Murphy's Law: December 29, 2004

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In early November, the U.S. Air Force, noting the casualties the army was taking due to roadside bombs and ambushes, increased the number of C-130 flights available for flying cargo. The objective was to keep some army truck drivers, and their armed escorts, off the roads. While a commendable gesture, the air force announcement didnt mention that 64 C-130s, flying an additional 350 truck loads of material each day, were only taking about 30 army troops off the road each day. This does have an impact, even though the casualty rate for convoys is quite low. For every 20 or so convoys, one soldier is killed or, 90 percent of the time, wounded. The increased air force effort takes two convoys off the road each day. So in the course of the month, the air force has prevented three army casualties. Not insignificant, but the reason the air force didnt present this particular result is because air transport is about three times more expensive than moving stuff by truck. Moreover, there are far fewer air freighters available than there are trucks. Thus the increased air force effort was a nice gesture, but not a significant boost to the safety of army truck drivers. 

 


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