Open Letter to Senator Scott Brown on M-ATV defects

Posted by:

July 30, 2010

Honorable Senator Scott P. Brown

317 Russell Senate Office Building

Washington, D.C.     20510

Honorable Senator Scott P. Brown:

 I am writing to you today as a concerned and worried Father and Veteran, on the issue of the M-ATV vehicle doors. These concerns are not only mine, but of many other families in the Corps, as well as the other branches in our military.  We are reaching out to you and your colleagues’ for HELP, on these issues listed in the letters (see attachments).

The Oshkosh Company was awarded a Billion dollar plus contract to build the M-ATV for the Military branches. Regretfully there are several flawed components; the most serious of them is the sticking of the doors, making them (Troops) unable to exit the vehicle. After reading these articles, I was outraged along with other Military families. I sent off a letter to Brigadier General Brogan at System Command in Quantico. I received a response back from the General based on information from the Oshkosh Company. Their conclusion is, improper torque and no loctite on the bolts. PLEASE, do they take us for fools (Oshkosh)! There is more to this than just improper torque and no loctite. This is not the response we were looking for. I’m quite sure that our men and women of the Motor-T that work on these vehicles have tried everything in the book and still had problems with the doors. Oshkosh also indicates that it would take a major re-design to change over to another design. The Humvees HAD the same exact problem, the solution was the change over from the two strap hinge to the new design piano hinge. This worked, and it can work again. This is in use today and works on the Humvees, and my son (USMC) can attest to that, it worked fine in Afghanistan. We cannot allow Oshkosh to take a band aid approach when it comes to our Troops; no matter what the cost is to retool the assembly line and to permanently fix this issue. Corporate greed and the bottom line must not be allowed in this equation at all!! This equipment is to protect them not to entrap them. I realize that nothing moves fast in Washington, and this must not take a back burner approach or lip service from Oshkosh telling us all is working fine. I would bet my pay check that this problem will not be going away any time soon. This will happen again and at what cost will befall our Troops in the Theater of Operation. I ask you to take a stand and say, not on my watch, you have the power to make things happen, and with me all I can do is bring it to your attention and other’s in Washington. All too often our Military leader’s hands are tied.

These are our troops and family members out there on the front lines, protecting us. They are not just names on a set of dog tags, these are real people, and they deserve the very best that we can build. This is America; let us put our best foot forward!

I look forward to hearing from you, and thank for your time.

Sincerely,

Michael J. F. Bucca

Hanover, Massachusetts

SFTT Editor Note:  This is an open letter to the Honorable Senator Scott Brown from one of his constituents, Michael Bucca.  The re-publication of this letter on SFTT does not in any way constitute an endorsement of Mr. Bucca’s views regarding the safety of the M-ATV.  Nevertheless, we believe that issues or concerns that may impact on the the safety of our troops be carefully vetted to insure that our brave heroes have the best available protective gear and combat equipment available.  If others have information concerning safety and reliability issues of the M-ATV, please email the SFTT Editor.

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M-ATV Letter to USMC General Brogan

Posted by:

June 01, 2010

Brigadier General Michael M. Brogan

Commander

Marine Corps Systems Command

2200 Lester St.

Quantico, Virginia 22134-6050

Dear General,

I realize I’m the last person you wanted to hear from, yet again. But I felt it was essential after reading about the doors jamming on the M-ATV, that’s why I have reached out to you as the Commander of System Command with my thoughts. The issue at hand is the M-ATV doors, I’m well aware you know all about the issue at hand. I ask you now to PLEASE consider the very possibility of the “piano hinge” design again on the M-ATV as well as all upcoming vehicles. You gave me the opportunity once, to give my presentation and thoughts on the Humvee doors that were jamming, as in the case of the new M-ATV. Make no mistake, I was and I am grateful to you for that opportunity you gave me at Quantico. When I introduced the advantages of the “piano hinge” design in 2007 to your staff, which are in use today on the Humvees. All I can say is that your staff must have thought I had something there to have it put into production. It is my strong belief that the continued use of the two strap hinge design on armored vehicles will never work properly. The bushing within the hinges cannot handle the heavy loads of the armor plated doors at two load points. The weight must be equally supported along the full length of the doors. I’m sure if you were to visit any motor-pool with these vehicles you would find graphite like substance on the hinge areas. You gave me an opportunity once; I ask that you employ this concept that is used in the Humvee today. The design has worked and it can work on other vehicles. I would not steer you wrong and better yet, the Troops. The Oshkosh Company should stop all further production of these vehicles, and change the hinge design ASAP. They also should not be allowed to take a band aid approach to resolve these issues. We need the right fix, but not their type of quick fix.

