Operation Helmet is now officially ending operations:

Operation Helmet was chartered to respond to requests from troops confronting the enemy ‘outside the wire’ in designated combat zones. Warriors found their helmets so painfully uncomfortable their head armor became a distraction from their mission, or were so painful they would remove them or wear them improperly, even outside the wire. In response, Operation Helmet was formed to meet their expressed needs; we bought and sent free helmet pad upgrade kits that the Soldier’s Lab declared to be ‘the gold standard’ of helmet pads’.  The military, for reasons known only to them, ignored the problem and left our warriors to find their own solution. That’s where Operation Helmet came in.

With our troops being withdrawn from combat zones, Operation Helmet’s Board has decided to close our doors and dedicate any residual funds to other charities serving the military community.

To all hands who have helped us on our mission for the past 17 years, we give a crisp salute and heart-felt thanks.

For further information, contact us at:

The pads we’ve bought and had shipped are found at The specific unit we ‘ve used is the BLU6 military helmet pad set.

At the request of Natick Soldier’s Lab,  Oregon Aero developed helmet pads  that Natick touted as ‘the gold standard’ of helmet pads. These pads were used for the first 600,000+ ACH helmets before the military went cheap with the current pads. While the current GI helmet pads pass the same laboratory tests as those by Oregon Aero, they have proven so hard and unyielding that troops remove pads, take their brain buckets off or loosen the chin strap for pressure relief, severely compromising protection. In addition, The Lawrence Livermore National Research lab found that too-hard helmet pads actually add to brain damage from a blast wave, further adding to the incidence of TBI.

Troops:  Have you let folks higher up in the food chain know about the problems with the current GI helmet pads? When I urge those responsible to undergo a cephalo-rectal extraction they assure me NO complaints are coming in concerning the current politically-inspired helmet pads. Supposed to be NO blowback from doing so.

Now let’s get busy and let those in charge know the problems with the current GI helmet pads!


Over 94,000 helmet pad upgrade kits sent to combat troops to date…
thanks to the Great Americans who have pitched in and help.


USAF-FireProtect-deployed--11Jun06-lores                         pasgt-head-i1                 scout-sniper-1-7USMC-redacted


We are a 100% volunteer, non-partisan, charitable (EIN: 20-1756585) organization headquartered in Montgomery, Texas (near Houston). 

Below we’ve selected a few ‘telling’ emails as to why we kept on doing what our troops ask of us: all requests have been honored, /thanks to our donors

12/16/2020: Kits: 15. Hometown: Destin, Florida. Heard about us: Crusty old man. Duties: EOD SOF Enablers/ Humanitarian demining mission. Current pads: Grey IIF issue, some glued, some sewn, cheap nubuck like texture. Comments: Currently everyone in our small section who is assisting in the Humanitarian demining missing or supporting SOF operations abroad are experiencing discomfort with the issued helmet pads. After only about a half hour, discomfort is apparent from the adjusting and readjusting the men must do to tolerate their helmets. Pressure points are unrelenting, no matter the arrangement of the pads.
A few guys have opted to purchasing expensive kits to supplement IIF pads. This is what we are trying to avoid with your kits, as they come highly recommended.. Sgt, US Marines ( sent out the day we received this request)

7/25/2020: The mortar section received our Oregon Aero pads early into our deployment, and everyone is very impressed with the quality of the pads. Compared to the standard pads in our IHPS helmets, these feel like pillows. The issued helmet pads are too firm and don’t contour to your head well. As a result, a lot of guys take their helmets off when they shouldn’t. Believe it or not, I’ve had a few jokes aimed my way by soldiers who don’t have upgraded helmet pads because I keep my helmet on during mission. I made a deal with my wife that I would, and a comfortable helmet makes it easy. Helmets are thought of as trivial and inconvenient, but they can prevent many injuries and deaths. We all know it, but it’s easily forgotten when you’re in a 105 degree MRAP. Thanks to operation helmet, my section keeps our helmets on, and we’re comfortable in the process. We are so grateful for the donors who made it possible to receive a box full of outstanding helmet pads, shipped to us on a combat deployment nonetheless. Operation helmet is a hidden treasure of a resource for deployed soldiers. Thank you so much. SFC, USArmy

1/22/2020: Duties: Infantry qrf. Current pads: 3m ceradyne. Comments: The current issued pads with the new ihps are way too firm and very uncomfortable, especially the front pad. I talked to my platoon and would like 25 total for our guys. We have all the same conclusion on the issued pads. The currently issued 3M ceradyne pads become extremely uncomfortable. It affects our platoons ability to focus and keep our minds on the mission at hand. We spend a lot of time in humvees and dismounted as well so having a comfortable kit is Paramount. The issued pads do not soften up and dig into our heads, especially the forehead when worn for long periods of time. Thank you again for what you all do. I look forward to seeing a change in issued helmet pads one of these days. SPC. U Army

