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Thread: Army Orders Soldiers to Shed Dragon Skin or Lose SGLI!

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    "Shooter" evangilder's Avatar
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    Army Orders Soldiers to Shed Dragon Skin or Lose SGLI!

    I found this quite disturbing.

    Army Orders Soldiers to Shed Dragon Skin or Lose SGLI Death Benefits


    By Nathaniel R. Helms


    Two deploying soldiers and a concerned mother reported Friday afternoon that the U.S. Army appears to be singling out soldiers who have purchased Pinnacle's Dragon Skin Body Armor for special treatment. The soldiers, who are currently staging for combat operations from a secret location, reported that their commander told them if they were wearing Pinnacle Dragon Skin and were killed their beneficiaries might not receive the death benefits from their $400,000 SGLI life insurance policies. The soldiers were ordered to leave their privately purchased body armor at home or face the possibility of both losing their life insurance benefit and facing disciplinary action.



    The soldiers asked for anonymity because they are concerned they will face retaliation for going public with the Army's apparently new directive. At the sources' requests DefenseWatch has also agreed not to reveal the unit at which the incident occured for operational security reasons.



    On Saturday morning a soldier affected by the order reported to DefenseWatch that the directive specified that "all" commercially available body armor was prohibited. The soldier said the order came down Friday morning from Headquarters, United States Special Operations Command (HQ, USSOCOM), located at MacDill Air Force Base, Florida. It arrived unexpectedly while his unit was preparing to deploy on combat operations. The soldier said the order was deeply disturbiing to many of the men who had used their own money to purchase Dragon Skin because it will affect both their mobility and ballistic protection.



    "We have to be able to move. It (Dragon Skin) is heavy, but it is made so we have mobility and the best ballistic protection out there. This is crazy. And they are threatening us with our benefits if we don't comply." he said.



    The soldier reiterated Friday's reports that any soldier who refused to comply with the order and was subsequently killed in action "could" be denied the $400,000 death benefit provided by their SGLI life insurance policy as well as face disciplinary action.



    As of this report Saturday morning the Army has not yet responded to a DefenseWatch inquiry.



    Recently Dragon Skin became an item of contention between proponents of the Interceptor OTV body armor generally issued to all service members deploying in combat theaters and its growing legion of critics. Critics of the Interceptor OTV system say it is ineffective and inferior to Dragon Skin, as well as several other commercially available body armor systems on the market. Last week DefenseWatch released a secret Marine Corps report that determined that 80% of the 401 Marines killed in Iraq between April 2004 and June 2005 might have been saved if the Interceptor OTV body armor they were wearing was more effective. The Army has declined to comment on the report because doing so could aid the enemy, an Army spokesman has repeatedly said.



    A U.S. Army spokesman was not available for comment at the time DW's original report (Friday - 1700 CST) was published. DefenseWatch continues to seek a response from the Army and will post one as soon as it becomes available. Yesterday the DoD released a news story through the Armed Forces News Service that quoted Maj. Gen. Steven Speaks, the Army's director of force development, who countered critical media reports by denying that the U.S. military is behind the curve in providing appropriate force protection gear for troops deployed to Iraq and elsewhere in the global war against terrorism. The New York Tiimes and Washington Post led the bandwagon of mainstream media that capitalized on DefenseWatch's release of the Marine Corps study. Both newspapers released the forensic information the Army and Marines are unwilling to discuss.



    "Those headlines entirely miss the point," Speaks said.



    The effort to improve body armor "has been a programmatic effort in the case of the Army that has gone on with great intensity for the last five months," he noted.



    Speaks' assessment contradicts earlier Army, Marine and DoD statements that indicated as late as last week that the Army was certain there was nothing wrong with Interceptor OTV body armor and that it was and remains the "best body armor in the world."



    One of the soldiers who lost his coveted Dragon Skin is a veteran operator. He reported that his commander expressed deep regret upon issuing his orders directing him to leave his Dragon Skin body armor behind. The commander reportedly told his subordinates that he "had no choice because the orders came from very high up" and had to be enforced, the soldier said. Another soldier's story was corroborated by his mother, who helped defray the $6,000 cost of buying the Dragon Skin, she said.



    The mother of the soldier, who hails from the Providence, Rhode Island area, said she helped pay for the Dragon Skin as a Christmas present because her son told her it was "so much better" than the Interceptor OTV they expected to be issued when arriving in country for a combat tour.



