Skip to comments.IRAQ WAR: He has a convoy - but no CBs U.S. Lt. in Iraq asks public help
Posted on 11/02/2003 7:39:28 PM PST by GailA
He has a convoy - but no CBs U.S. Lt. in Iraq asks public help
By Bartholomew Sullivan Contact reporter Copyright 2003, The Commercial Appeal November 2, 2003
While they're transporting heavy equipment in an Iraqi war zone where roadside bombings make regular headlines, members of the 1175th Heavy Equipment Transport Battalion based in Brownsville, Tenn., can't communicate truck-to-truck.
But instead of waiting for the Pentagon to provide the communications assistance, the unit's commander has gone hat-in-hand to the people of the Mid-South.
Lt. Thomas 'Hud' Moore, commander of a detachment that carries heavy tanks and gear from a base in Kuwait into Iraq, is asking for a holiday gift for his troops: Citizens Band radios and antennas so his unit can communicate while on the road.
"They don't have to be expensive, only good enough to talk from truck to truck is all I am asking,'' Moore said in a message back home.
"These are things that could help save someone's life here.''
Moore's concerns aren't the first to focus on the need for improved communications by Army personnel in Iraq. A recent Army investigation found soldiers have resorted to buying their own hand-held radios after finding the Army-issued units unacceptable.
However, Moore's request struck at least one family member in Memphis as evidence of "an honest mistake'' and a safety "oversight'' that needs to be corrected.
A former Air Force communications expert said it would be his hope that such communications would be available, but also questioned whether Moore's request should have been made publicly.
And Capt. Trey Brannom, a Tennessee National Guard spokesman in Nashville, said a CB radio would be a "nice-to-have item'' but not a necessary one. Brannom said the 1175th has already distinguished itself without them.
Moore's unit, which specializes in transporting 63-ton M-1 Abrams tanks, has covered more than a million miles hauling 2,072 pieces of equipment since 141 of its members left Brownsville in 40 trucks and Humvees in February. Moore's letter home speaks of his pride in commanding the men and women of his unit. It's addressed to "Dear Concerned Citizens.''
Moore, the father of a then-10-year-old son when he was deployed in February from his home in Lawrenceburg, did not respond to an E-mail message sent to his military Internet address Friday. An Army spokesman at the Pentagon, Capt. David Romley, said the truck-to-truck communications issue boils down to priorities and costs.
Romley said the Army needs to communicate effectively. Of the request for CB radios, he said the Army would prefer for all communications devices to be secure.
On another issue raised by Moore's request, Romley said he hoped the citizens of Brownsville would respond since "any support toward this fight on terrorism would be welcome.'' But then he suggested Moore may have been out of line to even make such a request.
"I don't believe that, technically, he can solicit for those sorts of things,'' Romley said. "But let's play the reasonable man test: Is anyone going to come down on this gentleman?''
It remained unclear whether Moore has made a request through Army channels.
Press accounts indicate the Army's Program Executive Office Soldier office in Ft. Belvoir, Va., recently reported on the recognized need for improved intra-squad communications, especially in Iraq's urban areas. The report apparently does not address transport communications, but says soldiers interviewed had no confidence in the Army's standard-issue squad radios, and said many soldiers had used their own money to buy "Motorola-type'' hand-held radios. It was unclear exactly what kind of radios Moore's unit does have.
Cliff Borofsky of San Antonio, Texas, a 20-year Air Force veteran who specialized in security for military communications, said "it would be my hope that they would have them (truck-to-truck radios), from an operations standpoint,'' although he acknowledged he didn't know enough about the transport unit's needs. But he, too, questioned "whether (Moore) should be asking that publicly.''
Moore's undated message home mentions the weather recently cooling down to just 100-degree highs, then quickly turns to the unit's need for radios.
"We are continuing to run missions that keep our troops out on the road most of the time. With the tactics the enemy is using on our forces, it would be nice if all of our trucks had CB radios in them,'' he writes.
"This would allow for the convoy commander to notify his troops of dangers that lie ahead or if we are attacked everyone could here (sic) the plan of action without the convoy commander having to go to each vehicle to disperse new information.
"Yes we do have some military radios, but not nearly enough for all the trucks we have. Some do have CBs in them already. We are in need of 30 CB systems.''
Jeanice White of Memphis, whose sister, niece and nephew are all members of the unit, said she hopes people will respond to Moore's request.
White spoke to her niece Carmen Johnson, 26, just before 1 p.m. on Friday. Johnson was cooking macaroni and cheese at a bivouac somewhere in Iraq, where it was just before 8 p.m.
Johnson told her aunt that at least one truck belonging to her unit has been struck by a rocket-propelled grenade, but it did not result in casualties.
One member of the unit succumbed to a heart attack this summer, White said. So far, that's been the only casualty she's aware of. The unit has been told it will be returning home in April.
But White said the communications problem concerns her with more soldiers having been killed since the official end of major operations in May than before it.
"I would hope that people would respond to this plea, from (Moore),'' she said.
Janice Bohannon of Ripley, who is caring for her grandchildren while her step-daughter and son-in-law are with the 1175th in Iraq, said she hadn't heard about Moore's request.
"I wasn't familiar with it, but I think it's a good idea," she said. "I'm surprised they don't already have them. I would think that would be something the Army would have thought of. It would make it so much safer for them."
Brannom, the spokesman for the Tennessee National Guard, said that the 1175th already has the secure communications equipment it needs to perform its duties. He said the CB radio donations would surely boost morale and provide a convenience, and he encouraged citizens to help.