12/6/2019: Duties: Infantry and Convoy Operations. Current pads: Pad, Helmet Advanced Combat GENTEX CORPORATION. Size 3/4”. M67854-17-D-1221. NSN: 8470-01-546-9356 9U425 LOT TW1558-3. Comments: For our upcoming combat deployment to the Middle East our battalion has been very lucky to have received some of the latest and greatest gear from the Marine Corps. However as most grunts know, high speed new gear usually also means more weight and it has been no exception for us. We’ve received a new heavier night optic system that comes with a thermal attachment and a large battery pack all of which is attached to our Kevlar. Over the course of patrols lasting multiple hours, this extra weight causes headaches and a loss of operational focus as the rigid uncomfortable issued Kevlar pads painfully dig into and rub against heads, focusing weight on certain pressure points instead of evenly distributing it. We are going to an operating environment where success and safety will be dictated by our ability to maintain constant vigilance. As a commander, I want to know that every effort has been made to ensure that my Marines are equipped to rise to that task. I believe that the quality of their gear – especially something as essential as the Kevlar helmet they wear every day, is essential to that effort.. 2ndLt, US Marines

11/21/2019: We will be operating in an extremely cold weather environment.  With the cold weather,  the current pads are very hard, when it gets cold it is almost impossible to get the helmet to fit correctly. My Marines are taking pads out to get the helmet to seat properly on their head.  This greatly degrades the safety of the helmet once those pads are removed, and putting Marines at risk.  My men take them out at the first opportunity and try to avoid wearing them if at all possible.  Our operational area will constantly change during our deployment, I want to ensure that all of my men have the best gear possible to mitigate those safety concerns at all cost.  Thanks for everything, we do greatly appreciate the support for this. GYST USMC

 11/20/19: Comments: I have had numerous complaints from my /oldiers about their helmet pads being too hard or just so uncomfortable they don’t even wear their helmets. I have previously contacted this organization and we recieved enough helmet pads for my platoon and everybody loved them. The troops wear them with no issues or complaints and it even keeps them cooler than the older pads that just reel sweat and allow sweat to drip down their eyes. Shortly afterwards our sister platoon, 2 delta has had many troops request the same helmet pads. This platoon does aviation response force and requires the helmet to be worn for long flights and many people complain about the same issues. I would like to request 10 helmet pad kits for our second platoon. I understand this is volunteer driven and completely run off of donations, and I thank every single person who has participated in this donation because helmet pads are things that you only know of being an issue if you had to suffer with the same old pads. If possible any amount will be greatly appreciated by our two platoons. Thank you!. Sgt, US Army

9/10/2019: Kits: 30.  Duties: Dismounted Infantry Patrolling. Current pads: 3M Ceradyne SPS IHPS (Hard, Rough, Glued). Comments: Issued pads are hard, with little give, and rough. That combination in 100+ degree heat or under NODs is a constant, annoying distractor when Paratroopers need to focus on the ground and possible threats around them. I’ve lived through four generations of helmets, and these pads are worse than any that have come before them.

The biggest thing with the issue pads is the lack of any padding or cushion, especially in the new helmets.  Conducting long night patrols under NODs now gives my people headaches (even the previous generations of pads weren’t this bad), they clearly feel the edges of each pad (particularly the forehead pad) and any impact is transferred directly to the head due to a lack of any sort of suspension system. It’s a blend of comfort (the less a soldier is thinking about what he has on and how annoying it is, the better able he is to focus on his environment) and safety (these were never designed to be safety hardhats, but the lack of any shock absorption poses an increased risk with blast shockwaves pushing the head into something and flying debris) .. CPT, US Army

8/27/2019: The problem at I run into with the standard issue pads is that I have to take some of them out. When wearing my helmet I get headaches from it squeezing my head. As if my head were in a vice and its slowly getting tighter. I’ve tried washing them multiple times to make them softer, and it works for some times, but they always tighten back up into their natural uncomfortable form.  Being Airborne we always have to have pads covering the fasteners on the inside of the ACH so all the pads have to be in. Jumps are especially uncomfortable. Thank you for service and support. I’m awestruck that such a program exists to get upgraded pads. I never even considered that an upgraded existed until a friend recommended your services to me. SGT, US Army…(airborne).

