10/18/06: Notice to donors intending to send kits to individual Marines or for ‘Marine Only’ usage:Some units in Iraq tell us they are receiving the new Marine-issued helmet upgrades. Prior to donating for a helmet upgrade for ‘your’ Marine, please contact them via email or via www.Motomail.us to see if they need you to provide one through Operation Helmet. We will continue upgrading the combat helmets of other Marine units already in Iraq to whom the supply chain has not reached until we hear otherwise. The Marine units in the African Horn, or on standby for any contingency, tell us they still need the upgrade, so we will respond.
11/6/06:Why we’re back asking for help: From a Marine CO: “I got 25 more of the helmet liners for the Marines, but I found out today that our supply system can’t get any ordered and in until next year, so if you have any pull with OpHelmet we could use at least 125 more for my company alone”
11/8/06 A Senior NCO of a combat unit in Anbar province called home and asked his parents to quickly find 120 helmet upgrades for the unit…the military-issue ones haven’t made it to their isolated outpost and no sign of them in the near future. And he wants his men protected every day!
MARADMIN 362/06 Released – Authorizes use of Pad Suspension Kit in the Marine Lightweight Helmet. Follow-up letter from General Mike Hagee, Commandant of the Marine Corps, to Congressman Weldon that states “I have directed that O&M funding be made available to commanders who want to purchase the padded suspension system”. Unfortunately, it will take a while for this to get implemented. We will fill the gaps until this happens.
7 Nov 06 – Marine Corps Systems Command (MCSC), I MEF and II MEF did an initial purchase of 39,000 and MCSC purchased an additional 100,000 of which 50,000 were delivered to the MEFs and MFR in September. The MEFs receive them at their Consolidated Issue Facilities (CIFs) in CONUS and then assign quotas and requirements for the battalions. As you can imagine, by the time the pads get to the company and platoon level some time has passed. The additional 50,000 pads will complete delivery to the CIFs by the end of December. Some pads are now available in the supply system.
18 Dec 06 – I spoke to [my son] this weekend, there are 2200 Marines in his unit that don’t have [padded suspension systems]. I will continue to promote the Operation Helmet to support our troops overseas. Best wishes to you, George, Proud Parent of a Marine.
14 Dec 2006 – It is with heavy heart I write you again. Less than six months ago we communicated in order to acquire helmet inserts for the [his unit] out of Miramar, CA. before they deployed to Iraq (Sept 3, 2006). These Marines were very thankful for the liners designed to give them extra protection. We had many conversations with our son while he was in Iraq and he told us once his vehicle was struck with a small IED and said the liners definitely helped. He compared it to a similar IED hit in Aug of 2003 in which he received a purple heart. But on Monday evening our lives were changed by the ringing of the doorbell. We were informed that our son, Cpl Matthew Dillon, had been killed by a large IED explosion along with three other of his fellow Marines. Two other Marines are in our prayers who are in critical condition.
This email is to inform you that we have requested people make memorial donations, in Matthew’s honor, to your organization in lieu of flowers. We, Matthew Dillon’s parents, know that this would please Matt to know that another fellow Marine or soldier is able to receive these liners for their protection. While we wait for his return, we decided to make this request to the public to help support our troops. Matt was only in the Corp 18 months, made Cpl the first of Nov and was named Marine of the Quarter. He will be greatly missed and the Corp has lost a great leader of freedom. Please let us know if there is special details or information we need to pass along to the TV or newspapers in this regard.
My wife’s 501-C organization, Friends of Freedom’s Defenders, was the initial contact for the helmet inserts for the 373rd Marines. They will be also sending a donation that this organization collected from friends, veteran organizations and businesses. We both feel strongly led and committed to do as much as we can to help protect these young men and women who so honorably serve this great Country and risk their lives to keep us free.
