Thank you for honoring those who have fallen in the line of duty protecting the rest of us…and the friends and family left behind. 

Operation Helmet Fact SheetTraumatic Brain Injury is still the number one cause of death or disability in our warriors stationed in Afghanistan…and now starting up again in Iraq.

Request your kit here We would ask that those potentially going ‘outside the wire’ request the helmet pad upgrade kits. We also accept requests from security, QRF, EOD, PSD and others who may have to go into harms’ way at a moment’s notice. We buy and ship helmet pads the Army started with before switching to the ‘shrink wrapped rocks’ now being issued.  See the upgrade kit here.

Note: we ask that only troops already deployed or being deployed within 60 days request the helmet pads for themselves and/or their unit. Financial reality means we can’t provide the helmet pad upgrade kits to all hands stateside as well as deployed. 

At the request of Natick Soldier’s Lab,  Oregon Aero developed helmet pads  that Natick touted as ‘the gold standard’ of helmet pads. These pads were used for the first 600,000+ ACH helmets before the military went cheap with the current pads by Team Wendy and/or MSA. While the current GI helmet pads pass the same laboratory tests as those by Oregon Aero, they have proven so hard and unyielding that troops take their brain buckets off or loosen the chin strap for pressure relief, severely compromising protection. In addition, The Lawrence Livermore National Research lab found that too-hard helmet pads actually add to brain damage from a blast wave, further adding to the incidence of TBI.

Make a Donation if you are so inclined.We pay $28.00 apiece, shipping included, for each helmet pad kit. For the present, we are receiving a massive discount on helmet pad upgrade kits from Oregon Aero, thanks to our donors who helped us make a huge ‘advance order’. The company is certainly not making money on the deal, but feels what we are doing for our warriors deserves all the help we can get. Bravo Zulu, Oregon Aero.

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 at the Military link 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.   Your donation is Tax Deductible … Feel free to ask clubs, leagues, schools, churches, companies you may work for, etc. for donations as well.

Over 83,000 helmet pad upgrade kits sent to combat troops to date…
thanks to the Great Americans who pitch in and help.

Combat is NOT over and will extend until at least the end of 2015…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. America will maintain troops in Afghanistan for the near future, all in harm’s way! New threats are popping up all over the map. We aren’t finished with our job yet. Iraq is a ‘new’ ‘old’ story, with troops on the ground from Special Ops as we speak as well as regular Army, AF, Marine warriors helping provide security and training…and it isn’t getting any prettier. 

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.

From a warrior in combat: 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. SFC, US Army

Operation Helmet doesn’t design or manufacture helmet pads, just identifies and buys the best ones we have found that have been approved by the military, have been proven in service by US troops and meet operational (protection and comfort) needs of combat troops. We then buy and send the helmet pad kits free to requesting troops ‘outside the wire’ in Afghanistan AND Iraq. If and when more combat areas open up, we shall do the same for all hands at risk.

USAF-FireProtect-deployed--11Jun06-lores                         pasgt-head-i1                 scout-sniper-1-7USMC-redacted

Mailing address:

Operation Helmet
c/o Dr. Bob Meaders
74 Greenview Street
Montgomery, TX 77356
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 (EIN: 20-1756585) 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 and duty to our fellow Service members.  We have no salaries or payroll. Doc Bob covers all office expenses.

Below, we’ve selected a few ‘telling’ emails as to why we keep on doing what our troops ask of us:

4/21/16: The pads extremely easy to install and fit perfectly in the Advanced Combat Helmet (ACH). Immediately after you put the new pads in the helmet, you are able to realize the difference in comfort and functionality. So far, we’ve used the new pads on 6+ hour long outside the wire foot patrols, ruck marches and countless mounted patrols. The difference in comfort and functionality is night and day. The material the pads are made out of is a lot more comfortable and allows a snug yet stable fit to the users head. Using the standard issue pads causes some irritation which causes a lot of users to take off their ACH after prolonged periods of time. When this occurs, it causes a distraction from mission and leaves the user at risk to a potential Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI). We are deeply appreciative of this new equipment and after testing it in the field, all the members on my team swear by these new pads. Using these pads allows us to focus on the mission and not the discomfort of the ACH. SPC, US Army

4/18/2016:  Heard about us: Another SSgt that you supported before. Duties: EOD work, TRAP response (Tactical Recovery of Aircraft and Personnel). Current Pads: Gentex made pad, grey color, glued seam, 3/4 inch thick hard pad. Comments: My fellow EOD Techs and I are currently deployed in support of Operation Inherent Resolve. Where we are involved and working many different aspects of the mission going on out here. My Marines and I just received the newest Marine Corps helmet out right before deploying and the Gentex pads in them are always hard as a rock, uncomfortable, and make it difficult to utilize a com headset with them. I tried to purchase a whole new kit for all the Marines and their helmets but got told we already have pads. The other issue with the pads being so hard I with the blat pressure from explosions which in our job is a lot. We would really appreciate and help you could give to my guys and myself. Thank you for your time and consideration.. SSGT, USMC