8/24/2019:Many of my Troopers have had an issue with the front and two rear pads having a hard plastic like material in them that resulted in their foreheads becoming cut by the pad itself. The pads in the rear are made of the same material, and the result usually becomes a headache from the pressure to the scalp. This discomfort is resulting in my gunners/drivers to take their situational awareness off of the environment to try and adjust their helmets on the move. I thank organizations like yours that go out of their way to help the soldiers still out here. SSG, US Army (Paratroops).((Afghanistan))

8/15/2019:Comments: We are wearing the IHPS helmets, which I do not think are not on the drop down menu. The current helmet pads we have cause major pressure and comfort issues. They are the standard issued pads and are bulky and do not conduct heat well. When we patrol, the soldiers consistently have headaches and red marks on their heads once we get back to our motorpool. We are outside the wire 12-18 hours a day, in 100+ degree weather and direct sunlight. I am the Fire Support Officer assigned to this Infantry unit, and I try to get as much stuff as possible for these Paratroopers because I am tired of the Infantrymen getting shafted for equipment. Some of the junior enlisted are thinking buying their own pads and I do not think that should be a purchase they worry about. We have been on ground for about a month, and are here for another 8 months. Anything you can send us would be greatly appreciated; packages are the highlight of the soldiers week.. 2LT, US Army

7/9/2019:Doc Bob, Just wanted to give you an update on the packages.  I received both on July 4th and immediately handed them out to my guys.  They were ecstatic to have something that was 100 times more comfy for when they are on Tower Guard for 8 straight hours.  Since then, we have gone on two patrols and the comfort they experienced was night and day.  Many of my Soldiers have said they wish we had these the entire time and are glad to have them now moving forward. From my perspective, the ability to have the same or better level of safety while allowing my men to be more comfortable, allowing them to think clearer and focus on the task at hand is a tremendous improve.  This is a product that I believe should be standard for all Soldiers, Marines, Airmen and Seamen. Thank you very much for the support to our Soldiers and I know moving forward this is a product that I will spend funds on for future Platoons or Companies that I am tasked to lead. 1Lt USArmy

7/1/2019: The helmet pads were received and we have all now had ample time to wear them out on mission. Some of my team members have commented that the pads are “like wearing a pillow”, “they don’t give you that feeling of constant pressure against your head”, and “there are no hot spots”.  In terms of relief experienced from the upgrade, myself and my team members have noticed headache relief, a relief of pressure especially on long extended missions/convoys, and that pain in the neck area has also subsided, possibly due to no longer needing to over compensate for the uncomfortable and painful pads that were once worn. For me personally, the biggest relief is from the pressure. On convoys where we are outside the wire wearing our ACH all day, my head would start to hurt so bad that I would eventually take my helmet off and be unprotected. I no longer do that because I have no need to, my helmet no longer causes me pain. So thank you again for sending us the pads, we are putting them all to good use and truly appreciate it. Take care and thank you again for all that you do for our troops.SPC USArmy

6/23/2019: The Paratroopers just received the pads, and they immediately felt a significant difference in comfort. Many times we will spend hours wearing these helmets while under physical exertion. Having upgraded helmet pads increases comfort and morale for these Paratroopers. More importantly, these pads allow Paratroopers to remain more mentally alert throughout the duration of these operations. The old pads do not conform to the head as well as the upgrades. I cannot thank you and your team enough for your generosity. If there are any updates/feedback in the future from the individual Paratroopers, I will be sure the email you. 1Lt US Army

5/28/2019:Duties: Mortar fires supporting infantry. Current pads: Terrible blue pads. Comments: The blue pads are just terrible and don’t fit my Marines heads right. With these, which I’ve tried, they are not only better fit, they are comfortable (which as you guys know, keeps kevlars on Marines heads longer). I believe in what you do and will be donating as well. Thank you. 1stLt, US Marines

5/24/2019:Duties: Infantry Patrols, PLT FO. Current pads: The Basic Gray Issue Pads. Comments: The current pads are extremely stiff, and especially when wearing Peltors most all of us end up removing components of the system due to head pain. This causes either a decrease in protection or soldier effectiveness. I myself went to only wearing the front and back Trapezoidal pads due to the severe headaches the small rectangular side pads gave me, specifically the front pair. Additionally we have been issued the new IHPS helmet or “High-Cut” (not an opscore.) And the “new” pads issued with that may actually be worse than the old style, as the feel even stiffer and cause even an over sized helmet to ride to high on our heads.. SPC, US Army…and then after receiving the helmet pad upgrade kits we buy and send:

I just wanted to reach out and let you know that the helmet pads arrived. I handed them out to the team and they were a big hit. Additionally the pads work with the IHPS perfectly. From the team and I we just want to let you know how much we appreciate what you’ve done for us. SPC US Army.