"But it would be a nice-to- have item, rather than a need-to-have item,'' Brannom said.
A Memphis Radio Shack store sells a $49 C.B. unit. Antennas cost $19.99 or $29.99, with coaxial cables included.
Jackie Barnes, who received Moore's message and provided it to the newspaper, said she wants to get the request for radios out to other media outlets. She said anyone willing to help out with a donation should contact her at home after 6 p.m. Her number is (731) 772-6240.
Barnes, whose husband, Rex, is a sergeant with the unit headquarters in Brownsville, said the need to communicate in the hostile atmosphere is obvious. Even the trucks equipped with radios could use the donated CB radios as backup, she said.
"Communication's a big thing,'' Barnes said. "When they're out there on the road, they can see 'em but not holler at 'em.''
Give them the damn C.B.'s, Rumsfield! They shouldn't have to ask for charity for crying out loud !
If we "can't afford it", then cancel some stupid useless liberal social program and get those folks what they want!!
Wow. That's enlightening. You're right. Good point.
Bump to your post!
This officer whining for somethig he really doesn't need or want
With a bunch of Jihadies shooting at you along the way at radom times and from random locations? The FRS radios another poster suggested don't carry all that far and would be useful for truck to truck coms.
He's an officer and in charge, He's there, and has been for over 6 months, you ain't and presumably haven't been, at least this go 'round.
Yeah - it's unbelievable enough that that was my reaction also.
But if these guys really can't get radios over there... either
(a) it's a supply problem, in which case, somebody in the supply chain ought to get court-martialed, or
(b) the military is underfunded, in which case we should start hanging "Progressives" from lampposts (Back! Back! Form a single line! There's plenty to go around - You'll all get your turn...)
2 way radios operate on higher frequencies than CBs do.
Those little hand held units that we see on the market that are the size of small cell phones have a range of about 2 miles and operate on lower frequencies than 2 way radios. Haven't a clue as to range on those CB units mounted on/in the dash like truckers use.
Those large convoy trucks should be equipped with dash board mounted 2 way radio systems as standard equipment.
But there again they DEPEND on 2 way radio transmission/repeaters towers for relay of transmissions.
Aye, these guys are HET drivers from the sound of it (and from what they're hauling). I know it's been five years since I got out but it would've been unusual for every truck in a convoy like that to have a radio. I was never in a unit where the support platoon had radios in each HEMTT or Five Ton.
Yeah, this is the SecDef's fault. < / sarcasm >
Lord have mercy, let's have some context here.
You may call it 'messed up' - I call it a boon!
10 Meters, just up the road frequency-wise from the '11 Meter' CB-Band has been open like gang busters - not to mention state-side contacts that have been posible to Hawaii on 6 Meters (there are a fair number of hams still looking for their WAS - Worked All States award!) ...
The *problem* with 'CB" right now (at least in this hemisphere) whic limits it's usefulness is the excessive noise on the band during the day when propagation is 'good' - 10 dB over S9 of 'noise' on CH 19 limits your range to a mile and this range is much under what a good VHF or UHF commercial 'Motorola' hand-held two-radio can do ...
CBs are often designed to be mounted in a vehicle,
Let me offer an observation - a 'hand-held' CB (like a walkie-talkie with a classic 'rubber duck') radio doesn't perform worth crap - esp. from within a vehicle ('waveguide beyond cutoff' principle; the wavelength of an 11 Meter radio is effectively 'cutoff' prop-wise when withing the confines of the passenger compartment, a VHF radio not nearly so, but it too is reduced in effectiveness; UHF and above are virtually not affected - overlooking 'shading effects' of door pillars now), so -
and most Army vehicle have at least the provision for an antenna mast.
- outside mount antenna it is. AND, with the abundance of "mag-mount" (magnetic base mount), trunk lip groove mount, mirror mount (trucker style) mounting, per se, should not be an issue.
Still they could probably use the little handhelds for truck to truck communications and continue to use the radios the Army provides for links back to base and to the destination as well. While it's not Texas, distances are pretty long in Iraq and the line of site limitation could be a problem.
The cheapie, but effective FRS radio can be used here, moreover, go for the GMRS version and get a power increase ...
Overlooked here is this: were they to utilize UHF/FM portables (such as a GMRS radio - the next step up from FRS) these could be programmed to: a) self ident every xmission b) able to 'work' a few area-wide repeater frequencies for emergencies c) incorporate remote 'turn off' should some fruit cake or the enemy start get hold of one and start 'laying on the key' and jamming ... all these features are possble today since these hand-helds are a) synthesized (PLL freq controlled - the last 'rock' radio was made 15 years ago) and b) controlled by micros anyway ...
If you are critical of the need of such equipment I wish you were over there and they were home.
Transportation units have very limited communications If your unit becomes separated you are screwed.
Just ask Jessica Lynch.
Every truck needs bino's too but transportation units such as this don't usually operate in hostile areas because they move low and slow so it's radios and the little combat luxuries are not a way of life for them.
Some of them even have to wear the Vietnam era flack vests because there is a shortage and Guard units don't get priority. ( tell that to the widow )
It's real easy to monday morning quarterback these guys from your nice safe home. I receive E-Mail from them as they can catch it. The moral is HIGH folks. But I would submitt you that most peoples daily lives have not changed that much since 9-11 . Theirs have drastically.
I was with these same guys on the morning of 9-11 and we have been deployed 3 times since then
Part time job my ass. But someone must do it and we are that someone. Help us if you can.