To the Editor:
Recently, David Muir, ABC Nightly News, reported on a “good news” story called “Sneakers for Troops.” As a retired military member, the story pulled at my heart strings, but it also angered me against the Army, to be explained.
A mother was talking to her Army enlisted son, stationed in Afghanistan. He explained that the Army issued (as in uniform issue) sneakers/running shoes were falling apart with hard use in the harsh conditions in Afghanistan. He asked if she could send him better/sturdier sneakers. She went to her local shoe store, bought a good pair, and sent them to her son. She also asked how his fellow troops were doing with their running shoes… as bad or worse. So she quickly formed a non-profit charitable group called “Sneakers for Troops.” She asked her son’s fellow soldier’s shoe sizes, color preference, etc. She quickly got enough donations and sent over 200 pairs of individualized sneakers to her son’s Army Unit. David Muir covered the story and it has gone viral/much bigger. Sounds good.
Then I got to thinking about who’s responsible. If the Army issued unsuitable inferior running shoes to the troops, and failed to resupply or correct the problem, the Army is grossly at fault. The Army Air Force Exchange Service (Px,Bx, “The Exchange”) were chartered to support the troops. They are supposed to setup overseas and combat zone PX’s to adequately support troops, not just to sell them candy, snacks and sodas. They sell shoes stateside and should sell to overseas troops too. The profits from PX/BX operations are earmarked for military Morale, Welfare, and Recreation (MWR) activities (including overseas and combat zones). The basic job of Field Commanders is to take care of their troops. So the Army failed the troops; the PX failed the troops, MWR failed the troops, and the Field Commanders failed their troops in Afghanistan. I’m saddened, disappointed, and angered about the situation! Do the right thing Army!