I couldn’t even begin to count the number of soldiers and marines I’ve met who wear those wicking, Under Armour t-shirts. Especially in hot weather, the form-fitting, synethic shirts do a nice job of keeping sweat from collecting, so you don’t get too clammy under those cammos.
But now, in one of the hottest places of all — Iraq — marines won’t be able to wear the clothes any more.
Marines conducting operations outside forward operating bases and camps in Iraq can no longer wear synthetic athletic clothing containing polyester and nylon, Marine Corps commanders have ordered.
The ban on popular clothing from companies like Under Armour, CoolMax and Nike comes in the wake of concerns that a substantial burn risk is associated with wearing clothing made with these synthetic materials, officials said.
When exposed to extreme heat and flames, clothing containing some synthetic materials like polyester will melt and can fuse to the skin. This essentially creates a second skin and can lead to horrific, disfiguring burns, said Navy Capt. Lynn E. Welling, the 1st Marine Logistics Group head surgeon.
Whether on foot patrol or conducting a supply convoy while riding in an armored truck, everyone is at risk to such injuries while outside the wire.
Under Armour has been aware of the risk for a while, it seems. As Stars & Stripes notes, there’s a message on the company’s web site which reads:
Do not wear Under Armour products when exposed to extreme radiant heat or open flames. Under Armour products may melt in extreme heat that exceeds 350F. Never use Under Armour products as a substitute for flame-retardant or ballistic protective equipment.
Back in October, the Marines announced a new set of official skivvie shirts that were just “like the Under Armour shirts.”