4/11/2016: Duties: Infantry, patrols, air assault, convoy. Current Pads: Standard issue. Comments: As a squad leader I need my guys at 110% all the time. Having said that a lot of them always ask to remove their helmets due to headaches or discomfort (pad pain) while wearing it for long durations. I’m one of those that get the headaches so I know they’re not just saying it to get the helmet off. I want to provide my guys with the best gear there is. I feel like helmet pads are often over look but they play a critical role in the overall wellness of soldiers.

4/6/2016: Duties: Artillery/Infantry. Current Pads: The basic USMC issue, light grey & black, cheap material.. Comments: The problem we face right now, is that the current pads are not very good material and due to the “wear and tear” they do not last. They also give me migraines an its just counter productive to wear. They have proven to be less than desirable to use. Most of us hate to wear them but we do regardless because its better than nothing.. GySgt, USMC

April 8, 2015:Today I had a nice chat with death, he said he would try again later.  A sharpshooter (for the other team..) took aim at my head, if I didnt have the padding system installed that you provided for me I may have been knocked unconscious from the force of the round impacting my helmet. He hit my ammo supply with another round, I ran out of usable ammo and resorted to my sidearm to clear his friends. I was only slightly disoriented, and a ringing headache. Thank you always doctor. Unfortunately, I had to turn in my helmet for a new one. I lost the padding system as well. The research department was VERY adamant that I left everything inside the way I had it when the incident happened. I had to tell you about this. You saved many lives out of a seemingly simple donation.Thank you –XRecon

12/15/2014: Afghanistan: We wear our ECH (Enhanced Combat Helmet) every day for 12 plus hours at a time. They are causing my guys to have headaches and they are constantly adjusting their helmets. This is detracting a significant amount of attention from security. Security is what keeps us alive. We cannot afford to have even a few seconds of distraction from this. We would really appreciate it if you would send us some better equipment so that my men could stay more focused on the mission and less occupied by unsatisfactory equipment. Thank you so much.

Email from Afghanistan 8/15/2014: Being the small team we are, everyone has their part. For example Some of the staff officers are gunners and or drivers. Adjusting the helmet in any situation could be detrimental to the mission, especially for reaction time on the roadway with traffic. We travel through a city multiple times a week to get to our destination for advising. The people here put the drivers in New York City to shame. Headaches caused by pads can have a chain reaction effect that could be dangerous to the personnel in the vehicle as well as the ones outside. It is not easy to maneuver or stop one of these MAT-V’s on a dime if there is an issue or a distraction of a adjustment needed due to a headache caused by the pads. Let alone the incapacitation of a soldier if the pain is that severe to migraine level that they can’t complete the mission. I actually am the main CROW gunner for the team controlling the .50 so we do a variety of tasks. O-5, USArmy

2/14/2015:  Our wish has came true, We cannot thank you enough for helping us become more mission effective, it is only us out here most times, we do not have much down time to spend talking with our families or loved ones. Morale was at an absolute low, but thanks to the efforts of yourself and people like you- now we are excited again. Something to finally look forward to other than canned food,an MRE or what little sleep we can get between rocket attacks and pop shots of assault rifles. As a team leader I want to personally thank you for allowing myself and my men get the equipment needed for upcoming mission successes. People like you are the reason we get up in the morning on time, all we as soldiers hear about is how bad things are becoming stateside, but you have given us hope.”Hawk2″ And the entire Reconnaissance Platoon of Hawk Recon 2-327

8/13/2015: From a Marine LT being deployed, when asked why the ‘higher ups’ won’t understand the need for better helmet pads: 

“I am an infantry officer and fully appreciate the need for better pads. I see my Marines taking their hands off their weapons and playing with their kevlars all the time, and the first chance they get to pop tops, they take it. The bottom line is the people who make these decisions don’t wear our gear, and don’t patrol and stand post in 100 plus degree weather so they write off the complaints as standard bitching (excuse the language). They know that we will always find something to complain about, which is true. As a result, they look to what they know; American sentiment is very casualty adverse, and the ridiculously uncomfortable and burdensome PPE we wear minimizes severe trauma. They cannot quantify the argument that discomfort equals lax security, degrades endurance and speed with respect to the enemy. They can’t quantify that with all the PPE we are forced to carry X lbs of water extra to account for exhaustion and heat which then slows us down more.. There are too many variables. “