5/13/2019: A military forum suggested I contact you when I asked for options for aftermarket helmet pads. Duties: Infantry Patrols, PLT FO.  Comments: The current pads are extremely stiff, and especially when wearing Peltors most all of us end up removing components of the system due to head pain. This causes either a decrease in protection or soldier effectiveness. I myself went to only wearing the front and back Trapezoidal pads due to the severe headaches the small rectangular side pads gave me, specifically the front pair.
Additionally we have been issued the new IHPS helmet or “High-Cut” (not an opscore.) And the “new” pads issued with that may actually be worse than the old style, as the feel even stiffer and cause even an over sized helmet to ride to high on our heads.. SPC, US Army 

01/04/2019: The helmet pads you sent us has really made a positive impact. Immediately, my Marines noticed the difference in comfort. We have conducted a few operations with the new gel pads in. The Marines no longer have headaches and they said they barely noticed that they were even wearing their helmets. We no longer feel the need to constantly adjust our kevlars and the effects of fatigue have been mitigated. I really appreciate the support you have provided. Your pads have improved the quality of life for us while outside the wire. GYSGT, USMC

12/18/18: Doc, We just received these helmets (and GI helmet pads) on our way out the door to Afghanistan. After the first couple missions, the Marines were complaining of headaches and migraines. Also, while operating, the Marines become OCD about constantly adjusting their Kevlar due to how uncomfortable the pads are. Trying to acquire better pads has always been a fight in the Marine Corps. Whenever you mention how uncomfortable the helmet padding is, you always get a reply such as “Well you just need to break them in.”, or  “What do you expect? They work good enough.”. I have another conversation with “higher” and the logistics officer, however, small things like helmet pads are usually low priority in this type of environment.

As we continue to tighten the budget across the DOD, we are always embroiled in a battle between the cost of gear and supplying better equipment for the individual Marine. I have seen on many occasions contracts get kicked to the lowest bidder of a cost of a few cents per item, usually for a much lower quality product. It takes an enormous amount of “red tape” cutting to convince higher authorities that one piece of gear works better than another. At the end of the day, if I can get a piece of gear in my guy’s hands for them to be more proficient or reduce fatigue, then it is a win. Thank you for what you do, and I’ am grateful for your support. GYSGT, USMC

2/15/18: Heard about us: Battle buddy. Duties: Artillery. Current pads: Currently have standard issue pads, hard and solid…. Comments: The problem with the current GI pads are that they are too solid and squeezes Joe’s heads. During pre-mobe training my soldiers were complaining about the pads and how it gives them headaches, and I can’t afford these thing overseas as we conduct missions.. SGT, US Army (HInt: Off-target artillery rounds due to severe headaches are frowned upon)

12/13/18: Duties: Infantry. Current pads: Grey issued pads. Comments: Operation resolute support the current pads we have are hard so they tend to give us headaches while we are out the wire. It makes the helmet loose no matter how tight you tighten it which than makes not only makes it unsafe by not staying on your head but when you use night vision since the pads are so hard it makes the helmet come forward which then makes the night vision device sit around your cheek instead of your eye so than your focused on trying to make sure the helmet is staying steady on your head instead of the mission in general. SGT, US Army

10/1/1/18:. Heard about us: User testimonials via Oregon Aero. Duties: Advising. Current pads: NSN: 8470-01-546-9356; the generic grey ones with glued seams. Comments: Our team will be operating in close proximity to our ANA counterparts and local nationals conducting TFSW’s Train, Advise, Assist mission as part of NATO’s Resolute Support Mission Afghanistan. Due to our exposure outside the wire nearly every day our biggest threats are VBIEDs and IDF, which makes our PPE critical. I’ve read the testimonials and felt the comfort of these pads in my old helmet (we’ve since upgraded to the ECH) and believe they’re amazing and would like the team to be outfitted with as many of these as possible. We just got on deck here and will be here until summer 2019. The old pads are so uncomfortable that one TTP that’s been adopted is that we cut a cross pattern into the pack of the pad to get it to conform to the head just a little bit better.. I saw the link on the website about how to file formal feedback with “higher” and it’s on my to-do list.  To expound upon the current pads, they freeze in cold temps (not even freezing, but less than 50 degrees Fahrenheit, they turn hard as rocks), they itch something fierce and I’m not a big fan of taking my helmet off just to scratch an itch in an area where people may want to shoot at me (so I usually end up hitting my Kevlar several times to make the itch go away).  Further, if I have to physically damage something to make it work better (re: me cutting a cross into the back of my pads), there’s a problem.Captain, US Marines

10/3/2018: Kits: 30. Hometown: Rural Hall, NC. Heard about us: Aaron Agee, Daniel Kargbo. Duties: Infantry. Current pads: Standard issue grey Marine Corps pads. Comments: Many of my Marines experience headaches during continuous operations. As the Platoon Sergeant I understand the importance of wearing full PPE at all times. Unfortunately many of my Marines take any opportunity they can to remove their helmets for comfort. I understand how vulnerable they are at that point and we will soon be in a kinetic environment and no longer that of training. I hope to provide them with the best gear I can in preparation. Our flights are just around the corner. SPMAGTF.. Sergeant, US Marines

9/9/18:Duties: Infantry. Current pads: Grey issued bricks. Comments: These are for my JTAC teams who go on the vast majority of patrols and convoys as part of our upcoming deployment. Not only are these helmets so uncomfortable that my guys are taking them off at every opportunity but we are trying to fit headsets under the ECH as well. Anything that can help is greatly appreciated. CAPT, USMC.

