Traumatic Brain Injury is still the
number one cause of death or disability in our warriors stationed in Afghanistan
Government Issue (GI) military helmet pads
are much too hard and cause severe headaches
under the weight of the combat helmet. As a result, combat troops on patrol or
convoy take their helmets off or release the chins strap for pain relief. Hard to concentrate on a dangerous job when you
have a migraine-type headache. IED's, RPG's and ambushes pop up anytime, anywhere. Removing or
loosening helmets to deal with severe distracting headache = needless injury or
The helmet pads you help us buy and send
combat troops operating in Afghanistan pass the same protective
tests but are also comfortably conform to the warrior's head. With these helmet
pads, head armor is no longer a dangerous distraction and troops are once
again maximally protected.
See the emails below
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.
PS: Help celebrate Cher's birthday
May 20 with a donation in her name to Operation Helmet. We'll forward
information of each donor to her. She's still 'our lady' as Celebrity
Spokesperson after 8 years of shared effort to help bring more of our troops
home from the war safe and sound. What a patriotic, sweet, talented and gracious
Click on each Service (on the left) to see email
excerpts specific to that branch.
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.
Combat is NOT over and will extend until at least
Even then, the US will have troops in-country and exposed to danger as they
train and lead Afghan Army and Police into action.
With full withdrawal of the 'surge', there
are still 66,000 US troops in Afghanistan
HELMET provides helmet upgrade kits
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
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
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
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.
(Not from 'desk warriors' in their
air-conditioned foxholes !)
See also Service sections (on left: US Army, USMC,
etc) and Doc
14 May 2012: In theater, everything is extended wear. soldiers purchase
COTS headgear, pads, caps and other improvisation to TRY to make the ACH
comfortable. it does not help. My friend used your pads in Afghanistan in
2010 and said they really do help. I would like to make sure that my unit
has the same protection and comfort during our operations. Of the 180
soldiers in this unit, only about 16 go "outside the wire" regularly and use
full tactical gear. The current pads diminish protection as Soldiers
CONSTANTLY remove the ACH to relieve the headaches and pain caused by the
issued pads. SSG, US Army
10 May 2013: Thanks so much for what you do. My element here in AFG rec'd
a number of pad sets today. You made everyone's day. Many did not realize
that there were options out there and thought that they just had to accept
what CIF gave them. The donors that contribute for your program really do
make a large difference for us here. Cpt, US Army
12 March 2013: Comments: BEFORE MY LAST DEPLOYMENT WE HAD THE CIF ISSUE
PADS AND THEY GAVE MY ENTIRE PLATOON HEAD ACHES. SO MY PLATOON COMMANDER DID
SOME WORK AND GOT A BOX FOR MY PLATOON AND THAT WAS THE GREATEST GIFT HE
COULD HAVE GIVEN US. NO MORE HEAD ACHES AND MORE CONCENTRATION ON THE ENEMY.
NOW I WANT TO OUTFIT MY COMPANY WITH THEM SO WE CAN HAVE THE SAME COMFORT IN
ORDER TO HAVE MARINES FOCUS ON THE ENEMY AND NOT A HEAD ACHE. MSGT, USMC.
3 March 2013 My Cpl has these pads and they are amazing. They actually
make you want to wear your helmet, not kick it down a hill. When i go to
afghanistan in may i will be going on mulitple patrols a day and would love
to have these pads so i dont get migranes from the helmet that i have to
live in. USMC.
27 Feb 2013: THANK YOU!! I never expected to get an email back this fast,
and have them sent...I cant even put into words how excited my troops are
going to be when I tell them tomorrow morning. You have really made my
evening and the entire tour for my joes. The little things really do count
here and a comfortable helmet is a god send. Thank you and the entire
organization for this Doc. Ill take pictures and send them to this email
address once they arrive and you can see the happy joes who's tour you have
dramatically improved. SGT, US Army.
15 Feb 2012:Doc Bob, The main concern is that many of our soldiers are
removing their brain buckets while on route doing IED clearance which is an
extreme concern for our command and higher ups. USArmy
7 Feb 2013: Ok so I talked to my crew about the kits. They all said the
same thing about helmets hurting on our long convoys. We wear these things
for about 12 hours straight on average and up to 20 hrs. I have a TC and a
GUNNER who would like to have one. If you have two more kits to spare, I can
hand them out to them. My shipping address can be used to send them and I
will make sure they get their pads switched out. Its hard to hear
complaining for 12 hours on a convoy as a driver haha. Thanks for all you
guys do for us here in Afghanistan, it is greatly appreciated.
