Operation Helmet Factsheet

Traumatic Brain Injury is still the number one cause of death or disability in our warriors stationed in Afghanistan


Make a Donation PLEASE...we're down to the bottom of our sparse bank account and troops in combat are waiting your/our help. If everyone waits for 'someone else' to do it, it won't get done. YOU and I are that 'someone' and we appreciate your help.

See the emails below for our warriors heartfelt requests for your help. We redact name and unit for Operational Security...and to prevent back-blast from the Pentagon, everything else is unchanged except the occasional deletion of expletives.

ß Click on each Service (on the left) to see email excerpts specific to that branch.

Request your kit here (Only troops going outside the wire, in Afghanistan, please)

Make a Donation  (Tax Deductable)...Please help us shake the money trees. Feel free to ask clubs, leagues, schools, churches, companies you may work for, etc. for donations as well.  BY the Way : you can designate Operation Helmet to receive a portion of your purchase cost on Amazon by going to the AmazonSmile website and designating Operation Helmet as your preferred charity.

The IRS only requires a confirmation/receipt if the amount is $250 or greater. For donations less than $250, your cancelled check or bank statement is sufficient for the Government. ALL donations will be acknowledged by email if your email address is included...takes seconds to do.  I'd love to be able to answer each of the hundreds of letters we get and shake your hand...know I've read each and every note and Thank God for patriotic and generous Americans.
PS: Sometimes I can't read the return address or mis-type it and the letter comes back. I'm sorry, and if you don't get the required 'receipt in a reasonable time, please email or write me and I'll resend.

Combat is NOT over and will extend until at least the end of 2014...and beyond.

Even then, the US will have troops in-country and exposed to danger as they train and lead Afghan Army and Police into action.

As of May, 2014, there are still 37,000 US troops in Afghanistan



OPERATION HELMET provides helmet upgrade kits free of charge to troops in Afghanistan and other dangerous areas, as well as to those ordered to deploy in the near future. These helmet upgrades do four primary things:
  • Protection - Shock-absorbing pads keep the helmet from slapping the skull when hit with blast forces, fragments, or being tumbled along the ground or inside a vehicle. Keeps blast-wave from transmitting flexure of the Kevlar shell directly to the skull via too-stiff pads. This decreases the chance of brain injury from IED's, bombs, RPG's, vehicle accidents, falls, etc.
  • Comfort - If it is comfortable, it will stay on troop's head longer and more often.
  • Stability - Keeps the helmet firmly on the head and out of the eyes.
  • Durability – Doesn’t need to be replaced after one month of wear – hard to do when at a Combat Outpost or Forward Operating Base an eternity from a logistics supply point.
  • Operation Helmet doesn't design or manufacture helmet pads, just identifies and buys the best ones we have found that meet operational as well as protective needs of combat troops and have been proven in service by US troops, then send the helmet pad kits free to requesting troops 'outside the wire'.

Mailing address:
Operation Helmet
c/o Dr. Bob Meaders                  Donate by clicking this link:    Make a Donation
74 Greenview Street
Montgomery, TX 77356
                Email: ophelm@operation-helmet.org

Telephone
: 936-449-9706. Answered gladly 8AM-5PM CST
Monday through Friday (sorry, English only)  Reluctantly answered before and after... (this is our home phone also, but if you think it's an emergency, go ahead and call at other times)

We are a 100% volunteer, non-partisan, charitable organization headquartered in Montgomery, Texas (near Houston) with volunteer operations around the country.  99.96% of all contributions are used to send upgrade kits to our troops!  We have less than one-half of one percent overhead which is used to for very limited expenses related to bank charges or resending upgrade kits that didn't reach the addressee. This is a labor of love.  We have no salaries or payroll. Doc Bob covers all office expenses.



Blast-wave induced flexure ('ripple" of the seemingly rigid skull and helmet shell causes brain injury, made worse by the additive effect being transmitted to the underlying brain by too-firm helmet pads...SEE DOC BOB'S BLOG FOR IMPORTANT INFORMATION ON HELMET PAD PROBLEMS,

Skull Flexure from Blast Waves- A New Mechanism for Brain Injury with Implications for Helmet (and Helmet pad) Design 

Please remember our troops EVERY DAY. Join with your fellow Americans and

Make a Donation:

AND NOW EXCERPTS OF EMAILS FROM THE FRONT LINES

(Not from 'desk warriors' in their air-conditioned foxholes !) 