8/29/18: Duties: Infantry QRF. Current pads: Gray ones that feel like rocks. Comments: The current pads cause headaches and pain. I am constantly telling my guys to put their kevlars back on because they take them off every chance they get to escape the pain. I am looking forward to getting these new pads so my guys are not always taking them off.. Sgt, US Marines

3/1/19:The current pads are hard as a rock and uncomfortable to wear for extended periods of time, as well as never seeming to break In and the smell they seem to hold on to from sweat. Something as simple as increasing the comfort to your head cuts down on headaches,pressure points and the constant need to adjust your helmet around.  And this helps marines to be able to focus on observation and the task at hand rather than having pains caused by a PPE that will save your life. The numbers I requested are for the marines that do patrols, QRF, guardian angels and other tasks required outside the wire. SSgt, USMC

3/30/18: Duties: Training the afghan army to win their war. Current pads: Pad, Helmet, ACH. Comments: When we operate in the cold, we have to build a fire just to warm up the pads so they aren’t painfully pressing against our head. We wear the bare minimum of padding during our operations. One guy almost lost his helmet because he loosened the straps just to relieve the pressure during a convoy.. Sergeant, US Army

1/18/18: Duties: IED Sweeping, Airfield Damage Repair, Security, Patrols. Current pads: Standard issue, Team Wendy Pads. Comments: While training for the Special MAGTF my Marines often have pain from the standard issue pads after wearing their helmets for long amounts of time. When my Marines should be concentrating on detecting IEDs at the front of a patrol, it can be deadly if all they are thinking about is when they can take their helmet off.. Sgt, US Marines

1/15/18:First and foremost, thank you for reaching out as quickly as you did. I was blown up twice 2011, and once in 2012 in Afghanistan and received a TBI, and head trauma from each blast. A majority of my job in the fleet is explosives, and I’m generally within close proximity of blasts or over pressure from blasts, to counter head injuries, concussions or unconsciousness from blasts or over pressure an SOP we teach and ensure is happening is to keep the mouth open and tuck the head down when you see the blast waves approaching.The entire Corps is aware of the issues these pads (and other gear) cause, but you know the military, they get their gear from the lowest bidder, regardless of quality, comfort, or effectiveness in battle. The current issued pads do not let the wearer tighten the Kevlar straps all the way, or wear the Kevlar properly, and cause severe head and neck discomfort while wearing properly (fastened tightly).  To combat said discomfort most troops use some sort of beanie, sleeve from a skivvy shirt or a bandana on the head to reduce the amount of pressure to the head. I currently use the bare minimum amount of pads in my helmet (4). For MARSYSCOM, I will launch a complaint immediately. MARSYSCOM does “extensive” research and “battlefield” testing of all the gear we are issued in the fleet, but the results of those tests usually don’t make it back to the fleet. I have a battalion Executive Officer (Major) who was a young Capt at MARSYSCOM, and I believe he could be the one to make the necessary and educated complaint. I will work with him and see what I can accomplish on my end to see if these pads can be a replacement issue for those like myself who are constantly in direct contact with blast waves or over pressure. I sincerely appreciate you and your mission, thank you for what you and your company do. In 9 years I have seen the quality of gear increase exponentially, but some minor improvements are still necessary.

1/1/18:HQ Element for an infantry battalion: QRF, security, presence patrols, tactical convoys. Current pads: Issued gray 3/4″ Ceradyne pads. Comments: My battalion is leaving for Afghanistan next month. Personally, I have never been able to get my ACH to fit well with the issue pads, and I have suffered recurring headaches, hotspots, and discomfort after wearing it for extended periods. Because of this I have a bad unconscious habit of unbuckling or removing my helmet at every opportunity. This is not a problem stateside, but definitely is while in theater. I know many of my peers have similar complaints. I found your service through a google search while looking for better pads, and I am ordering for my HQ section (just those who potentially do more than sit behind a desk). I will be sure to pass on your info to the rest of the unit. Thank you so much for everything you do, this is literally a life-saver.. SGT, US Army

11/16/17Kits: 30. Hometown: Kentucky / Alaska. Heard about us: Google Search for better helmet pads. Duties: Mounted and Dismounted Infantry, Base Defense, QRF. Current pads: Ceradyne Grey Glued Basic Issue Pads. Comments: The issued pads that we received are extremely stiff and cause our helmets to sit higher than intended. Most of the Soldiers in my Squad have resorted to removing some of the pads to get a better fit and relieve head pressure, sacrificing blast protection. The basic issue helmet pads are garbage and need to be replaced with a better solution. Ballistic Helmets are effective, but only if the Soldier is comfortable enough to wear it without pain.. SGT, US Army

