Michael's Dispatches

New Britches: Part II



13 February 2012

Our Soldiers’ pants have been falling apart.  In August 2011, I wrote about this from Afghanistan.  The news was picked up widely.  My dispatch shows photos of Soldiers with blown out trousers.

Combat is a fully engaging endeavor.  Many troops go without underwear to avoid rashes, and so when the crotches of their pants rip out, they are in the breeze.  Troops should not be distracted from killing Taliban while mosquitoes and briars poke and yank at privates’ privates.

Exhibitionism also leaves a bad impression in Afghanistan and in the Americas.  More amazing, as with the MEDEVAC travesty, is that after a decade of constant war, something simple like protecting privates was still an issue.

Two days after my first “pants dispatch,” it was reported that better combat trousers would be rushed to Afghanistan.

A week later, I published this follow-up.

Dennis Miller took interest, as did many others. American troops benefitted from this media attention.

Though there was significant press around my initial report, there was zero scandal because the Army simply said, “Yes, that’s right, let’s get some new pants.”  And they did.  All good.  Case closed.

Behind the scenes, I mentioned to a key procurement person that I have the choice to wear any pants from anywhere in the world.  Subsequent advice to me from special operations folks, I was wearing Crye Precision pants.  Crye is a far cry better than trousers issued to normal infantry.

It was just announced that the Army fielding the same pants I was wearing.

As you can see, support from readers is essential for this work.  These pants alone cost more than $200 each, and that doesn’t include the expensive stuff.  Thank you for your support.  Without it, this would not have come to light, and our troops would be wearing ventilated trousers for the foreseeable future.  With budget cuts, they might even be wearing shorts.  (The Crye pants are too expensive, though, and the Army has no plans to buy them on the next big uniform purchases.)

There is a lesson in this about scandal; there was no humiliation around the pants problem because the issue was fixed.  (We’ll have to follow up to be sure.)  Everyone makes mistakes.  Admitting imperfection by addressing the problems is not dishonorable.  It’s smart and gains respect.

The MEDEVAC issue is only starting.  If the Army would simply fix the problems, the issue would go away with away with a “thank you.”

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  • This commment is unpublished.
    Frank R Magnani · 9 years ago
    Michael what's your take on the President Changing the rules for receiving combat pay?
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Doc Simpson · 9 years ago
    Better britches and better food? What is happening to the Army I know.
    • This commment is unpublished.
      Bill Dettmer · 9 years ago
      The britches problem got solved because a) the evidence was impossible to ignore, and b) it did not require assignment of responsibility to a flag officer whose career could be jeopardized by admitting an egregious mistake.

      Thus, the decision to fix the pants problem was an innocuous no-brainer. The helicopter marking issue was not.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Devildog · 9 years ago
    ...Man it helps having these guys like D.M. and others looking out for us.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    myvalon haney · 9 years ago
    :sad: i have been doing anysoldier and it seems one of the items they repeatedly ask for is good boots, and sunglasses. both are comodities that they never seem to have enough of. i can imagine the distress of not having enough of these two items considering the terrain and the sun. when one is already in miserable conditions, the other needs only adds to it. i pray for our troops.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Richard Schoberg · 9 years ago
    My son Gunner 4 Eric Schoberg is stationed at Camp Leatherneck. Does this problem extend to the Marines?
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Denn7is · 9 years ago
    Michael, At the end of their lives, so many people hang on to life, not because they have something important to do, but because they haven't done anything important with their lives. You, my friend, will not have that issue...
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Paul Bradley · 9 years ago
    I would think the new Seabee uniforms would be tough enough but lacking the knee pads.

    http://www.ar15.com/forums/t_6_10/ 54276_I_got_issued_the_Navy_s_Digital_Greens_yesterday_here_s_some_pics____GORTEX__added_to_OP.html
  • This commment is unpublished.
    #silentranks · 9 years ago
    Funny, I'm sewing the crotch of a pair of ACU pants today...
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Josh · 9 years ago
    I bet your photos of ripped pants helped to make this happen - you make a difference with your candor and photos keep it up.

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