Again, thank you for this great organization. You do a tremendous service for our Marines and fellow soldiers. God bless you, Neal and Lucy Dillon
For a video tribute to Matt please click here
26 Nov 06 – I attended a Marine Birthday Party was honored guest. Met a 1st Sergeant who’s life was saved by donated helmet pads. God willing I will equip the relief group with same. A.M. former Marine
24 Nov 06 – I received my helmet pads just prior to deploying here in Iraq. The pads are a great improvement over the prior suspension system. I have not found them to be uncomfortable at all, and I wear my brain-bucket for many long hours. LCpl AB
In prior fire fights my old netting system would fall down and block my view but now with this new padding in my helmet it stays in place and helps reduce the feeling of an impact from an RPG or an IED. I am very grateful for the padding and think they are some of the best things that we have for my fellow marines to have to be taken care of. Thank you for all the support and for the pads. Cpl MC
21 Nov 06 – Being in Route Clearance operations, I need a system that will protect my grape. when i got hit the first time I was glad that i had the system in because it padded my head when the IED went off. Thank you for the pads and keep up the good work. LCpl AS
The Marine Corps issued pads are very hard and unforgiving. They are stiff and don’t conform to each individual head like the one I got from operation helmet. They also tend to be too big and make wearing the helmet a bit uncomfortable. The pads I got from op. helmet are much better and don’t give me this problem. LCpl RH
The system is great! I have already had several tests to the helmet (IED’s). However the pads don’t breath all that well and have a tendency to get hot with any kind activity. Even though that is the case think sometime you have to take the good with the bad. HM2 MS
20 Nov 06 – The Oregon Aero system works well. When the pads are cold, they are hard, but once the body heat from your head warms up the pads, it becomes comfortable again. This usually takes about 5 minutes. The pads are hot in the summer, but then again, everything is hot inside the helmet, it’s not a fault of the pad. Overall, I am very pleased with the pads you sent me. Thanks again. Capt LB
The one that you sent me worked great…took a few days to get used to…but after that…would never go back. Thanks again for the help. Capt BA
In the past, I could hardly keep my helmet on for even a few minutes before it became so uncomfortable that I was distracted by the helmet. The Oregon Aero pads allow me to wear my helmet all day every day without any pain or discomfort. The snug fit and elimination of pressure points give me confidence in the helmets ability to protect me from TBI caused by outside shock. GySgt DO
Thank you so much for the great service that you have provide to myself and my fellow Marines. The pads are so comfortable that I often forget I even have a helmet on at times. There is a 100% difference between the helmet liner’s that come issued in our LWH and Oregon Aero’s. Thank you again! Cpl MD
Our entire platoon gives thanks every day for these helmet upgrade kits. They have made our helmets not only comfortable- but a pleasure to wear. There’s no comparison with the pad system issued by the Marine Corps. Those are the pads that are hot, hard, and uncomfortable. Thanks again for providing these for us. PFC SP
19 Nov 06 – Within 5 minutes of putting on my helmet, my head started to throb. The last thing I need to worry about while I’m over there is malfunctioning gear. I was all set to shell out the $100 dollars for the oregon aero pad system when I heard about operation helmet. With the extra cash, I was able to purchase other pieces of gear that I’ll surely need for this upcoming deployment. Thank you so much for everything you guys are doing. Every little bit helps. Cpl AC
The pads are comfortable when worn properly. They get more rigid in the cold and do not feel as comfortable. Is there a way to make the pads with an outer cloth that can be removed to be washed (kind of like a pillow case is used for a pillow?). Cpl M. (Note: the pads can and should be washed with soap and water without removing the cloth cover)
I used the pad system for about 4 of the 7 months I was in Iraq. The system was pretty hot but the temperatures reached 140 degrees at times. Also the padding seemed to press pretty tight on my head particularly in the front. It’s possible that a larger helmet would have fixed that. All in all I and most of the guys in my unit found that the padding system greatly increased the comfort level of the helmet especially since we wore it every single day all day. Thanks, Cpl TR.