10/20/17: Heard about us: Sniper buddy from 2nd Batt. 3rd Marines. Current pads: Shrink Wrapped Rocks. Glued. Grey. Ones black. All the words are worn off.. Comments: My issued pads are starting to rub my hair out of my head but more so I get headaches and would almost rather risk getting hit/possibly shot in the head. I can’t focus with a headache this intense.. Sgt, US Marines

10/14/17:Kits: 70.. Heard about us: A friend on base showed me your pads.. Duties: Daily route clearance patrols detecting explosive hazards on roads.. Current Pads: Standard ACH/ECH Govt issue light green. Comments: Current Govt issue pads cause too much pressure when worn for 6-8 hours at a time on patrol. Makes Soldiers want to take off their protective helmets outside of the wire which is a big no no. But of you don’t make an adjustment you’ll have a raging headache after mission. Getting as many kits as allowed would be great for my Soldiers, a small reward for the risks that I ask them to take every day.. CPT, US Army

9/20/17: Duties: Infantry, patrols, QRF, BDOC. Current Pads: Standard issue ACH pads. Comments: The biggest problems my squad faces with our current ACH pads are pain and discomfort. Which forces us to want to take our ACHs off at every opportunity. Also with our current pads the ACHs don’t fit very well and this is especially true when wearing NVGs. Having an upgraded set of pads in our ACHs will make my squad more combat effective in a multitude of ways. Thank you guys for all that you do it is all greatly appreciated.. SSG, US Army

9/14/17: Duties: Sniper Assistant Team Leader. Current Pads: Issued gray, rock hard ones. Comments: Where do we start? The pads turn to stone in the cold, lose any spinginess once you sweat in them, and just cant fit your head properly whatsoever. Need more comfortable pads so when you sit in a hide for 72 hrs you don’t get a headache from the pressure points. LCpl, USMC

8/18/17: Duties: We will be doing force protection, patrols, etc.. Current Pads: CIF/basic issue. Comments: Basic issue pads do not fit everyone as well as they should. Headaches are common. This causes soldiers to remove their helmet often and in situations when they need the protection. The issued pads are very hard and often times do not mold well to the soldiers heads. This causes the helmet to move around or when fitted with NVGs they cause even more discomfort. During night time ops this is a serious problem.. SSG, US Army

7/13/17: Duties: Infantry. Current Pads: Cif issued. Comments: The pads we currently have cause major headaches and sore heads. My marines were standing post last deployment and most will be going back to that. They all have complained of having to take their helmets off while on post which we all know isn’t safe or what you are supposed to-do while standing. I’m trying to get a few marines of these for the marines so I can take to our company commander and show they are better and hopefully get purchased for our whole company. Sgt, USMC.  I have informed my 1stsgt and my plt commander, it all falls back to the old marine corps saying like tough up or don’t be such a bitch…but when the truth is I’ve been in for over 9 years and never had an good helmet pads, notice they were really terrible after my 1st deployment hitting a few ieds my head would bang around in my helmet. I’m hoping this would be something I can show works and is helpful and benefits the marines in the long run.

7/19/17:Kits requested: 190. Hometown: Heard about us: Fellow officer in the battalion. Your pads are a night and day difference. Make wearing kevlar with NVGs for eight hours bearable.. Duties: Deploying on 31st MEU, Okinawa Japan, conducting patrolling operations in the Pacific to Include Australia, South Korea and other Pacific countries (TBD). Current Pads: Issued gray pads. Stiff, uncomfortable, fail to break-in and conform to the individuals head.. Comments: I apologize I could not articulate in the above line about the “current pads.” I was lucky enough to receive a pair of your pads that a fellow officer ordered for his platoon. The difference is night and day. With the issued Kevlar pads from the Marine Corps, clearly the inferior quality pads that are stiff and uncomfortable. There is always a degree of discomfort in full kit and Kevlar helmet, but add hours of continuous wear along with the weight of NVGs at night, the current pads fail to alleviate the pain, but rather, enhance it. The Oregon Aero pads are the opposite. They are durable, comfortable, and help conform to your head. I want everyone who wear a Kevlar helmet to wear these pads. Not one person I have talked to has given Oregon Aero pads a negative review. Thank you for what you are doing. It is humbling to see individuals and organizations that provide such unselfish support and services.. 1stLt, USMC

