Air Force Stories

The emails below pretty well sum up what we hear from all branches.
What does it take for the military to FIX THE PROBLEM without comment?
Each person requesting helmet pads should go to the Air Force website and let them know about the problems in addition to us.

Have a video or youtube comment on the pads?  Let us know: ophelm at operation-helmet.org

11 Jun 2014: Kits: 25. Hometown: Waterbury Connecticut. Heard about us: Fellow soldier. Duties: Convoy Ops. Current Pads: Green hard basic stock pad. Comments: Currently in Afghanistan attached to an army unit as a combat medic. I was ordered one by a friend back in February and they have been awesome. I would like my CET (Convoy Escort Team) to have some since we're on the road outside the wire basically all the time. Thanks!. SrA, USAF

31 May 2014: Kits: 1. Hometown: Plymouth, MA. Heard about us: Google. Duties: maintenance. Current Pads: none. Comments: I currently have no padding in my helmet, just the basic straps. They don't issue padding kits to any of us. Several (5) of us are getting ready to deploy and this would be great to have! SSgt, USAF.

27 May 2014: Kits: 8. Heard about us: Google. Duties: Munitions. Current Pads: black pads w velcro,. Comments: Pads do not correctly fit to helmet very stiff. SSgt, USAF

19 May 2014: Kits: 25. Hometown: . Heard about us: Fellow service member. Duties: Medic. Current Pads: Stock grey issue. Comments: The current pads cause discomfort and head aches among the soldiers. Being an Air Force medic assigned to an Army unit is a challenging and rewarding task. My profession is to take care of my fellow soldiers, even if it is something as simple as upgraded helmet pads.. SSgt, USAF

19 May 2014: Kits: 30. Hometown: Connecticut. Heard about us: Soldier. Duties: Convoy Ops. Current Pads: Stock gray basic ACH pads. Comments: I am asking for 30 for my unit. We are outside the wire for weeks/months at a time. SrA, USAF

19 May 2014: Duties: USAF Convoy Medic attached to the Army.. Current Pads: Green hard pads. Comments: My soldiers can't wear their helmet for a long period of time because of the helmet pads are too hard. It's really uncomfortable to wear it, specially on a long 10-18 hr missions. I'm hoping this pads will eliminate those issues and prevent them from removing helmet while on convoy. Thank you so much for supporting our troops. SSgt, USAF

16 May 2014: Kits: 20. Duties: Convoy. Current Pads: Basic grey ach pads. Comments: Wearing ACH for hours everyday. Having the basic grey pads starts to get very painful as the day wears on. SrA, USAF

12 Mar 2014: Kits: 1. Heard About us: was looking for new helmet pads online. Duties: Tactical Security Element. Current Pads: NSN. Comments: The pads I we have now are big, bulky and stiff. They're so big you have to get a helmet one size bigger than your head because there is an inch of padding inside.  SSgt, USAF.

14 Feb 2014: Kits: 1. Hometown: Florida. Heard About us: Google. Duties: Humanitarian Aid mission, meetings with village elders, Afghan School and clinic projects. Current Pads: NSN: 8470-01-546-9415. Comments: Helmet does not sit correctly on my head. As a result, I get a lot of pain on right side of my head. I have tried to adjust the padding, but I only get more pain. Capt, USAF.

6 Feb 2014: Kits: 4. Heard About us: I was researching better helmet padding for me and my troops. I just happen to click on the link to your site. Duties: Convoy Medic/Medical Support. Current Pads: NSN 8470-01-546-9407. Comments: very stiff , uncomfortable and bulky. feels as if helmet does not fit securely to my head as it should. TSgt, USAF.

2 Jan 2014: Kits: 1. Hometown: St Marys, GA. Heard About us: One of our pilots received your upgrade kit. Duties: I work directly with the Afghan Air Force as an advisor. Current Pads: The pads are made by Ops-Core, they are a dense styrofom and have a thin 1/4" soft pad attached. Comments: My biggest issue with the pads is that other than being uncomfortable, they cause my helmet to ride high on my head. TSgt, USAF.

25 Dec 2013: Kits: 1. Hometown: Virginia Beach. Heard About us: internet Duties: Director. Current Pads: NSN. Olive green. MFG: 5M888 Lot 1, NSN 5470-01-546-9415. Comments: Uncomfortable for long-term wear. Col, USAF.

24 Dec 2013: Kits: 1. Heard About us: ask.com. Duties: Maintenance. Current Pads: skydex. Comments: uncomfortable over time. SMSgt, USAF.

9 Dec 2013: Kits: 4. Hometown: Bellevue, NE. Heard About us: www.mymilitarysavings.com. Duties: I'm a C-130 pilot who teaches Afghans how to fly in the Cessna 208. (C-208). Current Pads: PAD, HELMET, ADVANCED COMBAT CIRCULAR CROWN SIZE 3/4" NSN 8470-01-546-9415 SPM1C1-07-C-F103 9U425 LOT 3097-1. Comments: The pads we have now are hand-me-downs from years ago. They're beat up. 4 of us are here for a year...can you help?  Capt, USAF.

4 Nov 2013: Kits: 1. Duties: CSAR. Current Pads: standard ACH Gentex pads. Comments: cause headaches when worn long term. SrA, USAF.

16 Oct 2013: Kits: 4. Heard About us: Web Search. Duties: Metal Working. Current Pads: NSN 8470-01-546-9415 Pad, Helmet, Advanced Combat. Comments: Uncomfortable. TSgt, USAF.

15 Oct 2013: Kits: 1. Hometown: Kansas City. Heard About us: Officemate. Duties: Contract management, private security oversight, convoy oversight. Current Pads: NSN 8470-01-546-9415. Comments: chin strap slips loose overtime while on missions...pads uncomfortable and cause chafing/irritation on head. Capt, USAF.

18 Sep 2013: Kits: 1. Hometown: Honolulu, HI. Heard About us: Firearms forum. Duties: Aircrew. Current Pads: Skydex. Comments: Very tight and uncomfortable, some hot-spots during long periods of wear. MSgt, USAF.

11 Sep 2013: Kits: 15. Hometown: South Bend, IN. Heard About us: Another NCO in my unit. Duties: Security Force augmentees, base sweeps, and general twelve hour wear. Current Pads: Our Helmets don't have any pads they still have just webbing and head band. Comments: Our necks are very tired after supporting helmets that don't even full fit our heads and they shake around when you move. Many people have to wear beanies with their helmets or else have marks on them. Some peoples equipment is so old that there is mold growing on it.  SSgt, USAF.

24 August 2012: I am writing this email to request a few helmet pad kits. I attempted to request some online; however, the communications squadron blocked my request. My name is xxxx and I am currently attached to Air Force Office of Special Investigations (AFOSI), Expeditionary Detachment (EDET) [opsec]. The members of my unit and I conduct daily OTW missions here in Kandahar, AFG. We have run into some serious issues with the current pads we were issued, "Team Wendy, NSN 8470-01-546-0415" they are causing headaches and guys are having trouble focusing while out on objectives, especially while conducting night operations with NVGs. Any chance we get we take our helmets off or loosen the chin straps to relieve some of the pressure, this is obviously a huge safety concern because the areas we are operating in are extremely hostile. Any help you can provide is GREATLY appreciated!  Special Agent, USAF.

Followup note from Special Agent: Doc, Thank you again! My team and I went out on an op the night after we received your shipment, and they really do make a difference. The pads are much softer and distribute the pressure evenly around my head, especially when I have my NVGs on. I asked the guys what they thought and they loved them! A lot of people who don't go OTW don't understand how the little things like helmet pads make a huge difference! I see some guys who have all this really cool and fancy "tactical" gear, but I'm an advocate of less is more. Carefully chosen equipment is way more important than bulk... Thanks! T.

22 Aug 2013: Kits: 4. Hometown: wichita,ks. Heard About us: Online. Duties: Convoy, Foot patrol, Infantry. Current Pads: Old, Some green military, and some black they are taped in hand me downs. Comments: They give headaches, when helmet is off fine.  SSgt, USAF.

1 Aug 2013: Kits: 1. Hometown: Wind Gap, PA. Heard About us: A friend told me about you. Duties: Military infrastructure advisor. Current Pads: NSN 8470-01-546-9415 Green. Comments: They are limited with configuration,hot and very difficult to break in. You don't do chin straps do you? MSgt, USAF.

1 Aug 2013: Kits: 10. Heard About us: Other OTW Unit. Duties: Security Forces/Infantry OTW. Current Pads: Basic Helmet Pads. Comments: After continuous use of the pads I currently have it makes my team have bad headaches and marks on our heads. SSgt, USAF.

31 Jul 2013: Kits: 1. Duties: Infantry/Security Forces. Current Pads: no writing on pad just black in color. Comments: the current pads that im using dont conform to my head and are very stiff and after awhile i get bad headaches from them and cannot take off my helmet outside the wire to relive the pressure on my head. SSgt, USAF.