I had the pads that come with the Marine Corps issue and they were a lot better than the first ones but once I put in the Oregon Aero I love it and I’ve never had anything more comfortable for the field, and plus I’m with artillery and it really helps with sound also. thanks LCpl S
For long periods of wear the pad system that I received from you is perfect. It not only lets your head breath it makes it comfortable. It allows you to concentrate on the job at hand not about the discomfort of the kevlar helmet. Cpl SB
The BLSS kit upgrade is one of the best pieces of gear a Marine can have! It may be a little awkward at first to wear, but once the pads get a little broken in they make wearing a Kevlar almost unnoticeable (for me that is). Thank you Operation helmet on behalf of the 4th CEB LCpl NB
I am extremely satisfied with the Oregon Aero pad system. The new pad system is easy to install and comfortable to wear. We Marines deeply appreciate your company’s efforts in providing us with the outstanding piece of equipment. LtCol xx
The Oregon Aero pads are pretty good. They stay soft most of the time. The only time they get hard or uncomfortable is when it is cold outside, once the warmth of your head warms up the pads they get soft again. They are a great pad system. PFC NH
The Pads are great compared to the old system they are an improvement. It’s over 100 degrees over there of course the pads get hot but i would rather be hot, then immobile from a head injury or even dead. Thanks OpHelmet for your hard work. Semper Fi. Cpl J
I am a USMC Sniper Platoon Sgt. The helmet pads I got for my whole platoon from operation-helmet.org were very good. SSgt AS
Drastic Improvement to comfort and safety. Capt CK
18 Nov 06 – The helmet pads were a God send. I was a little worried that I wouldn’t receive them until halfway through my deployment since I ordered them right before I left, but they arrived in country about the same time as me. Light, comfortable, durable. My only gripe is that it did make my helmet a little tighter on my head than with the old suspension system, something that possibly should have been addressed on the website. Still, infinitely better than before. Cpl JC, USMC
The padded helmet system usually requires a helmet to be a size larger than the webbing originally used because the pads take more room. PV2 C
I heard about Operation Helmet from a friend and I tried on his helmet and it was amazing compared to the issued suspension system. My helmet is now comfortable for any amount of time that I have to wear it. It makes any operations that I need to do a lot easier. Thanks. Cpl BC
After close calls with indirect fire, i think any marine would take the best possible protective gear available to them. The system was a little hotter then the suspension system provided however, if its the option of comfort over safety i would say the padding system definitely provides that extra safety and was overall pretty comfortable. LCpl WG
This pad system is extremely comfortable, a lot more than the suspension system that we are issued. The only negative about the pad system is sweat is absorbed into the pads and makes the Kevlar slide all over the head. LCpl WG
13 Nov 06 – THIS DONATION IS MADE IN THE NAME OF MY FATHER, COL. LOUIS V. PELINI (RET) ON THE OCCASION OF HIS 70TH BIRTHDAY. GODSPEED THE MARINE WHO WEARS IT, AND GOD BLESS YOU FOR MAKING IT POSSIBLE.
13 Nov 06 – [Our Marine] was very excited to receive the upgrades. One Marine in his unit already had one, so he was able to give the extra to their medic who was extremely pleased to get it. Mitch said it made him very popular with his unit. Jean
2 Nov 06 – Dear Doc Meaders: My name is Nilda from McAllen, Texas. My 20 year old son, Cpl Mario xxx, USMC is currently stationed in Haditha, Iraq and in the front lines (Infantry).
I just wanted to give you my thanks a million times over for the helmet kits….my son’s girlfriend, Terry, found your website and on Friday, September 29, 2006, we ordered 48 helmet kits….we specified that they were in Iraq and in the front lines….on Thursday, October 5th, she e-mailed you for an update as to the scheduled shipment date since there were about 1,500 in backorder. You replied that on October 1st, the shipment of 48 helmet kits had been shipped out to my son and his platoon after a donation arrived from a fund raising event…..praise the Lord! We thought that was a miracle in itself! Two weeks later, these Marines received their helmet upgrades …. they called me to thank me for the added protection.