2 Feb 2013 I have head pain
after a full day of wearing my ach (helmet) from the pad that don't offer a whole lot
of comfort at all and I send big artillery bullets down to help infantry
units fight the enemy so I have to wear my kit almost all day for 18 hours.
PFC, US Army
21 Jan 2013: All is good here in Northern Afghanistan.
I just wanted to thank you once again for the donation of the ACH pad
inserts. I have issued them to my guys and I am glad to report we absolutely
love them! This will not only make our day a little bit easier, but helps me
keep these guys focused on finding IEDs instead of ways to justify taking
their ACH off. So from 1st PLT, xxx ENGINEER COMPANY and all of us here in
Afghanistan, thank you!
4 Dec 2012:Firstly, I'd like to say these
Kevlar Pads i ordered are amazing. And i mean that.I am not some Marine
sitting in an office taking advantage of the hard work we do patrolling over
here in Afghanistan. The pads i have, i purchased. However, now im
interested in getting a kit for my platoon. We are outside everyday and i
constantly have guys asking if they can take off their optics due to the
rubbing from our (for the lack of a better word) terrible pads. LCPL, USMC
21 Nov 2012: Several Soldiers are
complaining of improper fitting and wea r of the helmet. The padding is
extremely uncomfortable, and wears out quickly. Thank you very much for your
thoughts and consideration. As I am sure you have heard things are very
hard to come by these days here.
With the talk of draw down, the supplies are dwindling to the point of
fights over here. Again, Thanks for your help!
27 Sept 2012: Duties: Scout
Sniper Security/Overwatch Operations. Comments: the pads me and my Marines
currently have disrupt our concentration. We are a Scout Sniper team and we
operate mostly 75% of the time at night meaning we use Night Vision Optics.
these weigh heavily on our helmets and the pads we have do not provide
enough cushion for them to maintain our survivability. thank you so much for
what you do and God bless you all. CPL, USMC
16 Sept 2012:
The current pads make it extremely difficult for me to do my
job. As a medic I need to concentrate to give fellow soldiers the medical
treatment they need. With the current pads, the constant headache makes it
hard to keep a clear head and perform my duties. Medic, USMC
12 Sept 2012:
I have heard nothing but exceptional things about these pads
your company offers. Our unit consist of 44 men and women who on a daily
basis are in truck or on foot patrol disarming IED's around the country of
Afghanistan. The current pads are giving grief to myself and fellow soldiers
within a few minutes to an hour after wearing our helmets consistently.
Putting something on your head to protect it is nice however with the
standard GI Pads issued by the Army it is rough on heads causing stress and
major headaches. Let alone a pain of something straddling your head without
really a good source of padding. We would all be greatly appreciative of any
donations given to us by anyone out there that is willing to help us. Thanks
to what you do and most certainly thanks for your support to the US Troops
serving their country across the globe. God Bless! SGT, US Army
13 August 2012:
Wanted to thank you for the helmet pads. We all love 'em and have showed
them off to the guys in the other teams. They're being put to good use
everyday. I hope your program lasts as long as possible, as it's one of the
best I've seen for getting soldiers when they really need, and fast. Best of
luck. Sgt US Army, Sniper
14 May 2012: My current pads are rock hard and over
any extended period of time they cause headaches and pain. My old pads make it
nearly impossible to wear any helmet for longer than 10 or 15 minutes. After
that I would remove my head protection to work more smoothly. I badly need new
pads to help me think straight and allow me to wear my helmet for longer periods
of time. SGT, EOD, USMC
21 Apr 2012: Hello
there Mr. Meaders, I just wanted to let you know we received the helmet pads
about 5 days ago. I passed them all out and the guys put them in. 5 days later
I've heard nothing but rave reviews of the new pads. The guys say they are much
more comfortable and the discomfort is gone. I want to thank you and your
organization for the donation. It's nice to know there are people out there like
you all that care enough about the little things and actually make a difference
in our lives over here. SPC US Army
3 April 2012:
During my last deployment to Afghanistan several marines in my unit had the
helmet pads sent to them from your org. and even without using them i can tell
that they are of much better quality than the issued pads. The issued pads
quickly get compressed and turn into a very hard foam block which is very
uncomfortable and often times fall apart to the point that they wont even stay
inside the helmet. I would appreciate it very much if you could outfit our
Assault section with a better helmet pad.
