At about the same time that Sean was deployed, a Pentagon study discovered approximately 80 percent of Marines killed by wounds to the torso could have survived with more comprehensive body armor, particularly for the sides and shoulders.
As can be imagined, Tammara was frantically trying to get armor on her husband. His chest and back plates were exchanged for the correct size but it wasn't until the end of January, after Tammara had initiated a congressional investigation, that Sean was issued side/deltoid armor.
Between December and the end of January when he finally received the armor, Sean had traveled by land from
It was during these nerve-racking days that Tammara and friend, Charlie Anderson an
"We chose bulletproofme because they were the recommended source for ballistic inserts during the armor shortage and appear to be the source used to determine reimbursement prices under the Dodd legislation," said
Christopher Dodd, Senior Democratic Senator from
"Certainly, there should have been better preparation to see to it these young men and women would have all the protection necessary, but for a variety of reasons they were not," said Dodd, in a statement on the floor of the Senate.
"I was one of the many in my battalion lacking front and back inserts for my interceptor vest," said
The main objective of Anderson and Rosenleaf's Bake Sales for Body Armor campaign is to bring as many soldiers home as whole as possible. According to a study by the Brookings Institution, improvised explosive devices cause more than 38 percent of all
So far, the Bake Sales campaign has bought 12 sets of body armor ($670 per set) and earned approximately $8618.92. Twenty-seven soldiers have registered on the site for various pieces of equipment.
Anderson and Rosenleaf are forging ahead with their campaign despite a decree by the Pentagon against privately purchased body armor.
"We believe to stop now is not an option. We have had five soldiers ask for armor since the order went into place. They ask, we ship," said
According to the White House Office of Management and Budget, President Bush has increased the Department of Defense budget by 35 percent since 2001. Bush's 2007 budget allocates $439.3 billion for DoD discretionary spending, a 7 percent increase from 2006. In addition, the Senate recently passed a $109 billion supplemental spending bill intended for costs associated with the Iraq War and the Hurricane Katrina rebuilding efforts.
Despite the enormity of the U.S. Military budget, troops still don't have the equipment they need and often what they do have is in disrepair. According to an
"The aircraft is popular with lawmakers, especially those from
It's difficult to understand why such measures are being passed when troops on the ground still don't have all the protection they need and want.
"Our sources tell us that the army in
In support of
"The theme of the bill this year was troop protection," said California Republican Congressman, Rep. Duncan Hunter, to the AP reporter.
One question that arises is - what took so long? The war has been raging for more than three years. The first priority of decision makers in the White House, Congress and the DoD should have been to provide every soldier with comprehensive protection from the beginning. Instead, reckless spending on high-tech equipment has continually superseded fundamental provisions at the expense of American taxpayers and the troops with their boots on the ground.
Until all the troops are fully equipped, Anderson, Rosenleaf and the many volunteers that have helped to make the Bake Sales campaign successful will continue their tireless efforts to provide as much as they can to fill the gap left by the government. Rosenleaf said, "We will continue as long as troops continue to ask for it."