Support: July 25, 2003

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The troops in Iraq are hot and bothered, and not just because they are still there. Iraq is hot, damn hot. And humid as well, at least in the river valleys where most of the people live. So parents of troops over there are sending their kids air conditioners. During the 1991 Gulf War, many concerned parents sent their children GPS receivers (which cost several thousand dollars each.) These navigation devices ensured that troops would not get lost in the desert, or anywhere else in the flat, trackless, sandy and unfamiliar region, The air conditioners are a lot cheaper, costing about $85 to buy and $35 to ship. On the receiving end, there has to be a 220 volt military grade generator to run the AC. One group of parents have even organized a non-profit group to organize the air conditioner effort (operationac.com). The military has had air conditioning in the field for over half a century, although initially it was mainly to keep sensitive electronic equipment from overheating. But as commercial air conditioners got cheaper, and smaller, they began to show up in combat and support units as unofficial equipment. There were some attempts to crack down on this practice, because the use of air conditioners in the field meant more wear and tear on the generators, and greater fuel usage. But even the brass liked to cool off after a hard day in the field, and it was bad for morale if the boss had an unofficial AC, but ordered the troops to get rid of theirs. So the logistics people are encouraged to get more generators and fuel into areas that have really, really hot Summers. The AC for the troops does serve a useful purpose, as it allows them to get more sleep and reduces heat related illness. And it's great for morale. 

 


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