Disarmed on the Homefront

A soldier in Iraq.

Leland Lavoie in Iraq. Image courtesy of Tony Alter.

In Iraq and Afghanistan, soldiers are armed with machine guns, tanks, and helicopters. Under the most stressful of circumstances, they must identify friend or foe and decide whether or not to engage while complying with the UCMJ, Geneva Conventions, Army regulations, and any special orders. Soldiers spend over a year at a time in a combat theater of operations while carrying their M16/M4 with a full loadout of 210 rounds. Often, a soldier carries his weapon everywhere– to the chow hall, barber shop, and Post Exchange. He even sleeps with his weapon.

For reasons unknown to logic and common sense (things for which the Army is routinely critiqued), soldiers on Fort Hood are not allowed to possess any kind of firearm. Soldiers literally walk around the largest military installation in the free world unarmed. The only armed soldiers are the handful of military police officers that patrol the base and those who are at the range qualifying with their weapon.

So while soldiers are forced to endure deployment after deployment in some of the worst places on the planet while armed 24/7, they are rewarded by being disarmed upon arrival to their home base.

Remember the Army’s policy of disarming our bravest Americans while listening to the trial of Nidal Hasan.

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