The U.S. Navy has thousands of
sailors serving on the ground in Iraq, at any given time, mainly using the same
skills they employ when at sea. For example, electronic warfare specialists,
who normally operate complex electronic gear on board ship, have proved
life-savers in helping soldiers and marines properly employ the thousands of
roadside bomb jammers issued to troops operating convoys through hostile areas.
The jammers are designed to be simply turned on and off, but often benefit from
some expert attention. The sailors could make sure the jammers were actually
working, and even tweak them to work better. The soldiers soon realized that,
once the sailors did their magic, the jammers became more effective.
often run some of those convoys, and get involved in the fighting when there is
an ambush. Although the violence in Iraq has dropped enormously in the last
year (by over 90 percent in some areas), there are still bad guys, and roadside
bombs, out there. There's less danger for the sailors, but no less work. This
shore duty has been surprisingly popular in the navy. It's a change of pace,
only temporary, and provides sailors to actually participate in a war. There is
some danger, nearly a hundred sailors have died in Iraq. But that's less than
one in a hundred who served. Enough risk to make it a challenge, but not so
much to discourage volunteers. The sailors call it being "in the narmy."