitality Lounge in Miami and soon in FLL. Please see our website at: www.militaryloungemiami.com This will be free cruise for the recipient of the Medal of Honor and we will have a ceremony on board on Veterans Day, 11 November, as well as other socials ( champagne).
Ever since its inception, Soldiers for the Truth (“SFTT”) has been focused on insuring that our frontline troops have the best possible equipment to accomplish their mission and come home alive safely and in one piece. Our campaigns have been based on providing our troops with the “Best Equipment to Support the Troops,” often referred to as our “B.E.S.T.” Campaign strategy. While much of our recent investigative reporting has been focused on body armor, SFTT will soon be extending its investigative reporting to cover the BASIC FIVE combat equipment items necessary to properly equip our brave heroes serving in harm’s way: Body Armor, Helmets, Rifles, Sidearms and Combat Boots.
BODY ARMOR TO WARD OFF LIFE-THREATENING INJURY
When it comes to saving lives, the Military’s standard-issue body armor has been independently tested and shown to be significantly inferior to body armor worn by knowledgeable high-ranking officers, top civilian officials, their body guards, contractors in Iraq, Special Forces with discriminatory funds and others with the luxury of choice.
Standard-issue helmets which ignore current human factors engineering and are far from optimally effective in preventing traumatic brain injuries, the Iraq war’s signature injury.
RIFLES THAT AREN’T JAMMERS
The CAR-4 standard-issue rifle is a modified version of the M-16, which our troops have complained about since Vietnam. Forty-five years later, impractical maintenance requirements still contribute to all-too-common jamming, a fatal flaw on the battlefield.
MILITARY SIDEARMS THAT SHOOT STRAIGHT
The standard-issue 9 millimeter pistol has reliability and trust problems. The bottom line: it has too often failed to stop a determined opponent.
COMBAT BOOTS THAT FIT THE MISSION
The standard-issue combat boot—designed to be all-purpose—is a footwear failure. When America commits to “boots on the ground,” the troops should have mission, climate and terrain-specific gear that can go the distance.
Like our ongoing investigation into body armor, it is clear that our frontline troops have deficient combat equipment and our military leadership has done little – if anything – to properly equip them for their hazardous mission. Over the coming weeks and months we will provide you with some of our preliminary findings and I am convinced that you too will share our outrage at how our troops are presently outfitted for combat.
I still vividly recall David’s and my outrage over Secretary Donald Rumsfeld’s cynical and uncaring response to Army Spc. Thomas Wilson plea for better equipment: “You go to war with the Army you have – not the Army you might want or wish to have at a later time.” We were outraged for the rest of Hack’s life and I still am!!!!
Paraphrasing Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, “Troops go to war with the military leadership they have – not the leadership they deserve!” It is sad to say that almost 6 years later, our military leadership hasn’t yet to take the necessary steps to provide our frontline troops with the equipment they deserve. Shame on you Secretary Rumsfeld and shame on our military leaders who continue to sidestep the safety of our troops.
My valiant, wonderful husband, Colonel David (Hack) Hackworth, one of America’s greatest heroes and most valor-decorated soldiers, died in my arms two years ago this past May (Editor’s note: This was written by Col. Hackworth’s wife three years ago on the second anniversary of his death). During the last weeks we shared, he thought not a wit about himself; and his love for me burned so brightly I still feel surrounded by that awesome warmth. But he worried too about the frontline troops he spent his life protecting and particularly about Soldiers For The Truth (“SFTT”), the foundation we started together. So I promised Hack I’d pick up the torch and keep SFTT viable – and continue our commitment to get the kids out at the tip of the spear the best leadership, training and equipment.
I knew it wouldn’t be easy. In spite of the major stories we broke – such as the lack of up-to-date body armor or none at all when the troops first went back into Iraq or the unarmored hummers or Abu Ghraib, which pointed so clearly to flaws in both training and leadership – most people we addressed when we tried to raise awareness and funds found it difficult to accept that our soldiers and Marines weren’t getting the right stuff with which to wage war. Even though we eventually came to expect the disconnect, we always found it hard to compute — but that was because for many years we were often first to report outrages like the Tillman cover-up in our weekly column DEFENDING AMERICA, which Hack would also discuss every week on TV and radio. To disbelieving ears, of course, but he kept getting booked because he had better pundit credentials than most and good TV-Q, probably because he was as quick and deadly with words as he’d been in battle.
Only recently have I noticed that we’re gaining more traction and I suspect it’s mainly because the Walter Reed debacle so deeply shocked and touched the nation. Suddenly we were all confronting what Hack had warned us about on Larry King when we first went into Iraq: in spite of all our vows to the contrary, we’ve allowed ourselves to be sucked into another Vietnam with far greater potential fall-out. Sure, because of medical and technological advances, we won’t have a black granite wall listing 58,000 fallen warriors; but depending upon how much longer we’re stuck in Iraq, we’re likely to have far more than 58,000 wounded, many grievously.
Excellent organizations offer countless services to take care of the troops, from entertaining them in Iraq to helping them and their families when they come home. The USO, Wounded Warrior, Fisher House and so on. But no organization except SFTT is dedicated day in, day out to being there for our stalwart warriors as they stand tall for their country out in the shifting sands of the Valley of the Shadow of Death — to try to prevent them from being killed or wounded in the first place.
As we entered last spring the fifth year of this terrible war, SFTT will formally announce the new Basic Five campaign to get America’s frontline troops the best available of the five most essential items of personal combat gear so they have the best possible chance to complete their assigned missions and make it home alive and in one piece in a plane seat instead of a body bag or on a stretcher. Doesn’t it seem criminal that the richest nation in the world, which spends more than the rest of the world combined on defense, can’t budget responsibly enough to provide its sons and daughters with a helmet that will prevent many more of the endemic, life-altering head injuries? With the same better body armor the generals choose – and wear hidden under their uniforms? With a rifle that’s not a jammer like Jessica Lynch’s M-16 and that’s at least as effective as the AK-47, the terrorists’ weapon-of-choice? With a sidearm that’s reliable and deadly in tight situations? And with boots capable of going the bloody distance?
No wonder Hack died worrying about the troops. But if more Americans stay mindful of the dreadful consequences of war and help SFTT carry Hack’s torch, we can together “SUPPORT THE TROOPS WITH MORE THAN LIP SERVICE” and make sure more of our brave volunteers survive whatever lies ahead.