21 July 2013: Kits: 10. Hometown: Fuquay-Varina, NC. Heard About us: a friend. Duties: Infantry/Security. Current Pads: Skydex DOM: G-07-07 3/4 inch Comments: The current pads are causing massive headaches within 2 hours after putting the helmet on and the headaches only get worse the longer we are on patrol. We take our helmets off every chance we get, which puts us at risk if the unknown occurs while we are giving our heads a chance to "breath." We love our job and the difference we are making, but we would love for the pounding headaches to go away without risking our lives. SSgt 'Reaper', USAF.

6 Jun 2013: Kits: 3. Duties: Reaper missions. outside the wire. Current Pads: gray, hard standard issued. Comments: after more then half an hour of use i get pain where the pads are. i have to take the helmet off every few minutes to get the proper blood flow it feels like. makes the helmet fit uncomfortable during pre deployment training excercises, and if worn for a long time i get a headache. Amn, USAF.

6 Jun 2013: Kits: 2. Hometown: VACAVILLE, CA. Heard About us: Personal from my Unit. Duties: I am Security Forces conducting outside the wire missions. Current Pads: The ones that come with the helmet;(  Comments: The ones the helmet comes with are hard and non-forming to your head causing uncomfortable pain after wearing for an extended time. SSgt, USAF.

31 May 2013: Kits: 1. Hometown: Shokan NY. Heard About us: Fellow Reapers. Duties: Reaper QRT [quick reaction team]. Current Pads: MSA 3/4 in. Comments: My current ones are stiff and gives me headache with after short useage.  SrA, USAF.

23 May 2013: Kits: 1. Hometown: Poughkeepsie. Heard About us: Squad member. Duties: Security Forces, Reaper. Current Pads: NSN GENTEX. Comments: Too firm, feels like plastic inside and not comfortable at all. SrA, USAF

22 May 2013: Kits: 1.  Heard About us: ANOTHER TROOP. Duties: SECURITY FORCES - OUTSIDE THE WIRE. Current Pads: STANDARD ISSUED PADS, ONE IS A SEVERAL BIG SQUARES AND LITTLE SQUARES. Comments: TUFF AROUND THE HEAD CAUSES HEADACHES - HARD TO ADJUST AND SHIFTING. SSgt, USAF.

21 May 2013: Kits: 2. Hometown: BRONX, NEW YORK. Heard About us: INTERNET. Duties: SECURITY FORCES BASE DEFENSE. Current Pads: ACH GENERAL ISSUE. Comments: ACH GENERAL ISSUE PADS ARE VERY UNCOMFORTABLE AND DISTRACTING. CONSTANTLY REMOVING TO EASE THE DISCOMFORT. WILL DEFINITELY RETURN FEEDBACK AFTER RECEIVING NEW PADS. THANK YOU. SSgt, USAF.

8 May 2013: Kits: 1.  Duties: MWD [military working dog] Handler. Current Pads: NSN. Comments: The pads are hard and non-form fitting. When on long movements the straps make it even worse. The entire helmet becomes a sponge after about 20 minutes or so. It would be nice to have a tighter fit to prevent movement as well. TSgt, USAF.

28 Mar 2013: Kits: 1.  Duties: Security. Current Pads: Mine Safey Appliance Company, Green Very Hard pads. Comments: These pads are too thick and Hard. Not very comfortable with this helmet on. SrA, USAF.

8 Jan 2013: Kits: 1. Hometown: Anchorage, Ak. Duties: Convoy Comms. Current Pads: MSA. Comments: Way too stiif and cause pressure points no matter where I positon the pads. SrA, USAF.

4 Nov 2012: Kits: 1. Duties: Mechanic. Current Pads: Old leather pads. Comments: Green helmet with sand paper texture. SrA, USAF..

16 Oct 2012: Kits: 1. Hometown: Taylorsville, NC. Heard About us: looked up on internet. Duties: Par [Post Attack Recon] Team, UCC. Current Pads: standard issue, not comfortable at all. Comments: not comfortable at all, cant wear for long.  TSgt, USAF.

11 Oct 2012: Kits: 1. Duties: PSD. Current Pads: Skydex. Comments: Constant Headache. SSgt, USAF.

5 Oct 2012: Kits: 5. Duties: We are currently conducting all outside the wire security for our battle space because of other organizations needed in other parts of the country. Patrols and responding to any and all incidents. requesting 5 which is one for each pack. Current Pads: sage green, pressed seam, hard with a little give and feels like plastic under felt like material. Comments: pads cause bad head aches and also cause helmet to fall down in front of eyes obstructing view.  A1C, USAF.

30 Jul 2012: Kits: 13. Hometown: Remerton Ga. Heard About us: A Friend in the Army that is a 11B. Duties: Route Clearence. Current Pads: nsn 8670-01-506-6626 Comments: dam pads might as well be a brick. the troops are always asking to relieve the helmets when we mount up int the vehicles. TSgt, USAF.

24 Jun 2012: Kits: 1. Hometown: Tucson Arizona. Heard About us: A SrA from my unit is wearing your product. Duties: Commander, PRT [opsec removed]. Current Pads: Gentex (Grey)...several are torn after 6 months of use. Comments: Front pad crushes/collapses under weight of night vision googles...mount on the front then digs into my forehead.  Lt Col, USAF.

7 Jun 2012: Kits: 1.  Heard About us: goggled padding for kevlar helmet and your site came up. Duties: convoy, electrician/mechanic. Current Pads: NSN 8470-01-092-7527/ ISSUED SUSPENSION/ NO PADDING/ SIZE MEDIUM. Comments: Not comfortable at all, after long hours causes headaches and sore neck, also irritates skin (forehead) from rubbing TSgt, USAF.

7 Jun 2012: Kits: 1. Duties: Combat Controller. Current Pads: factory colr green, with stitching on edges. Comments: thank you so much for what you all do... SrA, USAF.

25 June, 2012: For the ACH varient we have 64 total military only 1 has recieved your product enhancement so far.  So 63 is the need...all of us go outside the wire...126 missions in 98 days...no injuries...knock on wood.  We have had several firefights and 1 helmet hit by 7.62 round.  I appreciate the American gear made by Americans at home!!! Thanks for what you do...as side note...my security platoon is Army National Guard Texas!!!  Normally they are part of 1-143 BN out of Austin...I just noticed your address below.  The Texas flag flies proud over their huts here in Gardez Afghanistan. LtCol, USAF

23 June 2012: Comments: When I am in the prone position my straps come loose and my ACH flops around, its hard to hold a target when it moves so much.

2 Jun 2012: Kits: 1. Heard About us: the Web. Duties: Protocal, PSD. Current Pads: Skydex. Comments: cause headachs when worn for long periods of time. TSgt, USAF.

21 Apr 2012: Kits: 1. Hometown: san antonio, texas. Heard About us: friend. Duties: EOD team leader Afghanistan. Current Pads: green no nsn. Comments: Thank you! SSgt, USAF.

18 Apr 2012: Kits: 1. Hometown: Norman, OK. Heard About us: Coworker. Duties: EOD Current Pads: MSA. Comments: Uncomfortable, near impossible to fit properly while still maintaining adequate padding.  SrA, USAF.

25 Mar 2012: Kits: 1.  Duties: I am part of the Quick reaction team at Bagram Airfield. Current Pads: My pads are dark green with the a sewn seam. They have nothing written on them. Comments: They make my head hurt with having to wear my helmet for 8 hours a day while we are doing patrols. SrA, USAF.

12 Mar 2012: Kits: 1.  Heard About us: Patrol Master. Duties: Quick Response Team/ OTW Team. Current Pads: grey Styrofoam pads. Comments: My current pads are stiff, and also cause headaches after long dismounted patrols. Amn, USAF.

7 Mar 2012: Kits: 1.  Heard About us: Outgoing personnel. Duties: OTW quick reaction force with route clearance duties as well. Current Pads: Solid black and very stiff. Comments: Being a mounted/dismounted OTW force, the current pads are very uncomfortable. Use of PRR dismount headset is nearly impossible. Migraines are a daily occurence with missions last between 12-19 hours. Any help would be greatly appreciated. SSgt, USAF.

7 Mar 2012: Kits: 1. Hometown: Mathis. Heard About us: Supervisor. Duties: Infantry/Security Forces. Current Pads: oregon aero/ black outside and green inside!! Comments: head pains due to stiffness of pads, plus gear we got to wear with hemlet, such as headsets and eye pro. TSgt, USAF.

7 Mar 2012: Kits: 1.  Duties: QRT [quick reaction team]. Current Pads: NSN. Comments: Always gives personnel headaches causing the removal of the helmet. A1C, USAF.

14 Feb 2012: Kits: 1. Hometown: Louisville KY. Heard About us: On-line. Duties: Convoy. Current Pads: MSA. Comments: They're not very soft and when it's cold out they're hard as a rock. They'll give headache's or hot spots. MSgt, USAF.

13 Feb 2012: Kits: 1.  Duties: OSI. Current Pads: thick green hard pads. Comments: too hard. A1C, USAF.

9 Feb 2012: Kits: 1. Hometown: Augusta, G.A Heard About us: One of my NCOs. Duties: M240 gunner. Current Pads: The standard issue pads... Comments: We wear these helmets for so long, after a while it becomes very uncomfortable. SrA, USAF.