  • See also Service sections (on left: US Army, USMC, etc) and Doc Bob's BLOG

     


12 July 2014: : I'm the logistics manager for my engineer unit. Though I do not specifically need these as most of my work this tour is from an office, the number one complaint I'm receiving from my engineers is the horrible army issued helmet pads. However, due to the draw-down, requisitioning of items has become quite the hard thing to do over here in Afghanistan. Due to the scope of work, my engineers are required to wear their ACH for hours on end with little to no time for relief. As their logistics manager, there is nothing worse then seeing a valid need/request of my Soldiers and not be able to fulfill that request because of requisitioning back-logs or red tape. I have engineers all over the southern half of Afghanistan. Any assistance in helping take care of my Soldiers would be greatly appreciated. I will distribute throughout our AOR to my engineers. Thank you for your assistance in advance.. SFC, US Army

28 June 2014: Our Marines currently have old helmet pads that are losing the adhesiveness and some Marines do not have any at all from them ripping. This would be very beneficial for our Marines who encounter many threats but do not have serviceable pads to protect their heads.. Sgt, USMC

27 June 2014: Duties: Route Clearance. Current Pads: Military issue the crappy ones. Comments: I'm a Platoon SGT for a Route Clearance Platoon out of FOB Fenty, we are out on mission between 9-14 hours daily. The issue pads from the army sucks and they make your head hurt after 45 min or so. These pads would improve comfort and situation awareness from the Soldiers.. SFC, US Army

6June 2014: Comments: Hi, i've been deployed for more than a couple months now and my job entails that i go out on combat patrols on a daily basis. I've been having horrible headaches everytime i've been going on patrol and the only thing that can mend the pain is by removing my headgear which i cannot do until i return back to the wire. I'm in a light infantry airborne unit so we walk eeeeeeeeeeverywhere, and the type of job i have in my platoon is critical and the last thing that needs to be on my mind is the piercing pain going through my noggin. If you guys could help me out i'd be super appreciative because of it and hope i can get the donors information so i can properly thank them. I appreciate you taking time out of your day to read my plea and hope you have an awesome day. PVT, USArmy.

Follow up: we have 34 Personnel here in the platoon. we have to wear our NODs every night for at least 4 hours on end, absolutely eeeeeeeveryone loosens their chin straps or just takes the brain bucket off to relieve pressure, and i checked the item numbers, they're definitely all TW pads and for some reason, the pain they cause get way worse when we've sweat in them for a couple hours. we'll appreciate any help you can send our way, just you taking time out of your day to respond to me has already made a positive impact on my day! hope to hear from you again Sir! Thank YOU for your service and for paving the way for people like me that get to pick up the cross and continue the good fight!

30 May 2014: I wanted to reach out as we just returned from our deployment to Afghanistan and say thank you again for your support. The helmet pads were worn daily and especially on one occasion I believe it saved a Marine from further injury.  XXXXXX stepped on an IED, losing both his legs. He was the Marine who originally put me in contact with you last year. He requested I reach out to you and your organization to say thank you. He is currently at Walter Reed Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland. Sorry I didn't keep in touch throughout the deployment, but I just wanted to say thank you again now that we're back. 1st Lt, USMC.

27 May 2014:: These pads are usually in one size (5/8") and don't fit the heads of most soldiers properly. Although they are intended to come in different sizes, they are frequently issued in only one size, and they are too hard on the head to be worn comfortably for long periods of time. Some soldiers have the discipline to ignore the discomfort and even pain, but linguists often take them off during combat operations and refuse to wear them, increasingly risk of fatalities.. Capt, US Army

19 May 2014: Duties: USAF Convoy Medic attached to the Army.. Current Pads: Green hard pads. Comments: My soldiers can't wear their helmet for a long period of time because of the helmet pads are too hard. It's really uncomfortable to wear it, specially on a long 10-18 hr missions. I'm hoping this pads will eliminate those issues and prevent them from removing helmet while on convoy. Thank you so much for supporting our troops.. SSgt, USAF

16 May 2014: The current pads we have know are the standard CIF issue, they are probably the most uncomfortable things the army has made, in my two tours to Afghanistan it has been a serious issue for me and my Soldiers doing 12HRS patrols. Issues like Soldiers wanting to take their ACH's off because of how much it hurt their heads and constant headaches, we are about to Deploy again in a few Months and we really would appreciate your consideration and help.. SGT, US Army

28 April 2014: I have 22 people in my platoon and we leave the wire on almost a daily basis and are out conduction missions for multiple hours. The current pads we are all using are the regular grey ones but they cause hot spots/burns on our heads after not even an hour of having them on. I do not want my soldiers to be taking off their helmets while out in the field and compromising their safety. I would greatly appreciate it if you all can send 22 sets of new helmet pads for my guys. Thank you very much.
 (
Sent today)

22 March 2014:.  The helmet upgrades first and foremost provide a great cushion between the cranium and the Advanced Combat Helmet. Many service members wear the ACH out of second nature due to training with gear.  Comfort is the SMs concern.  These amazing pad upgrades provide the comfort a soldier wants in order to wear their ACH for extended periods of time. Allowing them to keep the necessary ACH on during their mission. These pads are soft not stiff like others, allow breath ability not over heating the head, and stay snug and fit to the SMs individual head shape without having them adjust their chin strap for a break.  From what our Soldier Medics here in XXXXX state that with these pads they would wear their ACH all the time. SSG, US Army

