Rummy can’t honestly say he was unaware of the shortage of armored Humvees in Iraq, since a wounded National Guardsman brought it to his attention way back in October 2003.
[Brandon] Sandrell contends he raised the armor issue with Rumsfeld at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, when Sandrell was recovering from shrapnel wounds that nearly severed his left arm.
”He (Rumsfeld) was making his rounds and thanking me for my service, and he asked me, ‘What do you guys need over there, what are you lacking?’ I told him we needed up-armored Humvees,” said Sandrell, who left the Guard on Oct. 1 after two years and nine months of service. He is 21 and lives in Culleoka in Maury County.
The former soldier said the secretary replied that he was working on it.
On Sept. 7, 2003, Sandrell said, he had no protection in his Humvee except what he could improvise.
”I had armored it myself. We had sandbags in the floorboards and I had an extra flak vest, so I hung it on the driver’s side door. My whole team did that,” he said.
The addition of the bulletproof vest probably saved his life. The vest was hit by flying shrapnel, some pieces as long as 4 inches. Even so, Sandrell was injured in the leg and the left arm.
”I got a wicked scar on my leg. I almost lost the arm, but they were able to save it, which was very fortunate,” he said.
”I loved my time in the National Guard. If I could do it again, I would. For the sake of all the guys going over there, I hope they get more protection on the vehicles. They fight a different way over there,” he said.