5 Feb 2012: Kits: 1. Hometown: New York City. Heard About us: one of the Sergeants I'm replacing. Duties: OTW [outside the wire] missions. Current Pads: standard issue pads, not quite familiar with the name... Comments: the pads just don't allow the helmet to seat itself appropriately and I prefer for my gear to be donned on the right way. Not to mention, after awhile it makes your head hurt, not comfortable at all... SSgt, USAF.

9 Jan 2012: Kits: 1. Hometown: Houston. Heard About us: From another airman. Duties: TACP (close air support). Current Pads: Stock "Epic". Comments: I have to wear a headset on every mission (4-6 times a week, 6-8 hours each mission), and the helmet I currently have and was given from the air force is the 3/4 mich, which does not allow the headset to be worn underneath. This puts a ton of pressure on my ears and side of head and makes it quite uncomfortable. A friend of mine said you guys were able to help with out with a helmet which allowed the headset to fit underneath, i think he said it was called an "opscore"? Anyway thank you for all that you do, if you have any ideas I am definitely open to them! By the way my helmet I have now is a s/m. Thanks again!  A1C, USAF.

24 Dec 2011: Kits: 1. Hometown: Anniston AL. Heard About us: Web research. Duties: Afghan Mentor. Current Pads: I think they are Team Wendy. Comments: Headaches with extended wear.  Maj, USAF.

26 Nov 2011: Kits: 1. Hometown: cleveland. Heard About us: TEAM MEMBER. Duties: OTW route clearance, security. Current Pads: MSA 3/4IN. Comments: Pain on top of head and forehead after little bit of time. SSgt, USAF.

14 Nov 2011: Kits: 1. Heard About us: A member of my unit. Duties: I am a Security Forces member who works with the quick reaction force. Current Pads: MSA Sage Green, very stiff. uncomfortable. Comments: Every day I wear my helmet for at least 8-10 hours when outside the wire. I have to wear them on dismounts to keep myself safe, even though they give me terrible headaches because of the constant pressure each "pad" puts on my head. I'll admit I do not always wear my helmet in our armored vehicles, because it tends to hurt so bad, even though when im inside the vehicle is one of the most important times to wear it due to IED's. Ive tried everything to soften them up such as, washing them excessively, placing heavy items on them to make them a little more flexible, all with negative results. If I had comfortable pads, i'd never take my helmet off which could definately save my life one day. SrA, USAF.

11 Nov 2011: Hometown: Columbus, Ohio. Heard About us: A friend of mine was looking to replace his helmet pads and came across your website. Duties: We are part of the manuevering element for battlespace surrounding Bagram. We're pioneers for the Air Force and working closely with the Army to patrol the footprint of the base outside the wire. Current Pads: We currently have MSA pads on the inside of our ACH helmets. They are Sage Green in color and pretty uncomfortable. I have constant issues with headaches and general discomfort over the duration of our patrols. Comments: Thanks for even considering me for new helmet pads. I think this organization and many like it are true patriots and have our best interest in mind (unlike some in our government). Thanks, I hope to have some comfortable pads soon!  SSgt, USAF.

8 Nov 2011: Hometown: Hilliard, Ohio. Heard About us: Googled helmet pads. Duties: I am currently working on a quick response team patrolling outside the wire in Afghanistan. Air Force Security Forces. Current Pads: standard issue MSA. Comments: I get sore spots on my head from the pads and I am constantly moving my helmet around trying to ease the ache. SSgt, USAF.

6 Nov 2011: Hometown: LAS VEGAS, NV. Heard About us: TURNOVER. Duties: CSAR CONTINGENCY MAINTENANCE. Current Pads: MSA. Comments: THE HELMET SITS MUCH TOO HIGH, THE STRAPS DO NOT ADJUST AND THE CHIN STRAPS DO NOT PROPERLY SECURE THE HELMET TO THE HEAD. SSgt, USAF.

23 Oct 2011: Heard About us: internet search. Duties: K9 Handler. Current Pads: sage green color and very hard. Comments: pads are very hard and cause headaches.  SSgt, USAF.

16 Oct 2011: Duties: EOD. Current Pads: MSA. Comments: Causing headaches.  TSgt, USAF.

16 Oct 2011: Duties: EOD.  Just got my upgrade today. HUGE difference. You guys are doing great work. Much more comfortable! Prev Pad: Mine Safety Appliance (MSA) Prev Rating: 1.  Current Pad: Oregon Aero Current Rating: 5

2 Oct 2011: Heard About us: Lightfighter forums. Duties: EOD. Current Pads: MSA size 6. Comments: Stiff, causes headaches.  SSgt, USAF.

1 Oct 2011: Heard About us: Friends in the unit. Duties: Transportation. Current Pads: MSA. Comments: Pads are too thick/inflexible. Cause discomfort and headaches. Capt, USAF.

19 Sep 2011: Heard About us: fellow airman. Duties: Afghan Support Operations Advisor. Current Pads: MSA 03/2006. Comments: The pads that press against the temple are supposed to be "form fitting" yet place way too much pressure causing blurred vision and headaches when out on convoys. Have to keep readjusting every 5 minutes to release pressure. 1Lt, USAF.

11 Sep 2011: Heard About us: Searched Internet.  Duties: Spec OPS. Current Pads: Advanced Combat trapezoidal W911QY-05-D-0001 9U425 LOT 0038-4 NSN: 8470-01-546-9415. Comments: I have been in the AF for almost 24 years and been on 5 previous deployments while wearing a helmet that offered reasonable comfort. With this new helmet and pads I only had to put the helmet on for a few minutes before I noticed there was something seriously wrong with the pads design. This new helmet creates cranial pressure and caused an instant headache and I respectfully seek something better. I will let you know how the new pads feel when I receive them. I really appreciate your offer to help.  SMSgt, USAF.

11 Sep 2011: Duties: convoy. Current Pads: The basic stock pads. Information has worn off of them. Comments: After wearing them for a short period of time (30 minutes) I start getting a headache and sweat starts pouring down my glasses.  TSgt, USAF.

10 Sep 2011: Heard About us: Coworker. Duties: ANA National Depots Oversight. Current Pads: Basic issue green. Hard foam. Comments: I actually got a significant head rash, so i took out a few pads for airflow, but they still give me a significant headache after about 30 minutes of continuous wear. I typically wear it for about 2-4 hrs at a time. Just to relieve pressure I constantly take my helmet off on convoys, which is kind of against the rules. 1Lt, USAF.  Updated 28 Sep 2011: Doc Bob, Received the pads yesterday. The office is in total agreement that these pads are awesome. I've had to wear my helmet for a total of 10 hours in the past two days and have yet to get a headache from the pressure on my temples. Completely different from a 20 minute trip out to another camp with the helmet on and getting a headache. Once we hit the road again, I'll let you know how it does. Thanks again for all the help!

7 Sep 2011: Duties: Tactical Security Element. Current Pads: Standard issue solid green pads. Probably the most uncomfortable pad set I have ever used. Comments: I'm looking for a soft and comfortable pad set that won't feel like bricks on my head. My mission may require me sometimes to hike for miles OTW (on the way) over the mountains of Afghanistan. I need something more comfortable.  Special Agent, USAF.  Update: Received my helmet pads and i was able to put them to the test the day after. They are much better and way more comfortable than the green pads i had issued to me. I appreciate the pad set and i will continue to use them to help keep the air field green [operational, functional]! Thanks!!

31 Jul 2011: Heard About us: Google Search. Duties: Infantry tasks. I am attached to an infantry squad running combat missions daily. Current Pads: Standard issue pads in ACH. Sage green pads. Comments: I am requesting 15 so that i can distribute them among my immediate squad of guys. If at all possible there is a hand full of additional personnel that could use them as well. A1C, USAF (Army augmentee)

27 Jul 2011: Heard About us: Friend. Duties: Combat Advisor deployed with US Army to train/advise Afghan Army. Current Pads: Pad Helmet, Advanced Combat Helmet, Circular Crown Size 3/4" NSN 8470-01-546-9415, SPM1C1-08-C-B101, 5M888, Lot 03. Comments: Hard on the scalp after extended periods of usage. Maj, USAF (Army augmentee)

13 Jul 2011:  Duties: COMBAT ADVISOR IN IRAQ. Current Pads: SKYDEX. Comments: THE CURRENT PADS CAUSE CONTINUED HEADACHES AND BRUISING TO THE HEAD REGION WHEN ENGAGED IN VARIOUS COMBAT SITUATIONS AND PROLONGED WEAR.  Maj, USAF

3 Jul 2011: Duties: Army SatComm. Current Pads: MSA. Comments: I noticed, that during combat training for 30 days; I would get a pressure headache, due to the pads pressing down on certain points on my head. They never really got to the point of being unbearable, but I would be forced to unstrap my helmet so the ache would not get any worse. Being in combat, you need to be able to stay focused on the mission and not having a nagging headache to deal with.  SSgt, USAF.

