In a solid piece of investigative reporting, WHEC of Rochester, New York reports that local firm A.J. Hughes Screw Products may have supplied defective screws for combat helmets.
I-Team 10 Investigative Reporter, Brett Davidsen, reports that the now defunct A.J. Hughes Screw Products was sub-contracted by Gentex Corporation to make parts for Army and Air Force helmets. According to court filings unearthed by WHEC investigative reporters, A.J. Hughes was subcontracted to supply screws that attach the chin strap of the Advanced Combat Helmet. Apparently, the screws didn’t meet specifications and the US Army found that ” in extreme environmental conditions, the non-conforming screws corroded pre-maturely.”
As a result, the Army recalled about 37,000 of the helmets that were issued to soldiers and airmen. U.S. Army Project Manager of Soldier Protection Colonel William Cole said, “Instead of protecting the soldiers the way it should, there’s a potential you could have a ballistic failure where either there would be a penetration, or more likely, a part of the bolt that would break off and impact the soldier’s skull.”
Retired Army General John Batiste was commander of the First Infantry Division in Iraq. “Our troops in harms way deserve the very best…the best equipment that money can buy that we can provide them to protect their lives.”
As SFTT is quoted in the article, this is not the first time defective equipment has been furnished to our frontline troops. In fact, defective helmets were recalled when irregularities were found in the manufacture of combat helmets subcontracted to the Federal Prison Industries. Even more egregious, are DoD efforts to hide the efficacy of body armor issued to US troops. In fact, SFTT has filed a request under the Freedom of Information Act (“FOIA”) to obtain access to autopsy records which may prove that defective body armor and cracked ceramic plates may have been a factor in their deaths.
While “the Army says no one was ever injured as a result of the faulty screw,” how can one be sure? Those in charge with the procurement process insist that our troops have the best equipment. Furthermore, they claim that there has never been a failure which contributed to injury or death caused by a defective “screw” or “ceramic plate.” If true, why do military officials stonewall every public effort to get the facts? If DoD and military leaders would be more straight-forward with the public and the troops they lead, we would be in a far better position to truly provide our troops with the” best equipment money can provide.”Share