Thursday, January 15, 2009

US praises British troops' kit

US praises British troops' kit

An Equipment and Logistics news article
15 January, 2009

The equipment used by British soldiers on operations in Iraq and Afghanistan is as good as anything found in the American arsenal, according to a group of US Army Command Sergeant Majors (CSM).

Speaking at a conference showcasing the US military's advancements in science and technology, the senior NCOs (Non-Commissioned Officers) insisted that British troops – referred to as 'the Borrowers' and 'Flintstones' by their American cousins ahead of the invasion of Iraq in 2003 – have no reason to look jealously across the Atlantic.

While asserting that US Forces have always respected their comrades-in-arms, the experienced commanders said that a proliferation of new kit, vehicles and weaponry through procurement programmes and urgent operational requirements had cemented the British Army's standing as an elite power.

CSM Jeffery Mellinger, US Army Materiel Command, said:

"I have spent a considerable amount of time with the Brits down in southern Iraq and Basra in particular.

"And I spent enough time with them to realise that not only was the kit good, but that their tactics, techniques and procedures were things the US Army and the rest of the coalition forces should take a closer look at."

CSM Hector Marin, US Army Research, Development and Engineering Command, who served alongside British forces in the build-up to the invasion of Iraq, said he was bemused by the 'Flintstones' tag, which alluded to soldiers living in Stone Age conditions, and argued the nickname was far removed from reality:

"The British soldiers had the same assets that we had in the US and we were side-by-side sharing the same maintenance facilities," he said.

CSM James Diggs, HQ North Atlantic Regional Medical Command, suggested that good co-operation would ensure parity between the British and US Army in the future. He said:

"When you think in terms of the UK, it's a partnership. We're leveraging not only our technology but also our ability to get the mission done."

This article first appeared in the January 2009 edition of Soldier, Magazine of the British Army.

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