Saturday, May 31, 2008

"Unfit to deploy? Get on the plane anyway..."

Photo Credit to Mauricio Lima, AFP/Getty Images

Photo shows U. S. troops on foot patrol south of Baghdad.

Background: Of the 1.6 million service members sent to Afghanistan and Iraq, more than 43,000 have been deemed medically unfit for combat for a variety of reasons, according to Pentagon records, but they were sent anyway.

The numbers of non-deployable soldiers are based on health assessment forms filled out by medical personnel at each military installation before a service member's deployment.According to those statistics, the number of troops that doctors found non-deployable, but who were still sent to Iraq or Afghanistan fluctuated from 10,854 in 2003, down to 5,397 in 2005, and back up to 9,140 in 2007.

The Pentagon records do not list what or how serious the health issues are, nor whether they were corrected before deployment, said Michael Kilpatrick, a deputy director for the Pentagon's Force Health Protection and Readiness Programs.

Danz View: It makes little difference why those soldiers were not deployable, they should have been fit and ready without any glitches holding them back, then they could have been 100% fit for deployment to the combat zone. Even the most minor of problems have a tendency to become big problems once soldiers deploy and get to their units.

Platoon Sergeants want their troops ready for duty, not held back for a new pair of glasses or a tooth to be filled or removed, or a physical brought up to date. Those things need to be done prior to deployment to the combat zone. Then our troops are ready without any hang up.

I know, I used to lead troops and that is sound advice that seldom changes over time.

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