Marines Ban Under Armour

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.”

  • AndyB

    In the USAF they’ve been telling us this for years.
    Same reason.

  • James

    It’s been known at least since the Sheffield got hit in the Falklands War. For that matter, I think the US Navy has maintained that cotton is the best material for its sailors since WW2 because it seems to protect against flash burns in an explosion.

  • Kevin

    Potomac Field Gear has some interesting products that claim:
    * Fire Resistant. Won’t melt or drip
    * High Performance Wicking
    * Incorporates X-Static for anti-microbial action
    * Four way stretch
    * American Made
    There is a long video at http://www.quanticoarms.com/media/pfg/pfgApf1a.wmv
    Not sure if anyone has run formal tests on this. It’s also expensive, as $27 per shirt.
    I still don’t see why there isn’t more use of nomex for ground troops uniforms.

  • Emastro

    I think children’s clothes have a fire rating and polyester was shied away from because of that-
    Why does the military always have to reinvent the wheel (hammer, ashtray)?
    I have a British Naval shirt that is treated for fire resistance- its made of cotton- again, post Falklands you’d think they knew something-
    I ‘ve never seen a Nomex t-shirt - the overalls I’ve seen were pretty rough- definately not underwear material. I heard there was a global shortage of Nomex- has anyone else heard that?

  • dave

    This is the desert. Its hot. Nothing will change that. This is the Marine Corps. Quit crying and do the job. The arabs have lived in the desert w/o “cool shirts” for centuries.

    • Marine

      there you go. Lets not try to improve on things….lets do it same way forever.

  • hempydave

    Hemp shirts are durable, resist rot and mildew,baterial growth ,absorb/wick sweat well,
    also highly resistant to flame and will char rather than melt, greatly reduceing burn injuriues.

  • John

    Check out Tac Wear, they have a moisture wicking Nomex t-shirt, long sleeve shirt and long johns. They are at http://www.tacwear.com. These shirts stand up to the Thermoman burn testing.
    Great stuff.

  • Old Navy

    It comes around again, and again, and again. In the 80’s - the last century USN bann’d syn, poly, material , and plastic (corfam) shoes from all engineering spaces.
    As I remember two sailors were burn when the poly kaki’s and “plastc” shoes melted on them during a emgineering room fire. I guess every generation has to learn.
    Is gortex OK…how about race car drivers - what di they wear?

  • bannery reklamowe

    Fantastic article! Very useful informations. I really love it, can I recommend it to my friends?

  • gry

    Hemp shirts are durable, resist rot and mildew,baterial growth ,absorb/wick sweat well,
    also highly resistant to flame and will char rather than melt, greatly reduceing burn injuriues.

  • Brautmoden

    Funny Idea, that someone would wear a shirt like this to avoid bullets ;-))

  • budowa dom

    Good article