John Tod of Mesa had been prepared to face Father's Day worrying about his son's pending date with the war in Iraq.
Then Uncle Sam stepped in with more disappointing developments.
Marine Pfc. Jeremy Tod called home with news that his superiors were urging him and fellow Marines to buy special military equipment, including flak jackets with armor plating, to enhance the prospects of their survival.
The message was that such purchases were to be made by Marines with their own money.
"He said they strongly suggested he get this equipment because when they get to Iraq they will wish they had," Tod said.
Total estimated cost: $600.
Tod said his son's call about two weeks ago from the Marine Corps Air Station-Yuma was a sobering reminder that the military is not prepared to equip Pfc. Tod and fellow Marines with the best equipment...
...It's not the cost that concerns him, even though the self-employed home repairman will have to dig deep for the cash.
"We're supposed to have a professional army," he said, "the best in the world. And we're not providing them with the type of gear they need to protect themselves as they do their jobs."...
This story comes with an additional word of caution...
Told about the Marine request, U.S. Rep. J. D. Hayworth, the Republican whose 5th District includes Mesa, said he has never heard of a service person being told to buy his own equipment.
That caution, of course, is that J.D. Hayworth is perhaps the dumbest man in America.