Civilians Can Provide Safer Helmets To Soldiers

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Editor:

On June 14, I viewed a remarkable TV program on C-Span about how the American people can save millions of our dollars and protect our troops in Iraq at the same time.

It seems one of the most frequent, severe injuries our troops sustain in Iraq are brain injuries they receive from the concussion of the IEDs (improvised explosive devices) which slam their military-issued helmets against their skulls. The resultant brain injuries cost nearly $3 million in follow-up lifetime care per brain-injured military veteran survivor (not to mention the enormous suffering).

Already in Iraq, many of these severe brain injuries have been prevented by civilian-provided replaceable helmet kits, consisting of a modern support harness and shock-absorbent pads.

Iraq war opponent Cher Bono has purchased and sent 1,200 of these helmet kits to our troops, at a cost of $71 to $99 per kit, depending on the type of helmet issued to our military individuals. She did so after visiting our brain-injured veterans in hospitals, and after learning of a program named Operation Helmet (http://operation-helmet.org).

I urge everyone to learn of this program, and to do everything possible to get this protection to our troops immediately, regardless of our support or opposition to the present Iraq conflict.

Jim Berrier, Payson

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