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Spc. Shaun Smith, left, and Spc. Terence Adolph, supply clerks at with the Georgia National Guard's 277th Maintenance Company, stand before a floor-to-ceiling stack of about 500 broken cots turned in by troops as Camp New York, Kuwait. The cots, provided by a contractor in Kuwait, have not stood up to the rigors of Army use. Smith and Adolph said they are being replaced by standard Army-issue cots.
Spc. Shaun Smith, left, and Spc. Terence Adolph, supply clerks at with the Georgia National Guard's 277th Maintenance Company, stand before a floor-to-ceiling stack of about 500 broken cots turned in by troops as Camp New York, Kuwait. The cots, provided by a contractor in Kuwait, have not stood up to the rigors of Army use. Smith and Adolph said they are being replaced by standard Army-issue cots. (Steve Liewer / S&S)
Spc. Shaun Smith, left, and Spc. Terence Adolph, supply clerks at with the Georgia National Guard's 277th Maintenance Company, stand before a floor-to-ceiling stack of about 500 broken cots turned in by troops as Camp New York, Kuwait. The cots, provided by a contractor in Kuwait, have not stood up to the rigors of Army use. Smith and Adolph said they are being replaced by standard Army-issue cots.
Spc. Shaun Smith, left, and Spc. Terence Adolph, supply clerks at with the Georgia National Guard's 277th Maintenance Company, stand before a floor-to-ceiling stack of about 500 broken cots turned in by troops as Camp New York, Kuwait. The cots, provided by a contractor in Kuwait, have not stood up to the rigors of Army use. Smith and Adolph said they are being replaced by standard Army-issue cots. (Steve Liewer / S&S)
Spc. Shaun Smith, 27, (center) a supply clerk with the Georgia National Guard's 277th Maintenance Company, watches as soldiers from the Schweinfurt-based 1st Battalion, 26th Infantry Regiment turn in broken cots at Camp New York. About 500 of the civilian cots have collapsed under the weight of soldiers and Marines in the past week. Smith said his unit is replacing them with sturdier Army-issue cots. The 1-26 Infantry soldiers are Pfc. Roberto Beauzile, 21, of Newburgh, N.Y. (left) and Pvt. Savas Rivera, 25, of Tracy, Calif.
Spc. Shaun Smith, 27, (center) a supply clerk with the Georgia National Guard's 277th Maintenance Company, watches as soldiers from the Schweinfurt-based 1st Battalion, 26th Infantry Regiment turn in broken cots at Camp New York. About 500 of the civilian cots have collapsed under the weight of soldiers and Marines in the past week. Smith said his unit is replacing them with sturdier Army-issue cots. The 1-26 Infantry soldiers are Pfc. Roberto Beauzile, 21, of Newburgh, N.Y. (left) and Pvt. Savas Rivera, 25, of Tracy, Calif. (Steve Liewer / S&S)
Pvt. Savas Rivera, 25, of the 1st Battalion, 26th Infantry Regiment, sits in the back of a Humvee with a pile of more than 50 broken cots turned in by his unit. Supply clerks have replaced the broken cots, supplied by a contractor in Kuwait, with sturdier Army-issue ones.
Pvt. Savas Rivera, 25, of the 1st Battalion, 26th Infantry Regiment, sits in the back of a Humvee with a pile of more than 50 broken cots turned in by his unit. Supply clerks have replaced the broken cots, supplied by a contractor in Kuwait, with sturdier Army-issue ones. (Steve Liewer / S&S)
Pfc. Jonathan Bell, 20, of the 1st Battalion, 77th Armor Regiment, uses his rucksack to prop up his defective contractor-supplied cot, which broke under the stress of his 205 pounds.
Pfc. Jonathan Bell, 20, of the 1st Battalion, 77th Armor Regiment, uses his rucksack to prop up his defective contractor-supplied cot, which broke under the stress of his 205 pounds. (Steve Liewer / S&S)
Spc. Robert Boyer, 21, has been sleeping on a collapsed cot for the past few days at Camp New York, Kuwait. About 500 of the cots, ordered from a contractor in Kuwait, have been turned in broken during the past week, according supply clerks from the Georgia National Guard's 277th Maintenance Company. Boyer is a member of Charlie Company of the 1st Battalion, 18th Infantry Regiment from Schweinfurt, Germany, currently attached to the 1st Infantry Division's Task Force 1-77.
Spc. Robert Boyer, 21, has been sleeping on a collapsed cot for the past few days at Camp New York, Kuwait. About 500 of the cots, ordered from a contractor in Kuwait, have been turned in broken during the past week, according supply clerks from the Georgia National Guard's 277th Maintenance Company. Boyer is a member of Charlie Company of the 1st Battalion, 18th Infantry Regiment from Schweinfurt, Germany, currently attached to the 1st Infantry Division's Task Force 1-77. (Steve Liewer / S&S)

CAMP NEW YORK, Kuwait — It’s become an all-too-familiar pratfall here at Camp New York.

Tired soldier loaded with gear plops down on his cot after a long day of training. Crash! He lands on the floor with an embarrassed thud, while his buddies laugh themselves stupid.

“They’re junk, that’s all they are,” griped Pfc. Jonathan Bell, 20, of the 1st Battalion, 77th Armor Regiment, whose cot collapsed under his 205-pound bulk. “The legs just cave.”

The cot casualties are mounting. Spc. Shaun Smith, 27, of Atlanta, a supply clerk with the Georgia National Guard’s 277th Maintenance Company, estimated more than 500 have been turned in for replacements in the past week. That doesn’t count many more collapsed cots that soldiers still are using, propped up with boxes or their own rucksacks.

The collapsing cots do not respect rank. Lt. Col. David Hubner, the Task Force 1-77 commander who stands 6-foot-4, broke one. Capt. Jason Goodfriend, 6-3 and 235 pounds, has crunched two.

In most places, soldiers are using standard Army-issue khaki cots. They aren’t pretty, but they’re strong.

But Camp New York’s come from a private contractor in Kuwait. The brightly colored blue and green cots fold up simply and come in easy-to-carry bags. They are made in China and carry the Saudi brand name Al-Sanidi. They look more suited for weekend camping than the rigors of Army life.

“They aren’t built for soldiers. They’re built for civilians,” Smith said.

For soldiers, cots aren’t only beds. They also serve as chair, sofa, dining table and dresser.

“The ones we have back home in Germany are more sturdy,” said Spc. Robert Boyer, 21, of Altoona, Pa., of Company C of the 1st Battalion, 18th Infantry Regiment, based in Schweinfurt. He sleeps, jackknife style, on a cot that has collapsed in the middle.

“This is one of the few times you cherish the good ol’ Army stuff,” said Staff Sgt. Donald Ulbright, 42, of Pana, Ill.

Camp New York’s supply staff has issued new cots to replace broken ones. They are beginning to hand out the familiar khaki ones again.

“I’m glad I have a real Army cot,” said Goodfriend, 26, of Flemington, N.J. “It just goes to show, the Army knows how to make stuff.”

Soldiers are hoping when they head north to Iraq soon, they’ll leave behind the newfangled cots.

“I’d rather sleep on the floor,” said Bell, of Franklinton, La. “This is the worst camping trip I’ve ever been on.”

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