I received a call from my son this morning. His squad was in a vehicle yesterday and hit an IED….he was knocked out for a while from the blast. But he is fine!!! Everyone in his squad is fine. My son is on light duty for a couple of days (which of course he hates) but we talked for a while and he is fine! The added protection in the helmet did exactly what it was supposed to do…..prevent any additional harm! So thank you and everyone involved in your operation……this mom thanks you from the bottom of my heart!!! I know that my son’s injuries would have been greater had he not had the added protection to their helmets. And by the way, would you please thank Cher for me and all her work towards this wonderful project!!! (lol) God bless you all, our troops and God Bless the USA!
16 Oct 2006 – Letter from Marine Company Commander
7 Oct 06 – Dr. Bob, I’m stationed over here and you sent me a helmet several months ago. It’s been wonderful, hope someone else can also benefit! Cdr PT. [note: he sent a donation]
06 Oct 2006 – Sir or Ma’am, My unit is scheduled to deploy to the Al Anbar Province, Iraq in March of next year. I was on the internet looking for helmet pads for myself and stumbled upon your awesome website. What you guys are doing is great!!! We have started training our younger Marines both mentally and physically for the upcoming deployment, to include the long list of gear needed to complete our mission. This being my second deployment I have advised my Marines to invest in the helmet pads. I know that if our request is approved it would be a great gift and welcome piece of gear and further enhance training and operating level while deployed. Thank you for your consideration. Sgt LL
04 Oct 2006 – Just wanted to say “Thank you! “For taking the time to contribute to the comfort and the care of Marines in Iraq. We the Marines from the Intel Battalion, appreciate your contributions and your continuous support to all armed forces. SEMPER FI, SSgt M, U.S.M.C
4 Oct 2006 – My name is Cynthia, from Erie, Pennsylvania. Last year, July 2005, my son, Matthew, came home to Erie from college in Daytona Beach and said that he had withdrawn from school and had joined the Marines. Of course, I didn’t agree with his decision and would not talk to him for three days. When he went to Buffalo for his “Swearing In” I knew he had made the right decision and I fully supported him. During boot camp I sent him letters every day saying how proud I was of him. He was meritoriously promoted in boot camp and then went to MOS school at Camp LeJuene where he was again promoted. During this time I saw the program on C-SPAN with Cher and you, and was curious as to what you were talking about. Then we got a phone call saying that our son was going to be deployed to Iraq and your program came to mind. My husband got on the internet and searched for the organization. We sent in a request and received the package at home before my son came home from leave. He saw that package and said thank you for getting it. He was deployed to Iraq just three weeks ago (September 13th, 2006) and he called home last week and could not say “Thank you” enough for getting the pads for his Kevlar. Number one, the helmet was way too big for him and always moved around; number two, all he had in the helmet between him and the outside was a strap and a small donut shaped pad. After he put the pads in the helmet he was ecstatic that it felt good to wear and that he felt much safer to go out on patrols. He also told several of his fellow Marines about the website and to try and request a set of pads. Thank you, Cynthia
03 Oct 2006 – Thank you all for what you are doing, I have tried one of the kevlars with this system in it and it is much better than the ones we are issued. Thank you, Kyle
03 Oct 2006 – I think what you guys are doing is awesome. Thank you, your saving lives. LCPL Juan
03 Oct 2006 – I just wanted to take a moment and personally thank you and your donors for the kits that you’ve sent to my unit here in Iraq. I cannot believe that I actually like to wear my helmet now!!! (Did hell freeze over?…LOL!). My fellow Marines and I are so thankful to receive this kind of support. Thanks again and God Bless the USA, R/S, Sgt Jim, I MEF (Fwd), Camp Fallujah, Iraq