    "He didn't want to use that other stuff," she said. "He told me that if anything happened to him I am supposed to raise hell."





    At the time the orders were issued the two soldiers had already loaded their Dragon Skin body armor onto the pallets being used to air freight their gear into the operational theater, the soldiers said. They subsequently removed it pursuant to their orders.



    Currently nine U.S. generals stationed in Afghanistan are reportedly wearing Pinnacle Dragon Skin body armor, according to company spokesman Paul Chopra. Chopra, a retired Army chief warrant officer and 20+-year pilot in the famed 160th "Nightstalkers" Special Operations Aviation Regiment (Airborne), said his company was merely told the generals wanted to "evaluate" the body armor in a combat environment. Chopra said he did not know the names of the general officers wearing the Dragon Skin.



    Pinnacle claims more than 3,000 soldiers and civilians stationed in Iraq and Afghanistan are wearing Dragon Skin body armor, Chopra said. Several months ago DefenseWatch began receiving anecdotal reports from individual soldiers that they were being forced to remove all non-issue gear while in theater, including Dragon Skin body armor, boots, and various kinds of non-issue ancillary equipment.



    Last year the DoD, under severe pressure from Congress, authorized a one-time $1,000 reimbursement to soldiers who had purchased civilian equipment to supplement either inadequate or unavailable equipment they needed for combat operations. At the time there was no restriction on what the soldiers could buy as long as it was specifically intended to offer personal protection or further their mission capabilities while in theater.



    Nathaniel R. Helms is the editor of DefenseWatch Magazine. He can be reached at natshouse1@chater.net. Please send all inquiries and comments to dwfeedback@yahoo.com
    http://www.sftt.org/main.cfm?actionI...30&htmlId=4514


    > I Support Doug Gilliss <

    For once you have tasted flight you will walk the earth with your eyes turned skywards, for there you have been and there you will long to return. Leonardo Da Vinci

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    Senior Member lesofprimus's Avatar
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    and was subsequently killed in action "could" be denied the $400,000 death benefit provided by their SGLI life insurance policy as well as face disciplinary action.
    What, they gonna fine ur dead ass corpse or ur widowed wife and small child, or ur 75 year old mother who just lost her only child???

    I think this is a load of ****... "Remove all non-issue gear" ???? Who are they kidding??? I heard something about this kinda crap a few weeks ago, but this info proves it... I talked to my buddy Sean and he said this situation does not affect USNSWCOM and probably not USSOCOM either...



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    IP/Mech THE GREAT GAZOO FLYBOYJ's Avatar
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    Or what if you're wearing one and you're wounded, what are they going to do, deny you medical attention?!?! What a bunch of dumbasses!!! I hope this story gets a name attachted to it.

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    Senior Member Nonskimmer's Avatar
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    Jesus Christ!
    So for taking every reasonable precaution in the field within their means, albeit with non "regulation" equipment, the Army is about to deny insurance benefits to it's fighting men and women. F*ck me!

    Bend over, boys.

  5. #5
    "Shooter" evangilder's Avatar
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    This story came from the Soldiers for Truth website. One of the founding members of SFT was David Hackworth. I have trusted these guys to get the straight skinny for years.

    USSOCOMM gave him a very generic and vague answer to e-mails. He has been pressing them to find out what the F is going on.

    Doesn't sound like the same military we were in, eh Dan? We civilian sourced whatever we needed that we couldn't get. That's how we had to get toothpaste on one op!

    This whole story stinks to high heaven and that is why I had to post it. Something is very very wrong with this and someone needs to fry for it.


    > I Support Doug Gilliss <

    For once you have tasted flight you will walk the earth with your eyes turned skywards, for there you have been and there you will long to return. Leonardo Da Vinci

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    Der Crew Chief DerAdlerIstGelandet's Avatar
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    If I was those soldiers I would go to IG, because that is in violations of there right to survive, especially when the armour that the Army is issuing is innadiquate and fails to protect the soldier.

    It was actually quite funny, we did a whole year in Iraq and when we got back, they made us recall our body armour because it was defective! A year after we got to Iraq!


    fly boy:"isnt that the first jet bomber becasue i have flown one in a flight sim before and i know how it handles"

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    IP/Mech THE GREAT GAZOO FLYBOYJ's Avatar
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    I agree Adler! I'd love to see a court marshal over this!!! I'm still waiting to see how long it takes for a name to emerge....

