A Haunted Country — Page Five.

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AHC 5th Page Web

Page five — on schedule.

The gunner in these vehicles (seen in the background here) sits on a sort of padded cloth strap that’s suspended from the turret, so that he can turn with it; if his NCO checked him properly, he’s also strapped into the vehicle by a seat belt that’s hooked to the floor, and to a harness on his body.  If the vehicle rolls over or gets blown up, he or the TC is supposed to (at the last second, in theory) pull a quick-release that drops him into it, so he gets held down by the seat belt and doesn’t get crushed. Meanwhile, he’s also free to move around, so that he can stretch his legs, get ammunition, or whatever.

One massive flaw in this arrangement is that the gunner’s ass is suspended about head-high, directly over the crew compartment.  With a little good judgment on the part of the gunner, this is just barely tolerable under normal circumstances.  However, if the gunner, like everyone, has been bathing in Iraqi water and trading MREs for Iraqi food for the past six months — practices that his digestive tract’s previous, coddled existence in no way prepared it for — then the potential for a horrible, horrible disaster grows with each passing hour that the vehicle is in motion.  Many people have a story of such a disaster, but strangely you never see it in the Hollywood war movies.


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