18 May 2011: Duties: Helping Afgan police learn logistics... and convoys. Current Pads: MSA... they're terrible and I can't wear the helmet for more than an hour. Comments: The stock pads just don't have enough "give" they cause pressure points/acute areas of pain and overall contribute to a headache if I wear the helmet for more than an hour. This is even worse when I'm outdoors in the heat. I know I'm still luckier than some in the AF with no pads and the old suspension system. But running 12-hour convoys with the standard issue helmet pads will not work. Follow up email: After an hour, the headache keeps me from being able to concentrate on complex tasks and my shooting accuracy goes down significantly (it's really apparent when I compare my targets from my first hour of shooting with the helmet vs my second hour). This scares me a little since I know I'll have to wear my helmet for long periods of time and still need to be able to shoot accurately.1Lt, USAF. 

23 Apr 2011:  Duties: Battlefield Weather assigned to Army Brigade Combat Team. Current Pads: Black standard issue pads. Comments: Too stiff causing nauseating headaches.  SSgt, USAF.

22 Apr 2011: Duties: rescue (PJ). Current Pads: Standard pads that came with the helmet. Comments: Just looking for a more comfortable fit. Thank you. SrA, USAF.

13 Mar 2011: Duties: Follow-on airfield seizure force, runway assessment, clear for friendly fixed wing aircraft arrival.  Current Pads: MSA, sage green, bonds to velcro inner of ACH Comments: I have been deployed to Afghanistan twice and Africa once.  Both Afghanistan missions were embedded with the Army to include over 3,000 miles of convoying in MRAPs, MATVs and commercial up-armored suburbans over a 9 month period. I had an upgraded set (black ones issued out of Kyrgystan) and they were wonderful but stunk to high heaven and had to be discarded after the deployment. The initial issue pads simply give you a headache and make you want to remove your helmet as early and often as possible. The new job has us going into hot places both friendly (like Japan/Haiti/Chile quake response) and semi-permissive/hostile (like Libya/Egypt). I know others can use the pads in my unit, but one set for me is enough for now. I will tell them to apply on their own. Great idea and web site. Thank you.  1Lt, USAF

23 Nov 2010: Duties: Security Detail. Current Pads: None. Comments: Where I currently have no pads it is very uncomfortable.  SrA, USAF.

23 Nov 2010: Duties: Outside the wire force protection. Current Pads: ACH pad NSN: 8470-01-546-9416 Gentex Corporation. Comments: Currently I was issued pads that came with the helmet. I was not able to obtain the different sizes to achieve a proper fit.  SA, USAF

3 Nov 2010: Duties: Convoy. Current Pads: NSN. Comments: Uncomfortable.  SrA, USAF.

18 Sep 2010:  Duties: Logistics Officer, deploying later this month for a 6 month tour. Current Pads: Leather headband. Comments: Retains sweat, stretches, constant adjusting, very uncomfortable on my bald head.  Lt, USAF.

8 Aug 2010: Duties: convoy.  Current Pads: none.  Comments: I don't have the upgrade kit, so i am not for sure.  TSgt, USAF.

17 Jul 2010: medic. Comments: headache due to stiffness of front pad, sweat dripping in face due to lack of sweat band or equivalent. Capt, USAF

26 May 2010: The inside of the standard issue PASGT is like a form of medieval torture. Wear it for more than 30 minutes your head feels like its going to explode, making it hard to concentrate on the job at hand. MSgt, USAF.

4 May 2010: There is no information on the Pads that I currently use.  They are the ones that were issued with the helmet.  They are black all around as well.  To elaborate a little they are uncomfortable, do not fit properly and after I have it on for a while they compress and stat to move around.  This caused my helmet to impede my view.  As EOD I find it hard to operate a robot or work annually on a device when this happens

17 April 2010: Doc, The GI issue pads are not only uncomfortable but in my experience they don't allow for as good a fit with the ACH.  When you’re running or taking cover, an ill-fitted ACH can slip forward or rotate, blocking your vision and making you take time to adjust your brain bucket instead of finding cover or returning fire.  The comfort kit can literally be a lifesaver on the battlefield.  Thanks for the support, please keep up the great work.V/R Lance

12 Mar 2010 - Duty: convoys.  Comments: really loved the helmet pads that you sent me the first time just want to hand them out to my fellow friends that always complain about getting a headache.  A1C, USAF

26 Dec 09 - Sweat causes pads to rip when you try to remove them for cleaning. MSgt, USAF

23 Oct 2009 - Thank You so much for the helmet pads.  They are very comfortable and way cooler too.  We needed a little boost and you guys were the ones to deliver...Thank You.  TSgt, USAF

23 Oct 2009 - Thank you for the helmet pads and relief from the pressure and pain associated with wearing the helmets for extended periods of time. The new pads made a difference immediately and allowed me to focus on our convoy mission and not my aching head.  I now focus on keeping my team safe outside the wire and not helmets that hurt. Again, your generosity is greatly appreciated by those of us forward. Nice to know we are cared for by outstanding Americans.  Lt Col, USAF

22 Oct 2009 - I had the old pad system that I was issued from training. There were crap caused headaches and just uncomfortable to wear for long hours. New system is great no more headaches. Love them best thing ever. Thank you for your service to us. TSgt, USAF

1 Oct 2009 - The helmet gives me an incredible headache and makes my head go numb after one hour of wear. I have tried moving the pads and changing the straps or angle of wear but have found no solution. I simply cannot wear the helmet for more than one hour which doesn't get me very far. I've asked others for ideas and recently started searching for suggestions/solutions online. COL, USAF.


27 May 2009 - aircraft mechanic on A-10's-- we got the old school helmets that give migraines; no pads.  SSgt, USAF

11/22/07: Here's the latest poop on helmet changes by the AF. The old PASGT style helmets are being phased out, so no 'new' upgrade kits are being provided. Instead, all troops in CENTCOM will be issued or have available an Army-style ACH (advanced combat helmet) complete with shock-absorbing pads. Here's the AF's answer to a question we submitted to the HASC (House Armed Services Committee) as to why we're getting requests from troops (especially from Oki).

IF you find this info is wrong, I'd appreciate your letting me know. Don't want to close up shop if there's a job still to be done.

Please notify your command of these highlights regarding change in AF supply policy regarding the PASGT helmet and the now-mandated use of the ACH army-style helmet complete with shock-absorbing pads:

 • On 27 Jul 2007, OSD L&MR mandated the Personnel Armor Support Ground Troop (PASGT) helmet be taken out of service

• By end of Aug 2007, 40K ACHs were available in the CENTCOM AOR for issue and 3K ACHs were retained by CENTAF for specialized deployments.

• As of 5 Sept 2007, CENTAF reported that 100% of Airmen within IRAQ and Afghanistan were issued an ACH. ACHs were also positioned at Expeditionary Theater Distribution Centers (ETDCs) and Expeditionary Logistics Readiness Squadrons (ELRSs) and were available for issue to Airmen serving in areas outside of Iraq and Afghanistan.

• On 11 Sept 2007, 9th AF/A1-DPR issued the following instructions for Airmen deploying into the AOR:             • The ACH is now required for deployments to the USCENTCOM AOR and the PASGT helmet is no longer authorized for wear within the USCENTCOM AOR. Therefore,      members are no longer required to deploy with the PASGT helmet. ACHs are prepositioned at Expeditionary Theater Distribution Centers (ETDCs) in Al Udeid, Manas, & Ali Al      Salem.

 • Limited quantities are also prepositioned at the Expeditionary Logistics readiness Squadrons in Balad, Kirkuk, Sather, Ali Al Salem, and Al Asad, Bagram, Kandahar, Eskan Villiage, Al Dafra and Djibouti. ETDCs will issue ACHs to deployers. Members who do not process through an ETDC are required to deploy with an ACH.

 • Instructions were provided by CENTAF /A4R to all Air Force units on 21 Sept 07 on how to obtain ACHs if not transiting through an ETDC.

 • 183K ACHs are on order for distribution throughout the AF for delivery in 2008-2009

 From what we are told, all troops arriving in their AOR now either have or will be issued the new style helmet.

