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