Rummy and Armor

by Steven F. Hayward

The news yesterday of soldiers challenging Rumsfeld about the lack of armor, spare parts, etc, brought back to mind many of my father’s WWII stories, where, as a long-range reconnaisance and sub-hunting Navy pilot in the South Pacific starting in 1942, spare parts were in such short supply that he routinely looked for downed planes they could scrounge spare parts from, sometimes even behind enemy lines in New Ginuea. Nobody complained about it; they just got by. Actually, he got a commendation for ingenuity; maybe these folks in Kuwait should get a similar commendation.

Also, because his squadron had to fly missions of up to 30 hours, flying from northern Australia as far as the Chinese coast to track Japanese fleet movements, they often removed much of the heavy armor on the belly of their planes to extend their fuel range, with the obvious trade off of higher risk. Oh, his entire sqaudron also got their tours extended more than once.