We've gone through the Looking
Glass, literally. Only this time it's not the Queen
of Hearts who's saying "off with their heads," it's
the King of Heartless, his majesty George W. Bush
and his royal court of insane jokers.
King George dealt the hand and the knaves who
volunteered to be his moden-day cursaders are
left to play them. When they anted up they
didn't know they'd be dealt a hand from the
bottom of the deck.
The card at the bottom of King Heartless'
deck is the Ace of IED Head Injuries. The
King become the Joker-in-Chief when he says he
supports the troops, then sentences the
funds to supply them with proper helmets --
along with the heads in those helmets -- to
death by guillotine.
From the minute an Iraq volunteer soldier
querried former Secretary of Defense Donald
Rumsfeld about why they had to scrounge through
trash heaps to up-armor their equipment, the
cruel King-in-Chief could have picked up his
royal pen and scripted a signing statement he's
so infamous for, decreeing that no soldier will
heretofore go without the proper gear from
helmets to armored vehicles.
Severe head injuries are the number one injury
suffered by servicemen. The helmets issued to
the troops were -- and still are -- woefully
inadequate, offering the wearer little
protection and if nothing else...give the wearer
a massive headache...and that is neither pun nor
Just ask Robert H. Meaders, M.D., Capt., Medical
Corps, USN-Retired and a former Vietnam flight
surgeon, how vital it is for our guys in the
field to have the proper, well-fitting,
"Dangerous is a mild word to describe
what can happen if you take off your
helmet, because of severe headache while
on urban combat patrol. It's a
heaven-sent opportunity for snipers or
the unpredictable IEDs, suicide
vehicles, RPGs," said Meaders, founder
of Operation Helmet.
Forget taking off your helmet for a few
minutes of relief, the original helmets
weren't adequate or designed to do the
job. The newest version of the helmet
has a liner that is so hard that it
won't conform to the head.
Irate over the reprehensible treatment
of soldiers by Bush and his sending our
guys into battle ill-equipped and with
minimal body armament, Meaders decided
to deal a few cards of his own from the
top of the deck.
Giving up the liesure of retirement, Meaders
works tirelessly from his home to make sure as
many soldiers as possible receive the proper
padded suspension system helmet liners they so
It's no easy task Meaders has set for himself.
The government and the uniformed services
themselves are constantly throwing jokers into
the deck with restrictions, red-tape, or taking
Nancy Reagan's advice by plain old saying "no."
Meaders said the
following is the protection offered by the
up-graded helmet liners, which are provided FREE
to the troops:
* Shock-absorbing pads keep the
helmet from slapping the skull when hit with
blast forces, fragments, or being tumbled along
the ground or inside a vehicle. This decreases
the chance of brain injury from IEDs, bombs,
RPGs, vehicle accidents, falls, etc.
- If it is comfortable, it will
stay on troop's head longer and more
- Keeps the helmet firmly on
the head and out of the eyes.
In true Navy tradition, high seas or not,
Meaders carries on "shaking the money trees"
for donations, writing, keeping in constant
touch with those serving in Iraq and
Afghanistan, never giving up on making sure they
get the helmet up-grades they need and up-dating
his Web site: operation-helmet.org.
I believe the first I heard of Operation Helmet
was on the Al Franken Show. I was infuriated by
the fact that with all the taxes we pay and all
the money thrown down the rabbit hole called
Iraq, that we -- private citizens -- have to be
asked to make contributions to provide vital
equipment that the government should, without
question, be providing.
I've been up-front with Meaders, telling him how
much I resented it each time I've written out a
small check to help the cause. He understands,
but until King Heartless steps in and provides
every fighting man and woman with the proper
gear, it's up to us to help out.
"If we ever see that day," Meaders said, "
Once all troops are provided the
blast/impact protecting helmet upgrades, we will
utilize residual funds to help other charities
providing for rehabilitation and support of our
wounded troops and their families."
"We are researching several
charities and will support those we find to be
well managed, little or at least minimal
administrative fees and have a proven track
record of helping our wounded warriors cope with
their injuries and return to either civilian or
military life," he added.
In the meantime, "Private
citizens do it best," he said, "and are quick to
pitch in when government fails, thank God.
We've now sent over 34,000 helmet upgrades to
combat troops and our files are replete with
tales of survival thanks to the upgrades
provided by Americans who take matters in their
own hands We can join together and just 'get 'er
There are still more than 600 Reservists and 250
regular Marines who
don't have helmet upgrades and Meaders is still
out shaking the money trees.
"While some Marines are given the upgrades prior
to entry into Iraq, they seem to have forgotten
the Reserves who are being surged," Meaders
"In a burst of brilliance, the Marines purchased
89,000 cheaper helmet upgrades that the troops
hate, try to get out of wearing, and are
desperate to switch out for the high-quality
ones we buy and send," he added.
To help out
with a tax deductible donation: