Get Task & Purpose in your inbox
Lawmakers Are Pushing To Make It Easier For Wounded Troops To Keep Battle-Damaged Gear
The helmet that stopped a sniper’s bullet or the SAPI plate that deflected shrapnel from a roadside bomb can take on profound significance for service members wounded on the battlefield. Now, U.S. lawmakers want to ensure that combat-wounded troops can keep the gear that saved their lives as mementos.
The most recent draft of the National Defense Authorization Act that passed the Senate in June includes a provision that would authorize services to “award” both active-duty troops and veterans their personal protective equipment.
Current policy requires service members return all standard-issue equipment — including stuff destroyed in combat — when they leave the military. But exceptions are occasionally made: As Army Times noted in a recent article, “a handful of soldiers have received their helmets, bullet holes and all, in special return ceremonies over the years,” and an Army spokesman told the publication that “there are certain circumstances in which the Secretary of Army may authorize release for sentimental reasons.”
(An Army official declined to discuss the matter with Task & Purpose, saying he was unable to comment on "matters of pending legislation.”)
While Army Times reported that the military would help current and former service members “track down their old gear” and “ensure” they “get their stuff back,” there is nothing in the proposed legislation that obligates the military to do that. It would simply authorize the services to do something they seemed to believe they already have the authority to do.Here is the provision in full (see Subtitle H):
The Secretary of a military department may award to a member of the armed forces under the jurisdiction of the Secretary who is separating from the armed forces, and to any veteran formerly under the jurisdiction of the Secretary, demilitarized personal protective equipment (PPE) of the member or veteran that was damaged in combat or otherwise during the deployment of the member or veteran. The award of equipment under this section shall be without cost to the member or veteran concerned.
Is there a piece of battle-damaged gear that you wish you could’ve kept after the service? Tell us about it in the comments below.
Two military bases in Florida and one in Arizona will see heat indexes over 100 degrees four months out of every year if steps aren't taken to reduce carbon emissions, a new study warns.
This Veterans Day, two post-9/11 veterans-turned congressmen introduced bipartisan legislation to have a memorial commemorating the Global War on Terrorism built on the National Mall in Washington, D.C.
Between 500 and 600 U.S. troops are expected to remain in Syria when all is said and done, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Army Gen. Mark Milley said on Sunday.
Milley's comments on ABC News' "This Week" indicate the U.S. military's footprint in Syria will end up being roughly half the size it was before Turkey invaded Kurdish-held northeast Syria last month.
Democratic contender and Navy vet Pete Buttigieg pledges to create better, more 'veteran-centric' VA
CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa — On Veterans Day, Democratic presidential hopeful Pete Buttigieg is proposing a "veteran-centric" Department of Veterans Affairs that will honor the service of the men and women of the military who represent "the best of who we are and what we can be."
Buttigieg, who served as a Navy intelligence officer in Afghanistan, said service members are united by a "shared commitment to support and defend the United States" and in doing so they set an example "for us and the world, about the potential of the American experiment."
Democratic contender Bernie Sanders vows to rebuild the VA and improve healthcare services for veterans
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Democratic presidential contender Bernie Sanders promised on Monday to boost healthcare services for military veterans if he is elected, putting a priority on upgrading facilities and hiring more doctors and nurses for the Department of Veterans Affairs.
To mark Monday's Veterans Day holiday honoring those who served in the military, Sanders vowed to fill nearly 50,000 slots for doctors, nurses and other medical professionals at facilities run by Veterans Affairs during his first year in office.
Sanders also called for at least $62 billion in new funding to repair, modernize and rebuild hospitals and clinics to meet what he called the "moral obligation" of providing quality care for those who served in the military.