Body armor controversy returns
posted at 12:55 pm on January 4, 2008 by Bryan
This thing is the undead of controversies: No matter how many times you kill it (with facts), it just keeps coming back. Michael Yon’s latest addresses the issue, and I agree with him on this entirely.
Pinnacle contacted me in late 2005 to offer a discounted set of Dragon Skin body armor. After buying it for about $4,000, I tried it on, tried to work with it, and quickly concluded that I had just wasted $4,000. Dragon Skin is heavier and difficult to wear. In fact, without wasting time on details here, bottom line is that I believe the wearability issues with Dragon Skin could prove lethal to many soldiers. I went back to my old Interceptor body armor, the same that many of our soldiers wear and have used the Interceptor for the better part of another year in the war.
While everyone waits for another round of tests, I’ll sell my Dragon Skin to the highest bidder.
NBC bears a huge part of the blame for keeping this manufacturer’s controversy alive: Their awful, slanted and dishonest reporting generated enough buzz to keep it viable for Pinnacle and the Democrats to hammer the Army with. But as Michael Yon notes, the Army itself wears the armor in combat, and many of the Army’s top officers’ own children are also in the military and in Iraq and they’re therefore also wearing Interceptor in combat. If there really was a problem with Interceptor, or if Dragon Skin really was superior, the Army would adopt it. But they haven’t. It comes down to trade-offs, and Dragon Skin loses to Interceptor for a variety of reasons, from weight to operational flexibility to price to real-world stopping power. But the bottom line is, Dragon Skin failed the tests and Interceptor passed them.
Tangential to that, I first became interested in the issue not because some Army brass reached out to me, but because an officer who was stationed in Baghdad was fed up with having to answer for NBC’s and Stars & Stripes bad reporting and the panic that it was causing among military families. I met that officer when I was in Baghdad myself, and had and still have every reason to trust him when he addresses this issue as well as all other issues related to the war. His name is Lt Col Steve Miska and he’s a straight shooter in the literal and figurative senses. He has been in combat multiple times and knew of comrades whose lives had been saved by Interceptor. NBC ought to, but won’t, interview people like him about Dragon Skin and this whole issue. I’ll pass them his email address if they’re interested, but I already know that they’re not. They’re invested in their emotional terrorism against US military families. Fox ought to challenge NBC’s reporting on this directly and expose it for the fraud that it is. Here’s hoping that they finally will. They have both Michael Yon’s and my email addresses.