Shock-reducing helmet pads OK'd for Marines
Stars and Stripes August 4, 2006
ARLINGTON, Va. — Marines heading downrange can now request the same impact-resistant helmet padding that soldiers wear, said Scott Adams, of Marine Corps Systems Command.
Marines are expected to start arriving in theater with the padded inserts within the next 30 to 45 days, said Adams, who works for the program manager for Infantry Combat Equipment.
Those already in the field will have pads ordered for them by the Corps.
But a Marine Corps administrative announcement also says the Defense Logistics Agency has a shortage, and is backlogged on orders for the padding inserts.
Marine officials are looking at “alternate sources of supply: for the padded inserts, according to MARADMIN (Marine Administrative Message) 362/06.
For more information, go to: www.usmc.mil and click on MARADMINS.
The move follows a Congressional hearing in June, where lawmakers grilled Marine Corps officials about why more than 6,000 Marines had turned to a private charity for the helmet padding.
Soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan already have padded helmets, which Army researchers say provide better protection against head trauma.
After the June hearing, the Marines looked at their data on padding and found that padded helmets provide the same level or protection against ballistic threats, such as 9 mm rounds, and may provide extra protection against blunt force trauma under certain circumstances, Adams said.
But the impetus for giving the Marines the opportunity to choose between padded and standard-issue helmets has to do more with comfort rather than protection, Adams said.
“It’s a preference. It depends on the individual. Some people feel the pads feel more comfortable against the head,” Adams said.
Units in theater will requisition pads for Marines who want padded helmets, he said.
“The Marine Corps will procure the pads and the Marine Corps will install the pads in the helmet for the Marine, because we need to make sure the helmet is fitted properly on the Marine’s head,” Adams said.
It is unknown how many Marines will request pads for their helmets, he said.
“The Marine Corps will procure enough pads to make sure that any Marine who wants pads gets pads in their helmet,” Adams said.
Dr. Bob Meaders, founder of Operation Helmet, commended the Marines on Wednesday for their “rapid response to a perceived need of the troops.”
Meaders’ organization raises money for troops to buy the padded inserts for their helmets.
As of Wednesday, Meaders said his organization would refer Marines to their supply department for padded helmets.
“If they wind up in theater without them, we’ll still respond as quickly as we can,” said Meaders, a former Navy corpsman.
He said his group will continue to raise money for troops that do not yet have the padded helmets, such as Navy Seabees.
“We’re not completely out of the woods as of yet,” he said.