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    Senior Member kiwimac's Avatar
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    Typical HQ bullshit. Bloody redtabs

    Kiwimac

  9. #9
    Der Crew Chief DerAdlerIstGelandet's Avatar
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    There will be one FBJ, I assure you of that.


    fly boy:"isnt that the first jet bomber becasue i have flown one in a flight sim before and i know how it handles"

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    Senior Member P38 Pilot's Avatar
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    Man! That is crazy! Body armor should be kept if they purchased it!

    And what you were saying Alder is that it was "defective?" THats crazy!

    Its better to have an
    Army of deer being led by a lion,
    rather an Army of Lions being led by a deer
    ...

  11. #11
    Der Crew Chief DerAdlerIstGelandet's Avatar
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    They were found to break apart at certain points and allow a bullet or even shrapnel to move past the armour.


    fly boy:"isnt that the first jet bomber becasue i have flown one in a flight sim before and i know how it handles"

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    "Shooter" evangilder's Avatar
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    Looks like someone took scuttle-butt to the press. Whereever it came from, it was not USSOCOMM.
    Eagle Eyed Air Force Master Sergeant Sheds Light on Body Armor Saga

    Eagle Eyed Air Force Master Sergeant
    Sheds Light on Body Armor Saga

    DefenseWatch has received a clue in the ongoing saga to determine whether:
    - anyone issued an order, directive, or guidance prohibiting the use of any body armor other than issued body armor to special operations soldiers being deployed to a combat theater. In the case of our January 14 article titled "Army Orders Soldiers to Shed Dragon Skin or Lose SGLI Death Benefits" we were referring to Interceptor OTV body armor generally issued to all Soldiers, Marines, Sailors, Airmen, and Coast Guardsmen other than special operations members serving in combat theaters. Although the soldiers referenced in our report were special operations soldiers and would normally be provided BALCS they were not issued BALCS because none was available when they deployed. Note: Because DefenseWatch assured the servicemen anonymity we can not go into the matter further except to say that DW confirmed 11 of them purchased Dragon Skin body armor as an alternative;

    - anyone issue an order, directive or guidance threatening any service member killed while wearing non-issue body armor with the loss of their $400,000 SGLI death benefit if they failed to comply with the first order?

    In response we received a letter from a Master Sergeant at 21ST Space
    Wing Public Affairs that said,

    Your article stated:

    "On Saturday morning a soldier affected by the order
    reported to DefenseWatch that the directive specified
    that "all" commercially available body armor was
    prohibited. The soldier said the order came down Friday
    morning from Headquarters, United States Special
    Operations Command (HQ, USSOCOM), located at
    MacDill Air Force Base, Florida. It arrived unexpectedly
    while his unit was preparing to deploy on combat
    operations. The soldier said the order was deeply
    disturbing to many of the men who had used their own
    money to purchase Dragon Skin because it will affect
    both their mobility and ballistic protection. "

    - Defense Watch

    USSOCOM replied to queries about this:

    "First, as you are probably aware, I cannot comment on
    and do not know what the Army or Marine Corps policies
    are on body armor. I can only provide you information
    about Special Operations Forces.
    I have talked to all of the appropriate people and no
    one is aware of any directive that went out of USSOCOM
    headquarters last week that addressed the subject of
    body armor, much less prohibited the use of commercial
    body armor. Neither is anyone familiar with any statement
    made about service members losing their SGLI death
    benefits if they are wearing commercial body armor at the
    time of their death. There is no such USSOCOM policy about
    SGLI.

    Additionally, Special Operations Forces do not use the
    Interceptor OTV body armor that you discussed in the
    DefenseWatch piece. Special Operations Forces use the
    Body Armor Load Carriage System (BALCS)."

    -USSOCOM representative

    To the best of my knowledge, no such directive has ever
    been given. There was an article called "SOF-specific body
    armor - Are you covered?" written back in January 2005 in
    which Gen Brown (Commander, USSOCOM) stated "If you
    have purchased anything off the market other than the
    USSOCOM approved BALCS/SPEAR system, you may be
    unprotected and wrong", but there were no orders given or
    warnings about SGLI.

    (See attached article "SOCOM.txt")

    More than likely the message got garbled going down the
    chain and some well meaning folks or barracks lawyer
    types started this rumor. Further, the above incident was
    supposedly USSOCOM specific, not Army wide or
    DoD wide."

