How Safe Are Our Troops?


    TARGETS: Insurgents have attacked Humvees with small arms, rocket-propelled grenades and roadside bombs. At least 120 armored Humvees have been destroyed in combat in Iraq

    (3 of 3)

    Even the heavily armored humvees, as Rumsfeld inelegantly reminded the troops last week, aren't fail-safe: 120 have been destroyed in combat in Iraq. Unlike M1 tanks, even beefed-up humvees can't always stop a rocket-propelled grenade or .50-cal. machine-gun bullet from killing those inside. But they are built to halt armor-piercing 7.62-mm rounds — the kind of bullets fired from AK-47s, an insurgent favorite. The roof is engineered to thwart the blast of a 155-mm artillery shell exploding overhead, and the floor is reinforced to protect passengers from a bomb or a 12-lb. mine buried in the road.

    If nothing else, Specialist Wilson's grilling of Rumsfeld may finally force the military's civilian bosses to heed the concerns of soldiers like Captain Mark Chung, 37, an Army reservist who served in Iraq for nine months this year. Chung survived two roadside bomb attacks on his armored humvee; the second bomb exploded on the passenger side directly under his seat. "The up-armored humvee was the only thing that saved my life," he says. After returning from Iraq last month, Chung visited the Pentagon to implore officials to send more armored humvees to Iraq. He never got in to see Rumsfeld. "I knocked on his door," Chung says, "but the people in his office said I needed an appointment to see him." For the sake of the Americans risking their lives in Iraq, Rumsfeld would be wise to make some time for the soldiers now.

    1. 1
    2. 2
    3. 3
    4. Next Page