 

Text of message from AF:

"ADVANCED COMBAT HELMET (ACH) DISTRIBUTION

PURPOSE: status of the Air Force equipping Airmen with the ACH and padded suspension system. DISCUSSION

- Per US Central Command Air Force (CENTAF), every Airman in the Central Command (CENTCOM) Area of Responsibility (AOR) has been issued or has an ACH available; therefore, no Airman should be operating in the CENTCOM AOR with a sling suspension system

-- In Jun 06, the Air Force purchased 5,000 padded systems to replace sling systems; shipments of these padded systems were completed in Aug 06

-- In Jul 06, CENTAF purchased an additional 5,000 padded suspensions systems; shipments were received by Aug 06

-- In Aug 06, the Air Force used FY06 GWOT funds to purchase 122,000 padded suspension systems; these all arrived in theater by late Dec 06

-- To the best of our knowledge, there are no Airmen operating with a sling system

- The Air Force met the Office of the Secretary of Defense Logistics &Material Readiness (OSD-LMR) mandate to remove Personnel Armor Ground Support Troop (PASGT) from active service and issue ACHs to all military personnel deployed to the CENTCOM AOR

-- In Sep 06, using FY06 GWOT funds, the Air Force purchased 25,000 ACHs for the AOR and received these helmets by Aug 07

-- On 27 Jul 07, OSD-LMR mandated that the PASGT be taken out of service and ACHs issued to all military personnel deployed to the CENTCOM AOR

- The Air Force made every effort to immediately field padded suspension systems to troops in the AOR

-- By 2 September 2007, CENTAF received an additional 18,000 ACHs helmets via crossflow from the Army to distribute or make available enough ACHs for the entire AOR. The CENTAF AOR now has over 43,000 ACHs and is self-sufficient, with enough ACHs to outfit two AEF pairs

- Due to OSD mandate directing all forces to use the ACH as the standard combat helmet, the Deputy Chief of Staff, Logistics, Installations and Mission Support (HAF/A4/7) developed a two-phase plan to equip all Air Force personnel

-- Phase 1. Equip the in-place forces in Korea, SOUTHCOM, and EUCOM, etc. Then equitably equip all mobility positions beginning with PACAF and USAFE first. The equitable distribution includes the Guard and Reserve Forces. The number of helmets required and cost is calculated as follows:

* Number of in place / mobility personnel: 286,658
* Plus 10% back-up stock: +28,666
* Equals total to support in place and UTC tasked forces =315,324
* Minus number of funded ACHs on order: -227,011
* Minus number of ACHs distributed in AOR -43,038
* Shortage of ACHs required to complete phase 1 45,275

-- Phase 2. Our goal for phase 2 is to have an ACH available for issue to every airman.

* Number of Total Force Personnel: 487,862
* Plus 10% back-up: +48,786
* Equals total ACHs required: =536,648
* Minus number of ACHs on back order funded -227,011
* Minus number of ACHs distributed in AOR -43,038
* Minus number required for phase 1 - 45,275
* Equals # of additional ACHs required for phase 2 221,324 ..."


OOPS:Left hand evidently not communicating with right hand.

12/2/07: YOU KNOW WHAT, This will be my 15th time in BAD GUY COUNTRY and we have never received any upgrades what so ever to any part of our uniform. I know that the Air Force is low on the the pecking order, but in my 20 year of service I have always had to go outside my means to make myself or my fellow airman fill safe. I can pretty much guarantee you that we will never see the PASGT upgrade. Now with that said we just hade a group leave in early Aug. and they never seen any upgrade. now its our turn and I can tell you we will never see the upgrade. to tell you the truth we have 200+ leaving in the near feature and not one of us will see the upgrade.

 

3/5/07: As of now, all Air Force troops being deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan should receive their 'GI' PASGT helmet upgrade either in their ETDC or their final destination (AOR). All kits ordered by the Air Force have now been delivered. Please do not request upgrades from us unless you are in bad guy country without...we're glad to help, but don't want to duplicate efforts.

30 Mar 07 - From HQ USAF/A4

PASGT Helmets - Scenario 1
Members who deploy with their PASGT helmet from home station are issued the helmet padded suspension system (HPSS) [OH note: HPSS is a generic AF term] from the ETDC, or forward locations, if they do not go through an ETDC.  When the individual's tour is completed they return to home station with the upgraded PASGT helmet.

Scenario 2
If a Kevlar helmet is issued from one of the ETDC's, a HPSS is also issued to members to install.  Members remove the HPSS when returning the helmet to the ETDC.  (This scenario is rare, for the ETDCs did not originally have PASGT helmets in their inventory but subsumed them in the inventory when helmets were turned in or found on base).  For either scenario when the Kevlar helmets are worn the individual is given a new HPSS to install. 

ACH - Scenario 3
The new ACH helmet is being fielded and issued from the ETDCs.  The policy is when an ACH is returned to the ETDC, the individual removes the pads; they're cleaned through an established base contract, and then reinstalled by another member upon issue.  If you receive an unserviceable pads, be polite but firm and get a serviceable pad. 

25 Oct 06 - Here's the response we got asking about the plans for the 130,000 newly-purchased helmet upgrades: Please pass the word to your command if deploying. If already in-country, ask the UDM to see if they can holler up the chain for upgrades.

"The AF helmet upgrade kits are being sent to the Expeditionary Theater Distribution Centers (ETDC) at:
376ELRS, Manas AB, Kyrgyzstan
386ELRS, Al Salem AB, Kuwait
379ELRS, Al Udeid AB, Qatar"

Please contact your Unit Deployment Manager (UDM) for more info.  If you are the UDM and can't get info, please contact your MAJCOM or CENTAF/A4.


14 Feb 07 - The Oregon Aero pad system I received from Operation Helmet is outstanding. The pad system arrived a day prior to a group having to depart to recover a disabled aircraft. The pad system allowed the group to perform their recovery efforts and not have to worry about the "kitchen pot" on top of their heads. The fit was better, the comfort level was better, and it allowed the helmet to be worn for an extended period of time without becoming a bother. The folks at Operation Helmet are heroes in my book. TSgt T


- AF initially bought 5,000 padded helmet suspension systems in a Shaw AFB contract with Skydex on 12 Jul 06, (AEF 1/2).  Also purchased 25K Advanced Combat Helmets (ACH) which come with the padded suspension systems already installed

- All 5,000 pad systems were sent to the AOR in Aug.  ETDC Distribution: Al Udeid: 2,400 sets, Ali Al Salem: 1,300 sets and Manas: 1,300 sets

- In Sept, HQ CENTAF directed the ETDCs to ship small quantities to forward locations Distribution: Balad: 150 sets, BIAP: 50 sets, Kirkuk: 50 sets, Kandahar: 20 sets and Ali Base: 50 sets

- US CENTAF placed an additional 5K on order and distributed the following quantities to the ETDCs: Al Udeid: 2,400 sets, Ali Al Salem:1,300 sets and Manas:1,300 sets

- An additional 122,000 pad systems were purchased in Sep 06

    -- Total number of padded suspension systems purchased for the AOR: 157K

    -- Total number of padded suspension systems delivered to the AOR: 10,501
    -- Total number issued between the ETDCs and all forward locations to date: 421

- The In-Lieu-Of (ILO) Forces and Battle Field Airmen and personnel who could potentially conduct duties outside the wire had priority due to limited availability in AEF 1/2

- Air Staff has lifted restrictions on the ETDCs, which limited the issue of assets to only Battle Field Airmen and Airmen outside the wire

- ETDC will begin issuing all assets to every member transiting through the AOR until assets are exhausted



27 Nov 2006 - I installed the new pad system in my helmet and it works great! not to soft not to hard. even for extended use, 12 hours plus, it is still comfortable. I use this helmet everyday with out any complaints, if you could just find a way to make the flak vest and plates more comfortable. thank you SrA RP.


25 Nov 06 - I just wanted to say how your kit has improved wearing my helmet. I am thankful for people like you who think enough of our great countries fighting men and women. SrA JB
 

23 Nov 06 - ... I asked you to send 25 helmets to Iraq for the 3/8 xxx from Jacksonville NC.  My son received his helmet first and when he received the others he distributed those out to the ones who didn't have the new padding. He was so grateful for something that helped so much.  Not only the protection of the padding, but it helped with heat and also aided in the relief of headaches. It was lighter and so much more comfortable.  He truly appreciates the padding and so do the guys who received them. Thank you so much. Proud mom of a Marine


21 Nov 2006 - The fit with the pad is 100% better.  SSgt KE, USAFR


20 Nov 2006 - I installed and used the system in my PASGT kevlar helmet while deployed to Iraq from my last duty station. I was assigned a duty with convoy operations throughout the Baghdad area. (I was there from October 04 - May 05) The helmet upgrade was fairly easy to install and very comfortable - much more so than the original webbing the helmet came with. It was tight and provided a much better fit, I am sure it was a little warmer than the original webbing due to the larger contact area on your head, but the pads were more comfortable than the leather "headband" and did not drip when wet with sweat. I am due to deploy again from my current duty location and hope we get the upgrades for the kevlar's before we leave.  MSgt GB, USAF

Many of us from the 332 CASF in Balad, Iraq are very grateful for the Helmet Upgrade Kits provided during our tour of duty. The issued helmets we deployed with had the basic leather strap system that didn't provide any comfort, nor did it fit on the head properly. The Oregon Aero, system installed fairly easily, and provided a nice snug fit. Plus, the pads are held in by velcro and make it very easy for us to take out and wash. Thank You from the Men and Women of the 332 Contingency Aeromedical Staging Facility.  Capt DM

I just wanted to say how your kit has improved wearing my helmet. I am thankful for people like you who think enough of our great countries fighting men and women. SrA JB

