Friday, December 15, 2006

Silly String for the Troops

The AP reported December 6, 2006, about a military mom who is sending Silly String to the troops in Iraq.

STRATFORD, N.J. – In an age of multimillion-dollar high-tech weapons systems, sometimes it's the simplest ideas that can save lives. Which is why a New Jersey mother is organizing a drive to send cans of Silly String to Iraq.

American troops use the stuff to detect trip wires around bombs, as Marcelle Shriver learned from her son, a soldier in Iraq.

Before entering a building, troops squirt the plastic goo, which can shoot strands about 10 to 12 feet, across the room. If it falls to the ground, no trip wires. If it hangs in the air, they know they have a problem. The wires are otherwise nearly invisible.

Now, 1,000 cans of the neon-colored plastic goop are packed into Shriver's one-car garage in this town outside Philadelphia, ready to be shipped to the Middle East thanks to two churches and a pilot who heard about the drive.

The US Postal Service won't ship the cans, because they have aerosol, so a private pilot plans to fly Shriver's supply to Kuwait in January.

The military is reluctant to talk about the use of Silly String, saying that discussing specific tactics will tip off insurgents.

But Lt. Col. Christopher Garver, a U.S. military spokesman in Baghdad, said Army soldiers and Marines are not forbidden to come up with new ways to do their jobs, especially in Iraq's ever-evolving battlefield. And he said commanders are given money to buy nonstandard supplies as needed.

Yes indeed, these are nonstandard supplies. And it takes a mom whose son's life is on the line to get this kind of ball rolling--anything she can do to keep her son safe.

St. Luke's Catholic Church in Stratford, New Jersey (55 Warwick Rd, (856) 783-5555), has collection baskets for Silly String donations, if you're so inclined.

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