No, this isn’t a manufacturing company in the Vatican, or the name of an obscure pope you’ve never heard of. It’s the latest jury-rigged equipment that our soldiers in Iraq are putting together. And it’s saving lives.
To paraphrase our defense secretary, you go to war with the equipment you have, not the equipment you wish you had. And the more ingenious you are at fashioning your own equipment and armor, the greater your chance of survival.
Pope Glass is a 2-inch-thick cocoon of bulletproof windshields welded together. This glass cocoon is used to protect the turret of a Humvee. Pope Glass is becoming more and more common on Humvees in the most violent parts of Iraq. Troops are having to be more and more inventive to protect themselves against snipers and roadside bombs.
They call it Pope Glass because it looks similar to the thick glass box that Pope John Paul II used to travel in after his assassination attempt in 1981.
A Vermont National Guardsman was the first person to use Pope Glass in Iraq last July. He said “It was really uncomfortable keeping myself above the turret that first time. I felt exposed. When I put the glass on, everybody was like, what the hell is this guy doing? But then they started asking for it.”
A 21-year-old gunner whose life was saved by Pope Glass said “I would have been gone if that glass hadn’t been there. I probably wouldn’t have a head.”
Thank God for the ingenuity of our troops. The Army sends you into this hellhole, and then it’s up to you to keep inventing your own safety gear if you want to stay alive.