I hope they're pleased with themselves.
Two soldiers killed in Iraq in February may have died as a result of friendly fire, Army officials said Wednesday, not from enemy fire, as the press reported.Update:
The military suspected friendly fire later in February but did not inform the dead soldiers' families of these new doubts.
One of the soldiers died just hours after arriving in Iraq -- and was one of those troops rushed to the country in the "surge" who did not receive full training. ...
On February 9, the Savannah (Ga.) Morning News reported: "At least 143 soldiers joined Fort Stewart's 1st Brigade too late to participate in a final combat exercise before their units deployed to Iraq. Last week, one of those soldiers - Pvt. Matthew T. Zeimer, 18 - was the first from the brigade to be killed when he was hit by enemy fire in Ramadi, the stronghold of Iraq's Sunni insurgency.
"Zeimer arrived at Fort Stewart on Dec. 18 after basic training and deployed to Iraq just a few weeks later. He missed the brigade's intensive four-week mission rehearsal in October when more than 1,300 trainers and Iraqi role-players came to the post as part of the most realistic training program the Army offers for Iraq operations.
"The fact some of the brigade's 4,000 soldiers missed that training raises questions about how well the Army is preparing troops for war in the face of accelerated and repeat deployments."
Two days before that, the same newspaper reported that "some Iraq veterans in the 1st Brigade have expressed concerns about their younger counterparts missing the mission rehearsal. 'The training was good but some guys came in after that. They're basically going straight from basic training into Iraq,' said Staff Sgt. Jason Massey last month, before saying goodbye to his family for a third combat tour."
At a late-February press briefing, White House spokesman Tony Snow was asked about reports that two Army brigades were being sent to Iraq without any desert training. His reply was widely quoted at the time: "Well, but, they can get desert training elsewhere, like in Iraq." (Emphasis Nitpicker's)
As for Greyhawk's whine that there's a "difference between missing an exercise and not being trained," I agree, but as someone who went through training similar to that which Zeimer missed, I think it was damn useful. That training provides you with the basic information about how to act in a theater, while boot camp only provides you with how to generally act in the Army. The pre-deployment training is basically a giant rock drill for the whole deployment.
For those of you with no military experience, imagine your kid gets her driver's license having spent only the bare minimum of time behind the wheel of a car. Wouldn't you feel better if, before she got out on the interstate, you could give her four weeks of realistic test driving with a car made of rubber, highly-skilled instructors and ready access to the latest info on how to survive in different types of traffic?
Now add guns. And IEDs.