I have had to wear my helmet during three alarm red incidents while fighting wildland fires. The new Oregon pads make it as if I wasn't wearing a helmet at all, with the exception of the weight. I am very thankful for the generosity of Operation Helmet for supporting the troops while serving in contingencies around the world.  SSgt JW, USAFR

This upgrade is a god send compared to the standard k-pot system. Thanks for everything you folks are doing !!!!!  SSgt JW, ANG

The Skydex pad was a outstanding improvement over the standard PASGT system. I would highly recommend an upgrade for deploying troop. You can't go wrong with this kit.  TSgt VG


19 Nov 2006 - I had the old issue leather band system when I shipped over here to Iraq. I received the upgrade from Operation Helmet and it was the BEST gift I have received. I wore my helmet in total comfort every single day. I did sweat a lot (but that may just be me), but I will take that any day over the headaches and pain I would have felt from the old system. Thanks Operation Helmet for making my deployment much better than it would have been.  TSgt DP, USAF


18 Nov 06 - I have worn a normal Kevlar helmet for almost 8 years of service. I have always worn some kind of head cover underneath my Kevlar every time I used it. Now I have a "KEVLAR CONVERSION KIT" and I don't worry about my old head band digging into my head.   I can now wear my helmet for 14 hours without really noticing it is on.  Also, the new chin straps are amazing. They keep my helmet in place even after hitting the ground hard.  SSgt HD, USAF

The system is easy to install, much more comfortable than the standard configuration but due to the size of the pads in the helmet it can be hot. Right now is the winter/rainy season so the heat is not a problem.  TSgt PB, USAF

After many long hours in the old PASGT helmet with and with out the pad system I will only wear one equipped with the pad system. The upgraded pad and chin strap take a while to become accustomed to but it grows on you. The DoD should have retrofitted helmets years ago.  MSgt W, USAF

I contacted "Operation Helmet" only a few weeks before being sent to Iraq. I requested 25 upgrade kits to cover my crew and other squadron members that were deploying. Due to the short notice and current high demand, they were unsure if they could support my small team. With days remaining before deploying, I happily received 25 upgrade kits in the mail. I was so happy to see these upgrade kits come in, considering we would be required to wear our helmets daily while deployed.  I am now in IRAQ, and have been here for 2 full months. We do wear the helmets daily. Let me be the first to say, they are not uncomfortable or too hard. It may not be the pads, it may be the actual size of the helmet that will make the difference. If troops are experiencing a tight fit, they should get a bigger helmet. That is what I had to do. It is so comfortable compared to what the helmet felt like without the upgrade kit. Everyone that I see over here has one. I have not heard anyone say anything negative at all.  Please do not let those select few discourage you from continuing this awesome service and product for us, the troops. It does make a world of difference.  SSgt JT, USAF, IRAQ

I have had to wear my helmet during three alarm red incidents while fighting wildland fires. The new Oregon pads make it as if I wasn't wearing a helmet at all, with the exception of the weight. I am very thankful for the generousity of Operation Helmet for supporting the troops while serving in contingencies around the world. SSgt JW


4 Nov 06 - We received the upgrades and installed them. I cannot thank you enough for your support in getting these to us. The difference wearing the helmet is amazing and much appreciated.  TSgt Peter xxx, ATOC Senior Controller.
 


27 Oct 06 - Here's one recent email about firefighters, EOD teams and engineers repairing damaged runways, etc from mortar attacks.

We are a squadron of Civil Engineering, Air National Guardsman.  We have been deployed to Iraq and have been here for a little over a month now.  One of my Airman ran into someone that had your helmet liner system in his helmet and was able to get us a few more.  So far the feed back on them has been outstanding. They really work with having to wear the helmet most of the time especially when the temperature hits over 100 degrees during the day. Being part of the Air Guard, we don't always get the latest and greatest equipment, actually we usually get the left over's or older items. As the First Sergeant I was wondering if there was any way your company would be will to donate some of your BLSS helmet kits to my Airmen? Please let me know.  We would appreciate anything you can do.


25 Oct 06 - Here's the response we got asking about the plans for the 130,000 newly-purchased helmet upgrades: Please pass the word to your command if deploying. If already in-country, ask the UDM to see if they can holler up the chain for upgrades.

"The AF helmet upgrade kits are being sent to the Expeditionary Theater
Distribution Centers (ETDC) at:
376ELRS, Manas AB, Kyrgyzstan
386ELRS, Al Salem AB, Kuwait
379ELRS, Al Udeid AB, Qatar"

Please contact your Unit Deployment Manager (UDM) for more info.  If you are the UDM and can't get info, please send a note to us and we'll see what can do.


11 Oct 2006 - I just returned from Southwest Asia and I used one of these upgrade kits in my helmet.  [My unit] purchased the kits for all of our troops deploying to Iraq and Afghanistan ... Although I did not use my helmet as much as some of the troops (because of my "plush" location), I have to say the kit makes the helmet much more comfortable to wear (especially for long periods of time and in bumpy HUMVEES).  I was lucky enough not to be in the close proximity of blasts or hit by rounds, so I cannot speak on the kits ability to reduce the shock/blast factor.  My O-6 was jealous of my helmet (and comfort) when we had to travel with them. CMSgt Glenn D. USAF


4 Oct 2006 - Please accept my heartfelt thank you for the BLSS I recently received.  I would ask that you also pass on my appreciation to other members of Operation Helmet for their efforts.  Most people don't understand what a significant difference in comfort and safety that this system provides for our troops, allowing them to remained focused on the task at hand.  I know from experience what a difference it makes, and assure you that as I begin my next tour to the desert I am much better prepared because of your team's focus and dedication.  Thanks so much again and stay the course. Regards, Capt J.W.


02 Oct 2006 - Thank you for this help. Myself and the other 9 personnel in my section will thank you every time we have a mortar attack on our position.  TSgt Peter B


27 Sep 2006 - I have returned to Iraq like many, I have a kit and shared all you sent me last year, however, I have 10 young troops that do not have the kit. Their unit handed some out, but not all got them. We are outside and almost always in our gear.  Thanks SMSgt Mark F


27 Sep 2006 - Thank you in advance for the kits. We are working on a Base in Iraq that is frequently mortared. Some of our personnel deployed with helmets that have used headbands in the them. Thank you so much for the support you give the troops in the field!


11 Sep 2006 - Doc, Local 1709 is the Union at Dover AFB that represents the 1200 civilian employees at the base. We are supplying 15 kits to 15 troops who are going to Iraq from our transportation squadron. We would also like to keep this going on base for all of our troops who are sent over in harms way. Hope to build a working relationship with you, DOC, and your group.  I am personally working with a friend’s son who is in the Marines, going over in a few days to Iraq, to provide kits for his unit. For other than Air Force troops I am trying to set up and acquire donations in the City of Dover DE. to support our troops with kits.

Brent Reynolds, President AFOE Local 1709, Dover AFB, DE
Retired AF Reserves


04 Sep 2006 - Thank you for this service, it means a lot to everyone around here I've talked to. We are driving on multiple trips per day through IED laced streets outside of the protection of the bases, and without up armored vehicles. Anything we get helps out! Capt J., Afghanistan


Thanks from the 407th Air Expeditionary Group's Fire and Emergency Services


28 Aug 06 - Just wanted to say HUGE THANKS for this site, founders, workers, and donors. I am an active duty Air Force member of 11 years getting ready to deploy to Iraq. I have inside padding on an older uncomfortable helmet that was donated to us by [Operation Helmet]. Small things like this go a long way in the hearts of our soldiers, airman, marines, sailors, and other service members. Thanks to this group for its giving heart and for the now COMFORTABLE older style helmet!!! Thanks for your support both myself and my family appreciate it!  TSgt Janette


19 Aug 06 - i just wanted to say thank you for giving us 25 kits for Delaware's ANG deployment. i am currently in Afghanistan and feel much safer with this upgrade. You all should feel so proud of what you are doing......saving lives. thank you and god bless.  SrA. E


18 Aug 06 - I am deploying overseas in two weeks into a hostile environment and I can't afford the full amount right now because my wife needs all my money to get by while I am gone. My helmet type is a PASGT. SrA G.  [He sent $50].


I want to thank you for sending me the helmet upgrade. I’m preparing for another mission and I think that the helmet upgrade will be one less thing to worry about. To see sum of the images I have taken in Iraq, please do a search for [xxx] and you will see some WebPages that are using my images.  Thank you and have a nice day.  SSgt Jorge R, 4th Combat Camera Squadron, March ARB, CA


On August 3rd, 2006, Bill Cashman and I (Dick LaBonte), both Somersworth residents, joined large number of area veterans and civilians in greeting United States Air Force troops upon their arrival at Pease ITP after flying in from Iraq. We spoke with numerous personnel but enjoyed one particular conversation with a First Lieutenant Jennifer S. who had just telephoned her husband. While Jen enjoyed refreshments provided by our veterans, we very much enjoyed listening to her situation in Iraq. We expressed our gratitude for her service, that we were all very proud of her and wished her a happy and healthy future. Following group photos, we all shook their hands in a long line as they boarded their aircraft for departure. Many happy tears were shed as happens every time that we greet the troops.

