Stodghill Says So

An opinionated posting on a variety of subjects by a former newspaper reporter and columnist whose daily column was named best in Indiana by UPI. The Blog title is that used in his high school sports predictions for the Muncie Evening Press.

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Location: Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio, United States

At the age of 18 I was a 4th Infantry Division rifleman in the invasion of Normandy, then later was called back for the Korean War. Put in a couple of years as a Pinkerton detective. Much of my life was spent as a newspaper reporter, sports writer and daily columnist. Published three books on high school sports in Ohio and Indiana. I write mystery fiction for Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine and others. Three books, Normandy 1944 - A Young Rifleman's War, The Hoosier Hot Shots, and From Devout Catholic to Communist Agitator are now available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble and other booksellers. So are four collections of short mysteries: Jack Eddy Stories Volumes 1 and 2, Midland Murders, and The Rough Old Stuff From Mike Shayne Mystery Magazine.

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Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Body Armor - Good or Bad?

It seems that body armor is constantly in the news these days. Should soldiers in Iraq wear it or not? Too many people that have never been in combat weigh in on the subject. It depends on the job, I think.
Someone that spends most of his or her time riding around in a Humvee or other vehicle would be wise to wear it, or so it seems. But what about infantrymen who are on their feet and on the move?
Many years - decades, actually - have gone by since I carried a rfile with the 4th Infantry Division in Normandy but I well remember the rule that helped me survive at a time when so many good friends and excellent soldiers did not. It wasn't because I was a better soldier, far from it, but I was lucky enough not to have an artillery shell hit on top of me or have a sniper line up the crosshairs of his telescopic sight on my head. But that rule helped, too.
It was simple and easy to remember: Keep low, move fast, stay mobile.
All three things were important but the last one was vital. It seems to be forgotten today. So does keeping low. So, in most cases, does moving fast. As for staying mobile, I feel sorry for the soldiers in Iraq, many of them from my own 4th Infantry Division, that I see on the news who are burdened with bulky backpacks. You can't hit the ground and roll while wearing one of them. That extra weight can be a killer, too. If you are in the open you can't be truly mobile if you don't have one hand free until you are ready to fire your weapon. Forget those foolish photos of cops with both hands on a pistol as they move toward a confrontation. It's a good way to die.
So what about body armor for infantrymen? I certainly wouldn't wear it if back in combat. On an evening news program one infantryman in Iraq said he couldn't climb a six-foot fence while wearing body armor. Another said he couldn't touch his hands above his head while wearing it. In other words they couldn't stay mobile.
Some might say it's a toss of the dice and there is some truth in that. But it is better to load the dice in your favor whenever possible so I would much rather depend on mobility rather than body armor when bullets are flying.
And finally, if you have never been in infantry combat, keep quiet on the subject because you don't know what you are talking about. Posted by Picasa

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