4/30/17: Request: 30 pad kits: We are currently using the team wendy/Ceradyne pads right now. Despite the Army’s push for better helmets (ECH) we all have the Team Wendy/Ceradyne pads that cause massive headaches and discomfort. Our current situation has us wearing NODs for long periods of time and the discomfort they cause takes away from the situational awareness we’re required to have for our mission set. 3 years ago I deployed to Afghanistan and someone had ordered your pads for us and I can’t tell you how much more combat effective it made us/brought up our morale. Unfortunately, after 4 years, the pads have been destroyed.  We’re currently operating at high altitudes and the last thing we have to think about is how bad our head hurts while our lungs and legs are screaming at us on a patrol. It would be awesome if your organization could help us out, and I know it’d bring joy to all the soldier’s within my platoon. Thank you in advance, a Paratrooper who will always use the pads you provide us soldiers until I’m forced not to do so.. SGT, US Army
4/5/17:  In regards to higher ups knowing about our problems with the current GI helmet pads, our commander is most definitely aware, as he is exceptionally disappointed in the fit of his helmet.  We are working with Supply, but they were clear in that they could not order different pads, and the ACH shell sizes are limited.  It is frustrating to be fighting a battle about PPE (personal protective equipment) when our focus should be on the mission and our imminent deployment. Captain, USAF. 

3/31/17: . Duties: EOD operations. Current Pads: Grey, hard, military issue. Comments: Wearing our Kevlar for an extended period of time during certain operations that require the utmost of concentration can be taxing, especially with uncomfortable kits. Also, being that we relate closely with explosives, having a higher quality of pad would increase our protection from TBI.. Sgt, USMC

2/13/17: I was purging through my old emails and I found this gem, I cannot remember if I wrote you back at the time to thank you for sending me the helmet pads. I wanted to take a moment and let you know how much it meant to me. I cannot express how grateful I am that I received those pads, they made all of the difference in the world on deployment and even though it has been 3 years they still hold tough. They have done so well in fact that I still wear the brand to this day and recommend them to any soldiers that let me know they have issues. They have helped me to always focus on priority one “the mission” rather than getting distracted by standard issue ones that can make it near impossible to even put on your helmet when the temperature drops enough. Again I am sorry for the late response however I thought it imperative to remedy this and thank you personally for the assistance you gave me. I wish you the best.

2/1/17: “I am the Company Commander with xxx 2/1. First off I want to thank you for the support you have shown to us over the years. Just prior to our last deployment you outfitted our unit with helmet pads. The difference you have made is immeasurable. As the Vertical Assault Unit for 2nd Battalion 1st Marines my guys are often at the tip of the spear
either in country or with the MEU. Recently we have spent a good deal of time supporting operations in Yemen and the 5th Fleet. Although we were fortunate not to have had any of my Marines shot in the helmet, we did have
one Marine fall during fast roping from about 35 feet and hit his head on the flight deck (solid steel surface) and another Marine was hit by the tailgate of a 7 ton truck which weighs about 60 lbs. In both cases neither Marine received any injury and I can guarantee it is due to the direct help you offered us. I am eternally grateful for what you do. I am sure there are other instances that occurred that I am not aware of as well as the additional secondary impacts of reduced amount of headaches, migraines, etc. when having to have a Kevlar or ECH on your head while on patrol or conducting defensive operations for days at a time. Currently, we are due to rotate again soon and over the past 2 years we have had over 70% rotation in forces with Marines getting promoted and going to different duties, as well as new guys coming to the unit after graduating Infantry Training Battalion. We inventoried all of the Marines that received your helmet liners from the original 200 you provided us and identified that we are 70 units deficient. Even though we have been advertising to the Commanding General, Battalion Commanders, and anyone else that will listen the guys are still being issued the inferior gray cardboard filler type pads.

Dec 21 2106:Duties: Infantry Mortars. Current Pads: Gray standard issued pads. Comments: Almost immediately putting my kevlar on I get headaches can’t concentrate effectively. I would like to get a kit and 3 more for the guys under me complaining about the same issues.. Cpl, USMC

July 22, 2016: 7/20/2016: Duties: PSD (Personal Security Detail), convoy, air flights. Current Pads: Green pad, glued, NSN 6470-01-546-9356. Comments: The issued green helmet pads provided to our small team are causing headaches, discomfort, and are causing distractions by having to adjust the ACH all the time. The green pads make the ACH unreliable to our mission.. SGT, US Army. 

5/30/2016: Heard about us: Friend. Duties: Infantry. Current Pads: Pad, Helmet advanced combat, grey, hard pads. NSN 8470-01-546-9407. Comments: These current pads that were issued with our ECH’s (enhanced combat helmets) are hard they hurt and apply unwanted pressure on our heads. Each patrol we go on my soldiers are focused on the pain they are in from the pads we currently have.. SGT, US Army. Damfools in the Army sending spiffy new helmets, keeping the same crappy pads that distract troops from their missions, increasing the chance of death or disability.

