August 7, 2007:
With all the
new weapons and equipment being developed, and shipped to the troops, the U.S.
Army decided to turn the flood of new gear into a morale building exercise. So
there are now teams of soldiers hauling around collections of the latest stuff,
and mounting displays at bases all over
the world. The hundreds of billions of dollars that goes into the Iraq and
Afghanistan fighting has, as is often the case in wartime, created much more
research and development. Projects that would take years in peacetime, now have
stuff in soldiers hands within months. But the stuff tends to go to the combat
zones first. Only a third of the troops are in those areas, and this road show
is for the majority who may be headed that way soon.
Throughout the army, most
troops have either been to a combat zone, are due to go, or know they will make
a return trip. Improved weapons and equipment are a matter of life and death,
and the new army road show has gotten a lot of grateful attention. It's one
thing to view this stuff at an army website, it's something else altogether, to
be able to see it live and handle it. The current road show includes new
weapons, accessories (night sights), uniform items and body armor.
While the army has done things
like this before, this time around it was suggestions from troops, posted at
army websites, that got the idea into practice, and on the road.