On August 15, 2006, Lt. Jen S sent the following e mail reply: "Mr. LaBonte, Thank you again for all you have done for us! That was the best welcome home that we have ever received and I know it meant a lot to us all. You seem to have a very motivated bunch of folks up there so I wanted to pass along another initiative I have been pushing - many of our troops suffer head injuries and brain damage from accidents and explosions/ballistic hits because they don't have the proper pads for their helmets. I have been working to tell as many folks as possible about Operation Helmet so that we can provide the required pads to our troops to prevent such injuries and help them get back home safely ... Thanks again for all you do - its an honor to know you and we are proud to have such great folks who have gone before us remember us today. Very Respectfully, Lt Jen S.


01 Aug 2006 - Hello..... This is a really great thing you are doing.....I am deploying in 31 days and I've been doing a lot of training lately in full gear and my squadron doesn't have the funds for the new helmets.... The helmet i have now sucks so pad no padding or anything and it get really painful after you wear it for long periods of time.... I hope i can get my request fulfilled before i go but if not this is a great thing your doing for the troops.....thanx for the support!!!  A1C Samual R....


Jul 24, 2006 - To whom it may concern.  Thank you for the very generous donation of the SKYDEX Retrofit Kit for the PASGT Kevlar!!! I've served for the Air Force going on 21 years and have been through the old steel pots with someone else's dirty leather sweatband wearing it for hours during exercises, then graduating to the newer Kevlar but still they were hand me downs with someone else's dirty leather sweatband in there prior to me. Even when i got replacement sweatbands, the headaches those helmets gave were just short of migraines.  When we received these kits, i eagerly installed mine and found this to be the most comfortable helmet I've ever worn. Wish I could have had something like this a loooong time ago!!! I'm getting ready to field test it when i go to Iraq soon. This should hopefully be my last deployment and if mines not too nasty when I'm done with it, I'll gladly pass it on to the next airman if he/she wants it. Thanks again!  Alan, USAF


21 July 2006

This is simply a quick note of thanks for your support of my squadron. We recently received several boxes of Oregon Aero's incredible Kevlar helmet upgrade kits and quickly farmed them out to our next batch of guys heading off to support combat operations.

We've been almost continuously deployed in support OEF and OIF since September of 2001, and are logically required to wear our protective gear. I'm not sure who designed the Kevlar helmet, but I can guarantee that comfort was nowhere in the equation. I can't even begin to explain the difference in the sheer comfort of my helmet with the upgrade installed. This "BLSS" really DOES "take a load off my mind…" literally!

You've greatly contributed to the overall readiness, safety, and operational capability of America's sons and daughters. Please allow me to add my most sincere and heart-felt thanks for your support, concern, and generosity. I hope this will help our families rest just a little easier knowing that we have the best protection available. Most sincerely and respectfully, Mark L.
 


 07 Jul 2006

You guys rock.  The service and product you provide is incredible. Thanks for getting involved and showing tangible support instead of just sticking a ribbon on your cars and saying you care. You have no idea the elation a soldier airman or marine would feel forward and deployed to get one of your upgrade kits. From me and "us" to you and yours. Thank You!!!

1LT Doug xxxx, USAF


From Iraq June 11, 2006

Thank you!

We received all 50 of the BLSS Kits for our members here.  Also received an additional 10 today.  These and anymore that arrive will definitely be put to good use.  It is our hope to get all of our Unit Members fitted with these essential safety upgrades.   Attached is a picture showing when we opened one of the boxes, along with some cookies sent from home. J

I am the one in the center sitting with the box.  
THANK YOU!

Paul xxxx, TSgt USAF
xxxth Air Expeditionary Group
Fire Department

See the af.mil news story here

 

From Iraq    May 22, 2006

I would like to start by saying THANK YOU for all you are doing to provide the best protection for our troops in Iraq and Afghanistan.  Thank you!  Thank you!  Thank you!  We cannot thank you enough. I have read your web site and understand the situation and would like us to be place on the waiting list.

I am an NCO deployed to Iraq.  We have a Firefighting Unit here containing 47 personnel. If at all possible, could we have 50 BLU kits shipped to us?  Our members are deployed here and respond to IED incidents anywhere South of Baghdad to Kuwait.  Having the ability to upgrade our helmets and improving the safety of these teams would be a valuable asset to our mission.  

We are part of what is called a RAMS TEAM, which stands for RESCUE AIR MOBILE SQUAD.  The Rescue Air Mobility Squad (RAMS) was developed and instituted to meet the need for trained extrication crews to assist airborne medical evacuation crews in the rapid removal of injured personnel from their vehicle as a result of An IED and/or Motor Vehicle Accident (MVA), or an aircraft mishap in a deployed contingency site during the time of war.

The RAMS mission affects all department personnel and is comprised of on-duty firefighters filling line positions in the operational response shift they are assigned to.  There are two distinctly different types of responses made by the RAMS team; Airborne (Fire Flight) via UH-60 Helicopter and 0ver road by HMMWV (High-Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle) to accident sites beyond the outer security perimeter with armed convoy support.  The minimum response force for an airborne Army Med-Evac operation or over road by HMMWV is four firefighters with extrication and patient packaging equipment along with full weapons armament.  Thank you for your time and consideration in this matter.  We look forward to your response. 

Needless to say, we filled his request with the help of the International Association of Fire Fighters providing $5,000. The other teams in Iraq doing the same thing will also be sent the helmet upgrades as funds are available. Brave men and women risking death so others may live!


Jun 10, 2006

Mark and Carla Meaders of OpHelmet with Col K of the 166th Maintenance Group, New Castle ANGB, Delaware Carla Meaders with SrA E showing off some of the 27 helmet upgrade kits Mark Meaders with SrA E of the 166th Airlift Wing, checking out the installed kits

I was channel surfing, saw the Doc on C-SPAN and had to write you. I was issued the helmet insert system while stationed with the Army at LSA Anaconda, Iraq. I am an Air Force Staff Sergeant vehicle maintainer who is very grateful for the system. I was not only more comfortable than what was originally in the helmet, I also saw it as a factor in saving lives. IED's and RPG blasts really shake a person up when inside a vehicle of any type. Our uparmored vehicles did there jobs and kept us safe as we escorted KBR and other green systems around the country, and your helmet inserts where a part of the protection. Knowing that I would be deployed to that area again, I have kept my inserts and will use them again. Thank you for your dedication to us and the men and women of this great Nation.  John D.


4/07/06 For an extremely interesting video of Air Force Medevac, see AF Medevac. When the mortars are detected coming in, these doctors, nurses, team members have to don their kevlars and keep working. We outfit them with the shock-absorbing pads that might save their lives, plus make the helmet more comfortable and stable while they do their wonderful work. Troops we've outfitted have voted to leave their good helmets in-country for their replacements rather than have a safe helmet 'sitting in the closet' at home while the other teams struggle with the old PASGT helmet.

Airmen Fill the Gaps in Wartime
(Los Angeles Times, October 11, 2005, Pg. 1)
Straining to find ground troops to maintain its force levels in Iraq and Afghanistan, the Pentagon has begun deploying thousands of Air Force personnel to combat zones in new jobs as interrogators, prison sentries and gunners on supply trucks. The Air Force years ago banked its future on state-of-the-art fighter jets and billion-dollar satellites. Yet the service that has long avoided being pulled into ground operations is now finding that its people-rather than its weapons-are what the Pentagon needs most as it wages a prolonged war against a low-tech, insurgent enemy.

Any help on the way, AF? We're getting hammered with requests with the latest rotations. Here's one from this week:

4/14/06 Email: Dear Sir or Ma'am, My name Is Airman First Class Dayne PXX and I am currently deployed to Balad Air Base Iraq, I recived your information from our first sergent today and was wondering if you would be so kind as to send me an helmet upgrade also.  I know it might come as some supprise to you that an Airman would be asking for an helmate upgrade, and you are right it is out of the ordenary seeing how I don’t have a job such as Security Forces or Combat Controler, but I am in one of the most over looked, but most important career fields of the Air Force, C-130 Mantiance (Crew Chief).  Some Airman go to work with M-16's or multi-million dollar vehicles and aircraft, but I go to work with my flack vest, helmet, and a tool box.  There are times when we where our gear for over 24 hours due to mortar attacks and such, and this is the reason I am contacting you.  If at all possible I would appriciate it if you could send me one or two upgrade kits if at all possible.  I thank you for your time and for supporting us in all we do.

8/16/05: Email:The Air Crew helmet HGU 56-p is a great helmet to fly with. We are required to also carry the standard PASGT helmet so if we happen to go down we swap our 56-p for the PASGT once on the ground. The PASGT is the helmet we wear day to day when not on the helicopter. SSgt M.   Needless to say, he got his BLSS kit by return mail! Now, let's finish the job with the other SpecOps guys out there in Bad Country!

And another from 8/16/05

Thanks.  I really appreciate the support you are giving the Troops.  Believe me when I say there are going to be some really happy guys wearing comfortable helmets the first time we have to run for a bunker!! Thanks, Bryan LXXXX, SSgt, USAF.

