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Thursday, January 29, 2004

$87 Billion, and the troops are getting hand-me-downs

If and when bullets rip into the Humvees of Army National Guard F Co., 425th Airborne Infantry in Iraq, a lot of Michigan police officers - including those in Ann Arbor and Sumpter and Van Buren townships - are hoping their used, bullet-resistant vests will protect the soldiers inside.

The unit's Humvees, designed to supply combat units but not to work in combat zones, are not armored. So the soldiers have been retrofitting the vehicles with panels from bullet-resistant vests that police discarded because of expiration dates. Soldiers from the Army National Guard 1462nd transportation unit based in Howell are doing the same, with vests donated from three Livingston County police agencies.
The effort to help the 425th Airborne began after a Southfield firefighter in the unit, Staff Sgt. Gerhard "Gary" Seidel, wrote to fellow firefighters about the lack of armor on Humvees.

Seidel asked for help in finding donated bullet-resistant vests, said Southfield Fire Capt. Joe Dell. A few laptop computers, accessories and a computer projector with extra bulbs wouldn't go wanting, either, Seidel told the firefighters. They would help with morning briefings and allow the troops to e-mail families or watch DVDs.
-- Ann Arbor News.