5 March 2014: : THE PADS DO NOT ALLOW FOR GOOD AIR FLOW TRAPPING HEAT, INCREASING THE CHANCE OF HEAT INJURIES.  ALSO THE HARD CARDBOARD IN THE ISSUED PADS AGITATE PRESSURE POINTS AFTER 18+ HOURS OF WEAR, GIVING THE EOD OPERATOR HEAD ACHES.  NOT BEING 100% DECREASES THE CHANCE OF SAFELY OPERATING IN A DEPLOYED ENVIRONMENT.

4 March 2014: I run a battalion aid station and travel to different countries that my brigade is supporting and have had multiple patients with head pain/abrasions due to poor ACH padding. My motto is an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Please send as many ounces as you can and I will disseminate them throughout my deployment to those in need.

4 March 2014:  I have been blown up several times, the GI pads put a lot of pressure on my temples and forehead causing a headache with as little as 30 minutes of wear time.  If I take out pads to relieve the pressure points the helmet doesn't stay on my head securely.  If it is cold outside the pads are hard as rock and you have to constantly adjust your chin strap as the warm up. This is especially frustrating when you are moving at night under NODS.  I have had to glue the backs of several of my pads because they started to tear away from the pad when I removed them for cleaning.

20 Feb 2014: On behalf of my men in the 3XXth, I would like to thank you for the OpHelmet Kits that you sent us.  We have been receiving the boxes over the last couple of days and my troopers absolutely love them.  I even had one say that he had bought an after market kit at the PX before deployment but the OpHelmet kit was 100x better.  Thanks again, you have really increased morale here. Captain, US Army.

5 Feb 2014: The current pads I have in my ACH are so stiff that I have had to loosen my chin straps to the max allowable length just to be able to wear my helmet.  I realize that most pads take a little while to break in, but I've had these for 5 months now, and they're still as stiff as the day I was issued my helmet.  They're uncomfortable on top, and I have had to remove two of the side pads, along with loosening the chin straps, to be able to wear my helmet somewhat comfortably for the length of time I have to wear it while on missions.

10 Jan 2014: You guys are awesome.  My team received the helmet pads the day prior to a 12hr mission and it was like Christmas.  Everyone was so excited and replaced their helmet pads right away, immediately noticing how much more comfortable they were.  During the mission helmets stayed on the entire time which was a first, most likely leading to a far safer mission and we also noticed the lack of headache we would typically get about 3hrs in.  These helmet pads and this organization are excellent.  My team wants to thank you sincerely.  SSG, US Army

30 Dec 2013: Thank you very much Captain Meaders and your wonderful wife for doing this for God and Country. I will pass your information to any Soldiers that ask for it. And be assured that the kits will be used and passed out during our missions. I also know where you are coming from by using all of your resources to make your ministry happen. I just bought a few items for Soldiers that I couldn't get donated  because the Army is in such short supply of monies. God always gives us more to give. Thank you again and God bless.

14 Oct 2013: I am writing this today with regard to the amazing work done for our Armed Service members by OperationHelmet.org. As an active duty Marine, my primary duties as an NCO is to ensure my Marines are trained for combat and my unit's mission success followed closely by ensuring everyone under my charge makes it home safely to their loved ones and family.  With the ever increasing amount of gear and technology needed to complete our mission in the austere environments that we are required to operate in, something as simple as a comfortable kevlar pad is almost always overlooked when it comes to personal protection equiment.  However, a tool is only effective when properly utilized and with the "standard" G.I. pads given to troops, kevlars are seen more as a headache to Marines and soldiers than a tool--both figuratively and literally.  The issued pads are uncomfortable, ill-fitting, and get hard after being exposed to sweat and dirt causing headaches after only a short period of time.  This leads to people taking some of the pads out to loosen the fit,  loosening the straps holding them on and generally making them less effective but temporarily bearable to wear, or taking their kevlars off completely rendering them useless.  Responsible for the well-being of someone's son, brother, father or husband, this was unacceptable to me.  Thankfully, my brother, also a former Marine, recommended I get in contact with OperationHelmet.org and they would be able to remedy our "headache".  Within only a week's time, I had new Oregon Aero pads and the response was immediate.  My Marines didn't mind wearing their kevlars, they fit properly and they no longer got headaches for wearing them.  Without the work of this great organization, I can safely assume their would be many more members of our armed services who would not be home with their loved ones today, all because of a seemingly insignificant pad.  Thank you OperationHelmet.org for all you do.  Semper Fidelis, Corporal of Marines

