The Sandbox

GWOT hot wash, straight from the wire

Welcome to The Sandbox, a forum for service members who have served or are currently serving in Iraq and Afghanistan, returned vets, spouses and caregivers. The Sandbox's focus is not on policy and partisanship (go to our Blowback page for that), but on the unclassified details of deployment -- the everyday, the extraordinary, the wonderful, the messed-up, the absurd. All correspondence is read, and as much as possible is posted, lightly edited. If you know someone who is deployed who might have something to say, please tell them about us. To submit a post click here.


November 26, 2008

Name: Rocinante
Posting date: 11/27/08
Stationed in: Iraq
Hometown: Virginia
Milblog: Rocinante's Burdens

More pictures of HESCO basket abuse. You may recall my previous post on these marvels of technology and all the wonderful things the Iraqi Army does with them.

Framed Roci HESCO 1

Clothesline. A good use for the twisty corner rods that usually get thrown away.

Framed Roci HESCO 2

Decorative entry gate.

Framed Roci HESCO 3

Decorative fence.

Framed Roci HESCO 4

Bridge over nasty waters.

Framed Roci HESCO 5

HESCO guard shelter.

Framed Roci HESCO 6

Decorative planter boxes.

Framed Roci HESCO 7

Water pump shelter.


Framed Roci HESCO 8

Decorative minaret for the camp mosque.

Framed Roci HESCO 9

Shoe rack for said mosque.

Framed Roci HESCO 10

And finally, HESCO bicycle rack.

Is there anything these incredibly expensive pieces of military hardware can't do when cut apart and used in place of raw materials worth a small fraction of their cost?

Last I heard, the IA does not buy any HESCO baskets. They depend entirely upon the US Govt to buy them for them. This is what happens when you give people stuff for free. Waste.

If you find yourself in Iraq, in charge of giving stuff to the IA, and they ask you for HESCO-brand baskets of all sizes "for force protection", just say no.

If they had to pay for these themselves, and really needed them, they might open their own factory and produce them at a fraction of the cost of the ones we get. There is nothing incredibly complex about the basket design, materials or fabrication. But when you get the milk for free, why buy a cow?


If HESCO barriers are so valuable and their misuse so distressing, then what would you say about the thousands of twisted, discarded HESCOs which now populate US military dumps throughout Iraq? They've fallen out of favor since the proliferation of the T-Wall, and the vast majority have simply been trashed.

I don't like the taste of foot so I won't speak without knowing, but it seems most likely that any HESCOs the Iraqi Army has acquired were gotten from salvage, not direct military aid.

And regardless, at least they're using them (as opposed to trashing them).

HESCO barriers have a limited life span. After a few years in the sun, the fabric falls apart and the dirt falls out. Once they have been used, they are labor intensive to recover, usually needing the dirt taken out by hand. So the normal way to remove a bunch is to run them over with a bulldozer, then lift the metal basket away from the dirt filler. This makes the metal basket unusable for the projects I have discussed here.

In all the cases where I posted pictures, brand spanking new HESCOS were used as raw materials, not salvage. Every month, the IA asked me for more. They especially ask for the smaller sizes, which are particularly unsuitable for protection, but have a smaller screen so are particularly suitable for "projects" and planters.

The right answer is to stop buying them. Wasteful use is not a virtue.


Yes, it would make sense to stop buying the HESCO barriers, but then the company that makes them might no be so profitable. Hmmm. Who does make them?

Yo, Cheese, there is no Pvt Hesco. Wet dream of financial ascendency over, bro. Here's the facts;

Roci... you got that right!

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