I look forward to hearing from you again and thank you for your time and Godspeed to you General, and maybe someday our paths will cross.

Sincerely,

Michael J. F. Bucca Sr.

Hanover, Massachusetts

Veteran and Father of a proud Marine!

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Body Armor: Open Letter to General Conway

Posted by:

April 21, 2009

Commandant of the Marine Corps

General James T. Conway

Headquarters USMC

2 Navy Annex (CMC)

Washington, D.C.  20380-1775

Dear General,

I would like to thank for your response to my letter dated 03-28-08, as well, as the time you took out of your demanding schedule. I know you and I are the same in many ways as acknowledged in your letter, but yet very different. The Command you lead and the Stars you wear are one of great responsibilities. The tasks that are put before you from day to day are not easy ones, but you have within you a Drive and Conviction to push forward no matter what, that’s why you are there.

I, in my life, do not lead a Command, but I do have a Drive and Conviction for the Troops of all branches, and my sons. When I started writing these letters back in 2006 it has never been my intent to dishonor any branch in our military or to be a thorn in anybody’s side. It has always been my outlook in life that one person can make a difference and I live by that rule. The objective here is to protect ALL the Troops with the very best Body Armor.

The first objective was to get NASA involved and this is not to say, just to kick it around and talk about it at meetings. When my wife and I went to Marine Corps Systems Command at Quantico Va. in 2007 to meet with Brigadier General Brogan’s staff. I gave my concerns, thoughts and ideas, which included NASA. I was told they had never contacted NASA on this issue but were going to do it as a result of this meeting, which I thought to be a positive response.  The purpose is, to form and make One Department within NASA solely for R&D for Body Armor ONLY, and nothing else. The second is the technology of liquid body armor by Dr. Norman Wagner, to be used in the making of the soft body armor as well as the helmets. The third is to get the President, the Senate, and Congress to fund such a project which I have found to be like climbing Mount Everest, backwards, but I still have not given up on this concept, nor will I ever.

Over the years of writing to the political machine in Washington, it has been disappointing at times, but not enough to prevent me from continuing with my writing. I have found that some are disconnected with the needs of the Military and their families on the issue of Body Armor in particular.  There are some that have no idea what anguish, pain and many sleepless nights the families endure when their loved ones are deployed. But yet, they still sit on committees in which they hold the power to make a difference, and yet, they do not act, or act quickly enough when called upon.

I have found that the subject of the military with most people in general, have no idea on what anguish truly means, and don’t care. Unless you walk in our shoes, can you truly understand what our Troops and their Military families go through and the great scarifies they make every day for this great nation.

  When we have designs, redesigns and recall’s of Body Armor for several years, without making any great strides in the area of weight and protection, this is why I do, what I do, and why the families are so concerned! Have I set the bar too high for Washington on what I ask of them? I think not! This request is not one that can’t be quickly reached; we must move more rapidly and think outside the box on this one!

I truly understand the willingness of our military leaders to unfailingly fight for the best, but my concerns are not so much with the military but with the committees that tie the hands of the military on so many issues. I realize that I have made no friends, in Washington. Some may even hate me for the writing of these letters to the military and Washington, but that’s alright. If I can make a difference and save one life, then I can look in the mirror and say it was a good day and it was all worth it, no matter what people think of me! As my 1st Sergeant always said, “Respect is not given, it is Earned”, and the Troops have earned my respect many times over, past and present.

I will continue the push forward on my requests, as so many lives are on the line, so bare with me on my letters, e-mails and phone calls; I do this on behalf of all the TROOPS.

I look forward to hearing from you again and thank you for your time and Godspeed to you General, and maybe someday our paths will cross.

Americans never quit.

General Douglas Macarthur

US WWII general & war hero (1880 – 1964)

Sincerely,

Michael J. F. Bucca Sr.

Hanover, Massachusetts 

“Veteran and Father of a proud Marine”

SFTT Editor’s Note:   This is an open letter from Michael Bucca, a “veteran and father of a proud Marine,” to General James T. Conway, Commondant of the Marine Corps.   While Mr. Bucca’s suggestions to engage NASA do not necessarily represent the position of SFTT, we do agree that seeking better protective gear and combat equipment for our frontline troops should become a National Priority.   Let’s raise our voices to support these brave young men and women who defend our freedoms.   Join SFTT and add your voice to Mr. Bucca’s to get our frontline troops the best available combat equipment.

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