THE PENTAGON — Gore-Tex. Poly-Pro. Snivel Gear. These older systems will soon take a back seat to the Army’s newest cold-weather protection system, sources tell Duffel Blog.
The new kid on the block in terms of preserving soldiers’ body heat is known as PolarTec, which will be ready for mass fielding by the fall of 2015, ushering in a new age of comfort and defense from harsh weather conditions that will be immediately banned by every command sergeant major and field grade officer on the planet.
Defense officials say the combination fur and fleece lining on the interior is second to none. Citing the example of field testing at Fort Drum, it was found that PolarTec lining allows soldiers to operate almost 40 percent longer before having to retreat to warmed tents or buildings.
But it's also the refuge of the slovenly slacker, according to Command Sgt. Maj. Joseph F. Mayfield, who is also Professor Emeritus of Leadership Studies at East Dickhole State University.
“Yeah, uh, these inderviderals who has chosen to wear these outfit,” said Mayfield. “They is just the damn thing. It be clear that they be laxadaiscal about they duty to preform. Any soldier who wear dis ting be a slacker. And any leader who wear dis ting be co-hersing his soldiers to slack awf.”
Unfortunately, Mayfield had to pardon himself from the interview to run outside and scream at a grouse for intruding upon his parade field.
The PolarTec gloves feature a state of the art ThinSkin technology which provides the same protection as half-inch thick fleece gloves, but at a thickness of only two millimeters. The pants and jacket come with inboard body temperature monitors, powered solely by body heat and motion, which silently alert the user when he or she is in danger of hypothermia or low blood sugar. And the PolarTec watch cap not only covers the ears, but has a pull-down wraparound chin and mouth guard.
Still, the uniforms are not without controversy, as some say the commonsense, life-saving innovation is an enormous detriment to good order and discipline.
“If soldiers can put their hands in their pockets,” said Col. Nathan Blood, pausing to insert his pinky finger into his ear. "That can lead to war crimes. As everybody knows, slacking off on uniform discipline or allowing soldiers to shave only once every other day can lead to atrocities. So we got to nip this in the bud.”
“Sure,” Blood added while scratching at his ass and sniffing his hand, “The Army may be issuing this gear. And it may come with pockets and hoods. But that don’t mean we can’t forbid them from ever using those pockets and hoods.”
Sources confirmed that most major commands would forbid soldiers from taking advantage of the many benefits of PolarTec. Officers and sergeants major in charge of this decision are apparently very firm in their views.
“Thousands of soldiers getting frostbite,” said Mayfield, “and literally hundreds of millions of dollars getting paid out for the resulting lifelong medical benefits, are a small price to pay. A small price, so that I can walk along the perimeter in below-freezing weather and see my soldiers not having their hands in their pockets.”
“Or,” he added, pausing to check his tooth gap for stray asparagus, “preventing their ears and faces from being frostbitten.”
At press time, Acquisition Corps sources confirmed that the new cold-weather gear would be available in BDU and ACU patterns.