    To His letter the Master Sergeant attached the following story:



    "SOF-specific body armor Are you covered?

    By Julius Denson, USSOCOM Special Programs



    "If you have purchased anything off the market other than the USSOCOM approved BALCS/SPEAR system, you may be unprotected and wrong."

    -- Gen. Doug Brown, Commander, USSOCOM



    Body armor is essential life-saving equipment for Special Operations Forces. Many body armor systems commercially available were developed for law enforcement use and designed with small arms threat in mind. Military use demands additional protection from fragmentation. Technological advancements have resulted in the development of relatively light-weight military body armor that is effective against threats that range from armor piercing rifle rounds to fragmentation.



    Commercial systems are typically rated in accordance with the National Institute of Justice Standard (0101.04) which establishes test parameters and methodology, and acceptance criteria for various levels of ballistic protection. While NIJ standards are similar to military requirements, they were developed to characterize specific threats encountered in law enforcement environments. However, the threats faced by the military are more violent and pervasive. Consequently, NIJ standards are not used to characterize the ballistic performance of military body armor systems. In order to properly compare the ballistic performance of commercial systems to the performance of military systems, additional testing and evaluation of the commercial systems' ballistic performance is usually required.



    Body armor systems are typically made up of ballistic stopping components (hard "plates" or soft armor "layers") and the vests carry these components. Worm body armor stops a bullet or fragment from entering the body. However, this is not the only measure of ballistic performance. Ballistic impacts on body armor typically cause a deformation or dent of the ballistic stopping component or the "plates" of the body armor. This dent can cause blunt force trauma on the body part immediately behind the armor system. Consider the possibility for trauma when evaluating the performance of any ballistic protection system used by the military.



    U.S. Special Operations Command has fully tested and approved one system of ballistic stopping components and a family of vest carriers for use by Special Operations Forces. The ballistic components currently approved for use by USSOCOM elements are the Body Armor Load Carriage System (BALCS) ballistic components (which can be referred to as "ballistic components," "plates," or soft "armor") fielded under the Special Operations Forces Personal Equipment Advanced Requirements (SPEAR) program.



    Ballistic Components



    The USSOCOM approved BALCS system consists of ballistic plates, soft armor ballistic component insert, releasable body armor vest, plate test carrier, low visibility soft armor vest carrier, and one each groin and neck protector containing soft armor ballistic components. Each ballistic component is fully compatible with its respective BALCS vest cover.



    Soft armor is constructed of multiple layers of ballistic stopping cloth, such as Kevlar or Spectra. These materials are lightweight and flexible, with extremely high tensile strength. They are well suited for applications where flexibility is required (i.e. body armor) or can be used in hard armor applications, when combined with epoxy resins (i.e. helmets). Soft armor systems typically provide protection against handgun or fragmentation threats only. The addition of a ballistic plate is usually required to defeat a high speed round such as those fired by a rifle.



    The BALCS ballistic plate is a boron carbide composite plate that provides multi-hit protection against specific armor piercing threats. All USSOCOM operators should now have the ballistic plate with a black label on the back side. The SPEAR BALCS ballistic plate (either version) has similar external dimensions of the Army's Small Arms Protective Insert (SAPI) and is fully compatible with the Army's Interceptor Outer Tactical Vest (OTV) system.



    Ballistic plates defeat ballistic threats by breaking up or destroying the threat at impact with the plate. In order to do this, the plates are constructed of composite ceramic materials such as boron carbide or silicon carbide. Sometimes metal alloys are used. Additional layers of ballistic cloth combined with resins to make a rigid composite are also used to reinforce the ceramic material to minimize cracking associated with bullet impact and to catch the bullet fragments before complete penetration. The reduction of plate cracking improves multi-hit performance. The plates are usually placed against a soft armor system but can be also used in a stand-alone configuration when properly designed for this application.



    Periodic Inspection



    Special Operations Forces Support Activity's (SOFSA) quality assurance provision ensures plates are free from defects, cracks and fissures occurring from normal use. The plates are dated with the quarter and year of manufacture, which is used to determine inspection requirements.



    X-ray and/or ultrasound is used to inspect the plates and should be performed every 24 to 30 months. SOFSA coordinates the inspection of plates based on the date of manufacture/fielding. Plates with green labels have priority for inspection (green is used to identify older plates). Plates with black labels will be inspected at the unit's request when SOFSA arrives to conduct the evaluation or at the regular inspection interval, whichever occurs first. Plates found to be defective will be removed from service and replaced.



