Why our warriors have to ask for help or else buy their own combat equipment

9/15/2016: “Dr. Meaders, Our leadership has been informed that we are fielding unsuitable equipment, but due to the tight fiscal considerations and inexplicable racking and stacking of purchase requests resulting in new office furniture over deployable assets, in the past the requests have fallen on deaf ears. We have recently had a rather large change in command with the mindset of the new regime keen on improving the warfighter capability. However, to an individual who isn’t privy to wear of operational battle gear, certain equipment requests sound (at least without further research) a little bit pedantic. I have the good fortune of taking our commander out on our next op to better illustrate the shortcomings that we are experiencing and gain some backing for future requests for critical equipment. Though I can say that we have excellent leadership who make every attempt to properly equip us, there is not always the opportunity to get one-on-one with the individual who can approve a request without needless routing through the channels where things become lost or rejected with no response. As such, requesting new helmet pads in the past has been met with the response “if your pads need replaced take them to supply and get new ones issued” which only means replacement with the standard USGI pads completely missing the actual reason behind the request.

I feel as if I am able to demonstrate in person the difference in the performance of the upgraded pads that they will receive the proper prioritization when funds allow for unit funded purchase requests during the FY. Not only will the commander receive some time in the standard USGI equipped helmet, your site has equipped me with the “punch test” demonstration that I will be able to field for him and the test data that you provide regarding flame resistance and comparison of available helmet pads. There is an unintentional ignorance amongst leadership to issues like this due to a lack of subject matter knowledge, I honestly believe that leaders want to do the right thing for their troops but often the proper evidence is not able to be levied demonstrating a clearly superior product available on the market.

I applaud your dedication to a matter that saves lives daily and allows myself and my fellow service members to return home to our families when our mission has been completed. You are a true philanthropist to contribute the effort and capabilities that you have to a under-served but critically important part of life at war. Thank you. Sincerely, SSgt xxxxxxxxxx W. USAF”