26 Sep 2013: I  am currently deployed with the U.S. Armed Forces in Afghanistan. What does this mean for me? Endless hours on the rough roads and I will tell you what the ENTIRE platoon used to get headaches or migraines, numbness, throbbing and just straight up pain when using our ballistic helmets. Then by some miracle we received an entire box of Oregon Aero helmet pad replacement kits. I tell you now that this is the honest to goodness truth, I was one day away from removing the pads in my helmet and driving without them so that I could actually concentrate on the task at hand "DRIVING A 68,000 LBS VEHICLE!" The pads we are issued are what feels like solid cardboard and hard plastic wrapped in felt, the pads we received from Oregon Aero are pliable but firm, soft but supportive and they mold to the shape of your head and communications gear. Goodbye headaches, goodbye distraction! The moment I got the new pads I literally ripped my pads out and threw them in the trash "And I have a photo I would like to send showing that" You make (actually we just buy and send)  a great product and you make our lives so much more comfortable! Appreciate you guys from the frontlines!

9 Sep 2013: Sir, Sorry, It has been a hectic day here. On the good side my soldiers received the helmet pads yesterday evening and the first thing they did was rip out there old ones for the ones you sent them and started wearing their ACH to break in the pads prior to mission! They keep saying how comfortable they are and wanted to thank you and your organization for what you do. It makes a big difference while out on mission, no more stiff neck/heavy head feeling, no more headaches, no more uncomfortable pressure being applied. Those pads are needed across the battlefield! I hope you have the resources available to be able to keep your operation in business! The pads make such a huge difference. My Soldiers have already noticed it from one mission so far! I cant thank you enough! SSG, Army

5 Sept 2013Thank you again! My team and I went out on an op the night after we received your shipment, and they really do make a difference. The pads are much softer and distribute the pressure evenly around my head, especially when I have my NVGs on. I asked the guys what they thought and they loved them! A lot of people who don't go OTW don't understand how the little things like helmet pads make a huge difference! I see some guys who have all this really cool and fancy "tactical" gear, but I'm an advocate of less is more. Carefully chosen equipment is way more important than bulk. USAF Special Agent

24 Aug 2013: I am writing this email to request a few helmet pad kits. I attempted to request some online; however, the communications squadron blocked my request. My name is xxxx and I am currently attached to Air Force Office of Special Investigations (AFOSI), Expeditionary Detachment (EDET) 2413 "Task Force Black". The members of my unit and I conduct daily OTW missions here in Kandahar, AFG. We have run into some serious issues with the current pads we were issued, "Team Wendy, NSN 8470-01-546-0415" they are causing headaches and guys are having trouble focusing while out on objectives, especially while conducting night operations with NVGs. Any chance we get we take our helmets off or loosen the chin straps to relieve some of the pressure, this is obviously a huge safety concern because the areas we are operating in are extremely hostile. Any help you can provide is GREATLY appreciated! Ten days later: Doc Bob! We just got the shipment of pads in today, we can't thank you enough for your support! The team and I are going to carry a flag out on our next capture op for you. We will have a certificate made and send it out to you,along with our unit patch. Again, thank you so much for your help!

See Doc Bob's Blog for more information and reports on how we're trying to get the military to 'do the right thing' and provide the best, not the cheapest helmet pads to our troops in harm's way. Hard to do your dangerous job when distracted by a blinding headache.

Article on the  New Marine Helmet of the Future and interview with Gen Conway. Jan 28, 2008.

Operation Helmet's version three survey results,

We hear that DOD (and some vendors) is (are) convinced we're some sort of agent for Oregon Aero because we don't point out that their pads used to be more expensive than the competition. I have NO idea what OA charges the military nor do I care. That's not my business. All we want is for our troops to have the best, not the cheapest, equipment that makes their jobs safer and more effectively performed. If an item costs, for example, 3/4 as much as another but lasts only 1/2 as long, where is the savings? I also don't know how much a UAV costs, or even the M4 carbine. Attention DOD: Don't shoot the messenger, fix the problem!


   

We have heard from troops in the field that some pad systems are really hard, hot, and/or uncomfortable (but not the ones we send).  Fill out an anonymous survey here.  Version three survey results,

Operation Helmet, Inc. is a 501-c-3 charity; our EIN is 20-1756585. Donations are tax-deductible. If requested, we send a letter/email for proof of donation. If you can provide an email address, it is easier, quicker and cheaper for us to respond.

Once all troops are provided appropriate blast/impact protecting helmet upgrades, we will utilize residual funds to help other charities providing for rehabilitation and support of our wounded troops and their families. We are researching several charities and will support those we find to be well managed, little or AT LEAST MINIMAL administrative fees and have a proven track record of helping our wounded warriors cope with their injuries and return to either civilian or military life.

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