    Vest Covers



    The SPEAR BALCS system utilizes a family of vest covers to provide multiple capabilities to the SOF operator. Each vest cover uses one or more BALCS ballistic components to provide a modular ballistic protection capability. This capability is mission tailorable to allow optimization of operator performance and protection.

    The BALCS soft armor vest insert, neck collar and groin protectors are comprised of layers of Spectra material. They are rated to provide protection against 9 x 19 mm ball round and fragmentation threats. The BALCS soft armor insert provides backing to the ballistic upgrade plate and extends over the shoulders and wraps around the torso.



    The original BALCS vest cover was fielded with a complete set of BALCS ballistic components. The BALCS vest provides coverage to the majority of the thorax and allows the user to add neck and groin protection, if required. The BALCS permits rapid jettison of the upgrade plate and maintains neutral buoyancy for three minutes, when no load carriage or plates are attached.



    Vest Variants



    The Releasable Body Armor Vest (RBAV) was developed as a replacement for the original BALCS vest cover and provides the same area of coverage and level of protection. The RBAV provides a rapid jettison capability of the complete vest system, including attached load carriage. This allows the user to be rapidly extricated from a fully loaded vest system, which streamlines the wearer and removes excess weight, improving the likelihood for survival in an accidental submergence or emergency medical situation. The RBAV has two versions: Dual Pull Provides two locations for the quick release lanyard, center low and either left or right; Single Pull Provides a single location (center high) for the quick release lanyard.

    The Modular Body Armor Vest (MBAV) complements the original BALCS vest or RBAV and uses the BALCS upgrade plate. The current MBAV eliminates the BALCS soft armor insert, reducing weight and bulk and improving the operator's freedom of motion. The original maritime variant of the MBAV requires the user to wear the Low Visibility Body Armor Vest (LVBAV) under the MBAV in order to maintain the area of coverage and level of protection of the BALCS system. The newer Ranger MBAV variant uses a plate sized soft armor insert sewn into the plate carrier. This version maintains the level of protection but allows the use of the MBAV in a stand-alone configuration, maximizing operator freedom of motion. The trade-off is a reduction in area of coverage for protection against 9 mm and fragmentation threats. The MBAV is not compatible with the neck collar or groin protectors.



    The LVBAV is used to provide a level of concealable or low visibility ballistic protection against 9 mm and fragmentation threats. The LVBAV is intended to be worn under outer garments in situations where the user requires ballistic protection but does not wish to make this protection obvious, such as an external vest would do. The LVBAV is not compatible with the neck collar or groin protectors.



    Body Armor Procurement



    SPEAR body armor components are centrally managed and as such can only be procured through the Program Executive Officer Special Programs (PEO-SP). The Special Operations Acquisition and Logistics (SOAL) Center, PEO-SP is the command office of primary responsibility for procurement of body armor. For all questions/assistance on SOF Body Armor Equipment, please contact SOAL-SP, Julius Denson at (813) 828-9352.

    January 2005"


    > I Support Doug Gilliss <

    For once you have tasted flight you will walk the earth with your eyes turned skywards, for there you have been and there you will long to return. Leonardo Da Vinci

  13. #13
    Senior Member Bullockracing's Avatar
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    The way the feces hits the oscillating rotary device is this: If you use something you were not issued, you may not be meeting the standard of required protective gear. The de facto threat is a line of duty determination, which can affect your SGLI benefits. If you are found to have worn something that did not protect you adequately or worn protective equipment improperly, the line of duty may reflect that you were killed because of not meeting the standard. Seen it happen with both my eyes at the same time...

  14. #14
    Junior Member Geobaldi's Avatar
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    I've heard a lot of "news" reports over this, and it seems recently that there is an official stance of denial over the original reports that using non-issue armor was punishible.

    Not that it matters, it seems the U. S. Armed forces are now starting to turn a blind eye to the whole matter, which suits most everyone involved just fine. Either way, I'd keep on my Dragon Skin. Can't receive benefits if you're dead.

  15. #15
    Senior Member lesofprimus's Avatar
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    Can't receive benefits if you're dead.
    No, but ur wife and 2 kids or ur poor despondant mother would....
    Either way, I'd keep on my Dragon Skin.
    I agree 100%...



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