Thursday, February 15, 2007

Perspective: His armor kept soldiers safer in Iraq

Above: Clip-on armor improvised by Karl Hannan while in Iraq saved many. At a photo-op, a soldier in Kuwait asked Defense Secretary Rumsfeld "Why do we soldiers have to dig through local landfills for pieces of scrap metal and compromised ballistic glass to uparmor our vehicles?" Rumsfeld famously replied, "As you know, you have to go to war with the Army you have, not the Army you want." After a moment he added, "You can have all the armor in the world on a tank, and it can be blown up." It was the 21st month of the war.

DOVER, New Hampshire: Karl Hannan knows how to stop a bullet, and for that the U.S. Army is grateful.

Before the Department of Defense figured out how to armor vehicles in Iraq, Hannan was the man on the ground, inventing a system of steel plates that could be clipped onto vehicles to protect soldiers.

Hannan, an engineer and retired Army Reserve officer, last year was awarded the Bronze Star, one of the military's top medals, for his invention. Last year, former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld recognized Hannan on a list of heroes for his lifesaving work.

Hannan was only two months into his 2004 tour in Tikrit, Iraq when a commanding officer asked him to design something to protect tractor trailers hauling supplies.

The trucks "had no protection whatsoever," Hannan recalled.

Read the rest at the International Herald Tribune