Open Letter from: Mike Dennis,CEO/President of Oregon Aero”
The saga of helping keeping our troops safe by providing protective and comfortable helmet padding.
When Oregon Aero was making the helmet pads, at peak production we created 80,000 kits a month. When the powers that be cut off the orders the pipe was full, it took a while to ramp back down so we have a significant inventory as a consequence. We’ve been talking about it here and decided to expedite the delivery of the pad kits to the people who need them buy selling them to Operation Helmet at cost. As we consume this inventory and begin to make more kits the price will need to be adjusted but we’re happy to help as much as we can. We’ll let you know long before this is an issue.
If you guess that there was a considerable upfront expense, you’d be correct. The research, development, patent work and plant costs exceeded 7 million dollars. We never saw this coming. The original conversation with Special Operations Command in the mid-1990s was to make 500 special purpose helmets more wearable. The program spiraled out from there and took us with it. No business in their right mind would spend this kind of money on a program without a contract. Apparently we don’t know any better. At the time, the Marine Corps was processing 10 traumatic brain injuries (TBI) cases a day using their (unpadded…ed) Marine Lightweight Helmets (MLWH). By their own estimate the cost was 3 million dollars over the life of the injured soldier. 30 million dollars a day! This went on for two years before the Marines stopped making the information available to the public. Sadly these are just the numbers; the personal disaster far exceeds this. It was shameful.
We’re still here, spinning our understanding of non Newtonian physics to solve other pressing troubles. We’ve developed a mattress overlay that prevents the condition that leads to bed sores. 60,000 people a year die from this hospital acquired injury. The first successful device in 5000 years of recorded history.
We’re proud to participate with Operation Helmet and we stand ready to provide combat helmet pads to our American warriors.