1 Feb 2012: HAVING BEEN
DEPLOYED WITH IN THE PAST YEAR AND WEARING MY ACH ALL THE TIME OVER THERE I CAN
SAY THAT THE ISSUE HELMET PADS ARE
HORRIBLE. THE CAN MAKE THOSE LONG PATROLS VERY UNCOMFORTABLE AND IN A PLACE LIKE
THAT YOUR HELMET BEING COMFORTABLE IS A MUST. THE ISSUE PADS, ONCE FILLED WITH
SWEAT ONE TIME, ARE ALWAYS HARD AS A ROCK AND NEVER REALLY FORM TO YOUR HEAD.
LIKE I SAID EARLIER I AM THE XO FOR AN INFANRTY RSTA (Reconnaissance,
Surveillance, and Target Acquisition) COMPANY AND WE WILL BE
REDEPLOYING HERE IN THE NEXT xxx MONTHS. I AM REQUESTING ENOUGH PADS TO OUTFIT
THE COMPANY BUT ANY THING WOULD BE A START. PLEASE FEEL FREE TO CONTACT ME WITH
ANY QUESTIONS AND I HOPE TO HEAR FROM YOU SOON. THANKS IN ADVANCE. 1Lt US Army
Should we help these troops? Hopes high, bank account low; can YOU help?
15 Nov 2011: Every day I wear my helmet
for at least 8-10 hours when outside the wire. I have to wear them on dismounts
to keep myself safe, even though they give me terrible headaches because of the
constant pressure each "pad" puts on my head. I'll admit I do not always wear my
helmet in our armored vehicles, because it tends to hurt so bad, even though
when im inside the vehicle is one of the most important times to wear it due to
IED's. Ive tried everything to soften them up such as, washing them excessively,
placing heavy items on them to make them a little more flexible, all with
negative results. If I had comfortable pads, i'd never take my helmet off which
could definately save my life one day.
25 Oct 2011: I have received a set of helmet pads from
SGT xx, just like to thank you for the donation and how much better these pads
are. Its a lot more comfortable to wear my kevlar now and I actually dont mind
having them on. Big difference and greatly appreciated. I'm currently with
XXXXXX, in Sangin, Afghanistan, a lot of the Marines out here could use these!
CPL, USMC, Infantry. (we today sent him 150 for his
13 Sept, 2011: Explosives Expert By far the most
comfort in a Helmet I have ever Had I have seen these pads put to the test
and marines that should of had severe concusions had very minor or no
concusion at all while others wearing the older harnness were rattled
something fierce. If you care about you troops you'll get these pads and
spread the word for donations. SSGT, EOD.
24 June 2011: We used the pads (sent by OpHelm)
last year in Afghan and they worked very well for us. However a few of the
pads stitching have come loose over time. To be honest with every thing we
put our helmets through i'm surprised any of them made it back. The only
reason i'm asking for these kits are because my teams going back soon and
our shops budgets fading fast. Every little bit we can save helps us get the
tools and gear we need to have a safe and successful deployment. I know from
personal experience that when leaning over an IED, our helmets placement and
comfort definitely comes into play. If only we could get the higher up to
understand that we'll be doing great. Helmet pads are not on their list of
necessities. Any assistance you could offer my team would greatly
appreciated. Thank you. EOD, USMC
20 May 2011:After
an hour, the headache keeps me from being able to concentrate on complex
tasks and my shooting accuracy goes down significantly (it's really apparent
when I compare my targets from my first hour of shooting with the helmet vs
my second hour). This scares me a little since I know I'll have to wear my
helmet for long periods of time and still need to be able to shoot
28 March 2011: Due to the lack of comfort with
the current pads, helmets are not worn as tightly as needed which greatly
increases the risk of concussions/TBI. We are a route clearance unit
(finding, defusing/disposing of IED's).
20 Jan 2011: Wearing the ACH for long hours
results in severe discomfort at the end of the day; just in time to put it
on again for a night mission or the next day. Its not intolerable, but its
one more factor that works against us. It would be nice to actually have a
comfortable helmet. 1LT, US Army12 Jan 2011:My Soldiers take off their helmets
to relieve from headache
in the vehicle which is dangerous in moving vehicle with limited headspace.
we have received injuries just from hitting a bump in the road and bouncing
your head off the roof. The current pads bother everyone's foreheads. SFC,
US Army (It's not just IED's that can disable troops).
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.
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.
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.