6/15/2016: Duties: Infantry. Current Pads: Shitty ones that come standard. Comments: They’re uncomfortable, most of the soldiers in my squad can’t even concentrate on the mission at hand; because they’re too busy trying to get relief on their foreheads or the backs of their heads. Just want everyone in my squad to be comfortable and focused. SPC, US Army

4/21/16: The pads extremely easy to install and fit perfectly in the Advanced Combat Helmet (ACH). Immediately after you put the new pads in the helmet, you are able to realize the difference in comfort and functionality. So far, we’ve used the new pads on 6+ hour long outside the wire foot patrols, ruck marches and countless mounted patrols. The difference in comfort and functionality is night and day. The material the pads are made out of is a lot more comfortable and allows a snug yet stable fit to the users head. Using the standard issue pads causes some irritation which causes a lot of users to take off their ACH after prolonged periods of time. When this occurs, it causes a distraction from mission and leaves the user at risk to a potential Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI). We are deeply appreciative of this new equipment and after testing it in the field, all the members on my team swear by these new pads. Using these pads allows us to focus on the mission and not the discomfort of the ACH. SPC, US Army

4/11/2016: Duties: Infantry, patrols, air assault, convoy. Current Pads: Standard issue. Comments: As a squad leader I need my guys at 110% all the time. Having said that a lot of them always ask to remove their helmets due to headaches or discomfort (pad pain) while wearing it for long durations. I’m one of those that get the headaches so I know they’re not just saying it to get the helmet off. I want to provide my guys with the best gear there is. I feel like helmet pads are often over look but they play a critical role in the overall wellness of soldiers.

April 8, 2015:Today I had a nice chat with death, he said he would try again later.  A sharpshooter (for the other team..) took aim at my head, if I didnt have the padding system installed that you provided for me I may have been knocked unconscious from the force of the round impacting my helmet. He hit my ammo supply with another round, I ran out of usable ammo and resorted to my sidearm to clear his friends. I was only slightly disoriented, and a ringing headache. Thank you always doctor. Unfortunately, I had to turn in my helmet for a new one. I lost the padding system as well. The research department was VERY adamant that I left everything inside the way I had it when the incident happened. I had to tell you about this. You saved many lives out of a seemingly simple donation.Thank you –XRecon

12/15/2014: Afghanistan: We wear our ECH (Enhanced Combat Helmet) every day for 12 plus hours at a time. They are causing my guys to have headaches and they are constantly adjusting their helmets. This is detracting a significant amount of attention from security. Security is what keeps us alive. We cannot afford to have even a few seconds of distraction from this. We would really appreciate it if you would send us some better equipment so that my men could stay more focused on the mission and less occupied by unsatisfactory equipment. Thank you so much.

Email from Afghanistan 8/15/2014: Being the small team we are, everyone has their part. For example Some of the staff officers are gunners and or drivers. Adjusting the helmet in any situation could be detrimental to the mission, especially for reaction time on the roadway with traffic. We travel through a city multiple times a week to get to our destination for advising. The people here put the drivers in New York City to shame. Headaches caused by pads can have a chain reaction effect that could be dangerous to the personnel in the vehicle as well as the ones outside. It is not easy to maneuver or stop one of these MAT-V’s on a dime if there is an issue or a distraction of a adjustment needed due to a headache caused by the pads. Let alone the incapacitation of a soldier if the pain is that severe to migraine level that they can’t complete the mission. I actually am the main CROW gunner for the team controlling the .50 so we do a variety of tasks. O-5, USArmy

2/14/2015:  Our wish has came true, We cannot thank you enough for helping us become more mission effective, it is only us out here most times, we do not have much down time to spend talking with our families or loved ones. Morale was at an absolute low, but thanks to the efforts of yourself and people like you- now we are excited again. Something to finally look forward to other than canned food,an MRE or what little sleep we can get between rocket attacks and pop shots of assault rifles. As a team leader I want to personally thank you for allowing myself and my men get the equipment needed for upcoming mission successes. People like you are the reason we get up in the morning on time, all we as soldiers hear about is how bad things are becoming stateside, but you have given us hope.”Hawk2″ And the entire Reconnaissance Platoon of Hawk Recon 2-327

8/13/2015: From a Marine LT being deployed, when asked why the ‘higher ups’ won’t understand the need for better helmet pads: 

“I am an infantry officer and fully appreciate the need for better pads. I see my Marines taking their hands off their weapons and playing with their kevlars (helmets) all the time, and the first chance they get to pop tops, they take it. The bottom line is the people who make these decisions don’t wear our gear, and don’t patrol and stand post in 100 plus degree weather so they write off the complaints as standard bitching (excuse the language). They know that we will always find something to complain about, which is true. As a result, they look to what they know; American sentiment is very casualty adverse, and the ridiculously uncomfortable and burdensome PPE (personal protective equipment) we wear minimizes severe trauma. They cannot quantify the argument that discomfort equals lax security, degrades endurance and speed with respect to the enemy. They can’t quantify that with all the PPE we are forced to carry X lbs of water extra to account for exhaustion and heat which then slows us down more.. There are too many variables. “