30 Sep 2006 – My son David USMC, Iraq March to Sept 2006. I e-mailed my request for him and the next day a kit was sent to my son. It made me feel better knowing that my Son was a lot more protected. Cher is a BIG Star, and normally Stars are not ones to Support the troops but she put her Time, Name and Money to HELP ALL the Heroes of this war. David said to me he thought it was cool that Cher and others backed this wonderful program and wanted to THANK ALL for this important operation. Lori ofwww.pacificamilitarymoms.com
29 Sep 2006 – I WOULD LIKE TO THANK YOU VERY MUCH FOR THIS GREAT CONTRIBUTION YOU AND YOUR ORGANIZATION ARE MAKING TO THE SUPPORT OF OUR NATION’S MARINES AND SOLDIERS, LOVED ONES AND FRIENDS. THE SAFETY, PROTECTION, AND COMFORT OF MY LOVED ONE AND ALL OF HIS SQUAD/UNIT, FRIENDS AND BROTHERS IS WHAT WE PRAY FOR THE MOST, AND WITH WHAT YOU ARE DOING, THAT IS JUST THE MORE POSSIBLE. WE ARE REQUESTING THESE HELMET KITS FOR MARINES LOCATED IN HADITHA, IRAQ. THEY RECENTLY ARRIVED IN IRAQ ON SEPTEMBER 14, 2006 AND SURE COULD USE ADDITIONAL PROTECTION ASAP! ONCE AGAIN, THANK YOU VERY MUCH FOR THIS CONTRIBUTION….GOD BLESS THE USA, GOD BLESS OUR TROOPS AND GOD BLESS YOU! THANKS CHER……ONCE AGAIN YOU PROVE YOURSELF WITH AN …..”I GOT YOU BABE!”
28 Sep 2006 – TRIED A FRIEND’S HELMET, AND IT WAS VASTLY MORE COMFORTABLE THAN MINE, ESPECIALLY ON LONG DAYS. CPL Benjamin
28 Sep 2006 – Hey, you guys are awesome … I’ve been able to hook up a lot of marines and they are loving the upgrade kit. It is not necessary to send me any more though. We are solid with the amount we got. Thank you so much. Sgt Jon
21 Sep 2006 – I would like to thank you all for what you do for the men and women that serve our country. The fact that you donate you time and money to help keep us safe says something about your character. I know that I’m placing a large order but its not just me that could use the kit. A lot of us have some pretty old gear. A marine from the last PSC [provisional security company] told me that it made life much easier for them, and recommended that I place an order for us. Lance Corporal Michael J
19 Sep 06 – I think it is a great thing you are doing for the troops. We have been looking for a while to find something to help use have a more comfortable helmet an now we found it thank you for your hard work LCpl SA, 3rd LAR
18 Sep 2006 – … I can’t thank your organization enough for taking care of all the servicemen and women that are deployed into harms way. Because of your consideration and thoughtfulness is why we do what we do. The Marines here are doing an outstanding job and I want the best for them and that is why I have submitted the request for the young Marines that are getting it done over here. Thank you very much and Semper Fidelis. GySgt Steve
18 Sep 06 – My wife and other Marines from Camp Lejeune, NC have used you all for their upgrade kits. I put one on my head and am sold. I have been a Marine for over ten years and that is the most comfortable thing out there and still safe to use during convoy ops to help avoid most head trauma from IED attacks and vehicular accidents. SSgt SG.
16 Sep 06 – I’m a Marine currently serving my second tour out here in Iraq…I have received several sets of helmet upgrades from a source, and was told you were responsible for getting them out here for us. I just wanted to formally thank you through this email that the upgrades are of great help. I’ve seen a very select few with them last year, and was tempted to buy it myself, then later found that it was too expensive for my taste. And this year, I’ve gone through half the deployment enduring the pain and headaches from the helmet through long periods of usage. I was especially happy when I received these, and put one on immediately!!! It was way more comfortable, and I have no problems wearing my helmet anymore, no more sweat coming down the forehead, and no more headaches…I now wear it with extreme comfort. I passed out the several sets that I have to my Marines, and they all loved it as I love it. So, from all my Marines and me…’THANK YOU’ for your support, and we’ll continue serving our country knowing that we have people that support us back home. Cpl TS