July 18: The Air Force Association came through with $1,000 today, put a story in their email update to 70,000 members and included a  link to Operation Helmet. Now, to pay back Peter (Marines), whom I robbed to initially send helmets to Paul (Air Force), etc. and get all our troops, regardless of service, outfitted appropriately for the dangers they face. Great going AFA!

July 14, 2005: received our first donation that was designated for an Air Force trooper. Helmet upgrade sent out to the specified warrior that day! Good going, guy.

AIR FORCE NEWS: Air Force troops at Balad AB (Mortoritaville) and environs are working under ALARM RED conditions due to daily mortar attacks. They also accompany Army convoys to outlying bases. The troops area asking our help in providing the helmet upgrades we've been supplying Marines and their Navy docs. All of our funds are presently specified by the donors to Marine units or individual Marines. The Air Force Association has made its first donation and included info about us on their email to 70,000 members. Now we can purchase and ship the upgrade kits to individual troops or to units if we can continue to raise the funds.

The Big Sand Box isn't any fun, especially with a constant headache, sores on the scalp, and rather inadequate protection from incoming mortar fire or convoy attacks without this upgrade. Incoming mortar fire and convoy ambushes don't differentiate on the basis of Service branch!

Air Force's Role Changing in Iraq
Associated Press  |  January 03, 2006
AN AIR BASE IN KUWAIT - U.S. airmen are increasingly on the ground in Iraq, driving in convoys and even working with detainees - a shift in the Air Force's historic mission that military officials call necessary to bolster the strapped Army. The main aerial hub for the war in Iraq has 1,500 airmen doing convoy operations in Iraq and 1,000 working with detainees, training Iraqis and performing other activities not usually associated with the Air Force, said Col. Tim Hale, commander of the 386th Air Expeditionary Wing. "Every one of us has learned that we are in a nontraditional state in our armed forces," he said, standing outside an auditorium at an air base in Kuwait.

The dangers of the new roles were highlighted when the expeditionary wing lost its first female member in the line of duty in Iraq. Airman 1st Class Elizabeth Jacobson, 21, was killed in a roadside bombing while providing convoy security in September near the U.S. detention center at Camp Bucca in southern Iraq. "More and more Air Force are doing Army jobs," said Senior Master Sgt. Matt Rossoni, 46, of San Francisco. "It's nothing bad about the Army. They're just tapped out."

 

OFF WE GO INTO THE WILD BLUE........SAND?     Operation Helmet is receiving multiple requests from Air Force troops at  Kirkuk AB, Balad AB and surrounding bases known as Mortarville due to daily 'incoming', averaging 2/day.  As they are in Alarm RED constantly, everyone has to wear their kevlar any time they are outside a hardened structure. They also accompany Army  troops on convoys providing support to outlying Air Bases.

May 31, 2005: Hello from Iraq! I was excited when I found your website only to be semi disappointed after reading through it. I am stationed at Kirkuk Air Base and could really use a BLSS-Ballistic Lining and Suspension System. I read at the end you are not currently sending them to Air Force members. I am sending this anyway as I am hoping if enough need becomes apparent then it will be met. Thanks for helping my fellow service members. Yours,TSgt J NCOIC, Mission Support Systems

AND:

Capt Meaders: We have a small unit that provides radar surveillance used in close air support to army and marine ground troops. There are 8 of us that spend a large amount of our time outside maintaining and repairing the generators and environmental control units that keep the radars spinning. If need be, four would work and we can swap helmets day shift to night shift. Please consider our needs behind those facing attack outside the wire. While we have had quite a few mortar and rocket attacks in my short time here, it’s the guys out there under personal fire that should come first. Please express my gratitude to Mike Dennis for his generosity in supporting our troops. Your brother in arms, James

AND

We are here at Balad AB, Iraq.  We get mortared a lot during the day and running around with the helmets we have are a pain.  If 5 is too many then whatever you can provide.  If there is a way that we can get together and send donations to you, would make us feel better.  I am glad that we have people out there supporting us.  There is a big difference from being here, than being in the states.  Some people don’t realize what we are going through or doing here.  I would enjoy talking to you or Dr. Meaders during my tour here.  It will help time go by faster knowing that there are people out there thinking about us.  I hope he gets out of the hospital soon and I will say a prayer for him and your grandson. Thank you very much from the bottom of my heart.

The latest: 8 August '05. email from the front:

Rush, during WWII, Americans across the country got involved in the conflict for freedom.  Today Americans are engaged in combat for freedom.  I am in the AOR, I have been to Baghdad and stayed in Saddam’s palace and seen the luxury of a dictator while his people suffered in poverty.  We are not fighting Iraqis but terrorist from all over the world,  better to do it here than in the streets of the USA.  During WWII there were bond drives, victory gardens, recyclable drives for metal and rubber, rationing.  As I get ready to return to the states after my tour of duty, I will never forget that while Americans are engaged in combat, life goes on at home.  We get the news here, this is not Vietnam, let your listeners know that we American soldiers, airman, marines and sailors go out of our way to fight only those that want to fight us.  A few weeks ago I was in Baghdad when a soldier was giving shoes and clothes to children; it wasn’t a US soldier but a terrorist that did the drive-by bomb.  Let Jane know that now she has two groups of American vets pissed at her.  5 minutes in the red zone and Hanoi or Al Queda Jane would be crying for a US soldier, her North Vietnam Passport wont work here.  The support we get from family and friends is overwhelming, but I think most Americans want to help the service member here, I recently received several Kelvar Helmet up grade kits from a group of retired military called Operation Helmet, www.operation-helmet.org

They basically collect money and buy the up-grade kits and send them to service members in the AOR, the kits are made by Oregon Aero for about $130s a piece.  I bought mine, but most younger soldiers with families cant afford them.  Operation helmet collects the money and purchases the kits, an American can donate $100 and provide safety and comfort for a soldier, you can give to a specific branch, USN, USMC, USAF or USA, and the organization will send them to the guys on the waiting list.  If you have ever had the chance to wear the helmet, it was designed by a Democrat, because its pain to wear, and they knew that we would hate them.  This kit makes your helmet fit like a football helmet, adding not only safety with a better fit, but comfort and they are cooler.  We wear on IPE almost every day, and sometimes for days without a break, that is every where you do, including to the latrine at 0200 in the am.  For my brothers on the outside of the wire, they never get a break from the Kpot.  I am a 22 year USAF vet, I am amazed at the young Americans that are here are bringing the war to the door step.  This generation has truly become a Band of Brothers.

We appreciate their efforts; I plan to pass info on the organization to as many people back home as possible. Its ok to get soap and candy, but this is a way for those back home to give a service member what they truly need.  We are thankful that Americans such as you step up, in our time of need.

SMSgt Mark Funk, Supt., 332 EMXG Maint Ops Flight, Balad AB, Liberated Iraq

 

There are many more, relating the same story and asking for help. The Air Force ground support, service and security troops are equipped with the same PASGT helmet referred to above. The helmets cause headaches, sores on the scalp, and have to be held in place while running. Plus, they offer less-than-adequate protection from blast forces and large frags should they come whistling their way. Look up Balad AB Iraq on the internet and you'll understand the problem better.

The Air Force troops look with envy at the Army and now Marines (thanks to you generous folks)  with shock-absorbing pad systems in their helmets and have asked for help replacing their old strap suspension systems with the BLSS upgrade kits.  Mike Dennis, CEO of Oregon Aero, had donated a quantity of 'seed' BLSS kits we will send out this week, and the AF troops can share helmets until we can generate enough concern and the bucks to outfit them all.

To: Operation Helmet, My name is SSgt Joseph F. V... a friend told me about your organization and I just had to write. I’m currently deployed to Balad AB, Iraq and am part of a small group. Our group is called Quality Assurance, we provide technical expertise, and conduct maintenance evaluations to ensure that a good product is being used to win the fight. We support a multitude of airframes, F-16s (Block 25, 30, and 40), HH-60s CSAR (Combat Search and Rescue) helicopters, and Unmanned Ariel Vehicles (UAV). From reading some of your other request, you know Balad is also known as Mortaritaville. We are constantly in and out of our body armor. I know my shop would greatly appreciate the comforts of these helmet liners. It makes me and everyone over here feel appreciated when we hear about people who support us and what we are doing here. If 5 is asking for to much than what ever you can provide will greatly be appreciated. Thank you from all of us here in Quality Assurance Balad AB, Iraq.


I?m a squad leader and paratrooper.  I recently had the opportunity to test the BLSS Kit cushioning system in a most unpleasant way. I was involved in a mid-air collision about 50 feet above the ground. When that happened, our parachutes turned in on each other, collapsed at about 30 feet above ground and caused us to fall straight down. I did a rear left parachute landing fall and the force of impact caused my head to slap against the ground on the left.  I was lightheaded for about 30 minutes and was able to jump again the next day.  I have no doubt that your system prevented a more serious injury."   TSgt R.P., USAF