Friday, December 08, 2006

Use Of "Silly String" Saving American Troops' Lives In Iraq

A child's gag toy is proving to be an adult lifesaver on the battlefield in Iraq. "Silly String" has now become indispensable for American troops for use in detecting trip wires which can trigger hidden explosive devices. Original story from the San Diego Union-Tribune website via Newsnet14.

Like Vietnam, the entire country has become a "front line" thanks to the guerilla insurgency, and one of the more sphincter-tightening tasks for American troops is entering and clearing buildings. Guerrillas will frequently plant explosive devices in seemingly "abandoned" buildings, and when one of our troops walks into the nearly invisible "trip" wires, the device explodes.

In 2004, some U.S. Marines accidentally learned that Silly String could enable them to detect trip wires. The technique: 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. Silly String is so light that it cannot trigger the wire. During an October call to his mother, Army Spc. Todd Shriver explained how his unit in the insurgent hotbed of Ramadi learned from Marines to use Silly String on patrol to detect boobytraps.

His mother, Marcelle Shriver, was alarmed that the military was not issuing this item to their combat troops, and so she began a campaign. After sending some cans to her son, Shriver enlisted the help of two priests and posted notices in her local church and its newsletter. From there, the effort took off, with money and Silly String flowing in. Parishioners have been dropping cans into donation baskets. 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.

If I turn on the TV and see a soldier with a can of this on his vest, that would make this all worth it,” said Shriver, 57, an office manager.

And the manufacturere of the Silly String brand, Just for Kicks Inc. of Watertown, N.Y., has contacted the Shrivers about donating some. Other manufacturers make the stuff, too, and call their products “party string” or “crazy string.” “Everyone in the entire corporation is very pleased that we can be involved in something like this,” said Rob Oram, Just for Kicks product marketing manager. He called the troops' use of Silly String innovative.

Understandably, the military is reluctant to talk about the operational 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 fluid battlefield. And he said commanders are given money to buy nonstandard supplies as needed.

Last week KOVR Channel 13 of Sacramento, CA also reported that a California woman, Deborah Johns, was also sending Silly String to her U.S. Marine son who requested it. She's also been overwhelmed with donations.

However, before you rush out, buy a can, and slap in into a priority mail envelope, there's just one problem. The Houston Chronicle reports that since Silly String comes in an aerosol can, the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) will not ship it by air because it's considered a hazardous material. This is not just bureaucratic mishmash; the Postal Service was required to agree not to ship hazardous material by air in order to get commercial airlines to accept USPS mail for shipment. A private pilot who heard about her campaign has agreed to fly the cans to Kuwait — most likely in January — where they will be taken to Iraq.

If you want to contribute, you may send Silly String to either of the following points of contact (Note to Alaska and Hawaii residents - since the alternative to air shipment is extremely slow ground shipment, you might want to ask UPS, FedEx, or DHL if they'll ship it by air):

Deborah Johns
Marine Moms of Northern California
4120 Douglas Blvd. #306-442
Granite Bay, CA. 95746


Marcelle Shriver
St. Luke Church
55 N. Warwick Rd.
Stratford, NJ. 08084

**To help out the volunteers you can include the shipping cost along with your donation. Tax deductible donations can be sent to Deborah Johns.**

Comment: Perhaps you've heard about the Treats for Troops campaign. Something like this would be a REAL treat - keeping our troops alive until we can finally bring them home PERMANENTLY.

Tags: , , , ,


  1. Too bad some of your "racialist" buddies don't agree with you. They would rather see them dead since they fight a war that is nothing but a Jew problem. Not to mention I've seen them called baby killers on the same site.
    Especially those military personal who aren't "white"!
    You know this considering the visits to the Hal Turner website made by you.
    I don't understand the two-faced attitudes of white supremacists.
    Maybe you can explain it Carl.

  2. Judith - There are two schools of thought prevailing within the WN movement on this issue.

    One school of thought, the less prominent and more extreme, holds that since the troops weren't drafted, they are volunteers and are automatically part of the problem.

    The other school of thought, more prevalent, holds that troops are "victims" of a system that misuses them, employing them in wars fought on behalf of special interests rather than the national defense.

    If our troops were really employed in the national defense, they'd be deployed on our southern border or in Mexico City rather than Baghdad. Those aren't exactly illegal Iraqis sneaking across our border.

  3. And when do you suppose those two schools of thought as you call them would merge into one?
    The only time y'all actually argue amongst yourselves is when you are stepping on each other to be head cheese. No pun intended by that remark.....

    Otherwise there is nothing that is condemned within your world of white supremacists.
    It doesn't matter if it's hatred towards the military or talking of killing whole groups of people down to the baby in their mother's arms.

  4. I always love how you clowns can never give an answer.

  5. Judith - I only respond to RELEVANT points.

  6. Well of course, Carl! Rantings from your friends or other personalities are always relevant.

    On the more serious side though you are basically a murderer waiting to happen along with the rest of the "white" supremacists.
    None of you really give a hoot about the country, military or the general public and that is why you really don't have replies to remarks made on your blog by anyone who doesn't agree with you.