British Soldiers Get Germ-Fighting Undies
Fri Aug 19, 6:59 AM ET
LONDON - British troops combating the heat and dust of
Iraq and Afghanistan have a new weapon in their armory — germ-fighting underwear. The antimicrobial underpants have been introduced by the Ministry of Defense as part of a new desert uniform for soldiers. They are the first undergarments issued to British troops, who traditionally have had to supply their own.
Military officials said Thursday the unisex trunks were made from artificial fibers for comfort, with silver particles woven into the material to prevent sweating.
"It is coated to prevent bacterial infection, and we have tried to arrange the seams so that they don't chafe," Col. Silas Suchanek, who led the team that procured the new equipment, said Thursday.
The army's new desert kit also includes boots with rubber soles designed to withstand temperatures of up to 572 degrees, wraparound sunglasses, light Kevlar-nylon helmets and "combat sandals" for off-duty wear.
The British Army has faced criticism for allegedly inadequate equipment. A government report on a military exercise in Oman in 2001 found that soldiers complained that standard-issue boots fell apart or melted in the sun and in some instances caused foot rot, while the man-made fibers of standard uniforms resulted in heat-stress illnesses.
The government acknowledged that at least a quarter of troops bought some of their own equipment, with U.S. Army desert boots a particular favorite.
Armed Forces Minister Adam Ingram said the new equipment would make Britain's troops "among the best equipped in the world, ready to face environments ranging from desert conditions in Iraq, monsoon conditions in Brunei, to winter in the Balkans."
"Support for the modern serviceman or woman starts from the skin out," Ingram said.
The defense ministry said the new underwear was already being issued to troops. The rest of the equipment will be introduced by March.
The Brits have had crappy "kit" throughout the 20th century, if what I've read is at all true. I'm mainly referring to 782 gear and such.
Maybe somebody with more experience with British kit can elaborate on specifics.