UPDATED JUNE 24, 10:07 A.M.
WASHINGTON --More than 15,000 pairs of ballistic underwear have been issued to Marines serving in Afghanistan, according to the Marine Corps.
Made from "scientifically-tested ballistic silk," the underwear is meant to provide extra protection against roadside bombs, a 2nd Marine Division news story said. The garment is designed to stop small fragments from a blast and prevent sand and other fine particles from getting into blast wounds, staving off potentially deadly infections.
The goal is to give each Marine who regularly goes outside the wire three pairs of the special underwear and one pair each for those who stay on base.
The Corps is also testing a different version of ballistic underwear for Marines whose jobs put them at higher risk of blast injuries. The garment has Kevlar sewn into the silk to protect the inner thighs, colon and groin area and to prevent potentially fatal injuries to the femoral artery.
Ultimately, the Marine Corps hopes to award a contract for 183,000 pair of the special underwear, and that would give Marines deployed to Afghanistan four pair each, said Barbara Hamby, a spokeswoman for Marine Corps Systems Command.