Today, U.S. troops stationed in Iraq, Afghanistan, Kosovo and South Korea, as well as many parts of the United State, are exposed to winds and bitter cold during the winter months. Riding in open trucks and humvees, they often encounter sub-zero wind chills.
The military head gear issued to our troops is made of synthetic material which is not as warm as wool. Just as in WWI and WWII, volunteers are needed to make wool caps for our troops. The wool head covering which can be worn under the Kevlar helmet provides warmth to the head and neck but does not restrict vision.
According to Dr. Richard H. Garretson, M.D., Crossroad Community Hospital, Mt. Vernon, Ill., approximately 30 percent of a person’s body heat loss is through the head. It is important to keep the head warm, so the body temperature stays up. The brain controls everything else in the body, the ability to think and act, as well as the ability for the body to maintain a particular temperature.
One way to increase the comfort level of our troops in cold climates is to provide knitted wool helmet liners, or “wooly pulleys” to them. Patterns for the helmet liners are available at www.geocities.com/helmetliner.
In addition to the helmet liner pattern, there are also patterns for scarves and neck gators. In order to meet regulations set by the armed forces, only 100 percent soft wool can be used. Suggested brands of yarn are Cascade 220, Lamb’s Pride Worsted or Paton’s Classic Merino. Synthetic yarn, such as acrylic, cannot be used. Wool has the double advantage of retaining its warmth when wet and in the event of a fire, will not melt. There are also restrictions on the colors which may be used. The only approved colors are black, gray, brown, and tan. The Web site also contains some responses from the troops. One major wrote, “It means a great deal to those of us serving that there are kind and generous people back home thinking about us.”
The Sarah Platt Decker Chapter, National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution is incorporating knitting for the troops as part of Project Patriot. The DAR Project Patriot Committee is the official Daughters of the American Revolution committee that supports America’s service personnel in current conflicts abroad. Chapter members have begun knitting and hope that others will be interested in participating in this worthwhile project. If you do not have Internet access and would like a pattern, call Lynn Constan, 264-5451, to receive the patterns by mail. The patterns contain instructions for mailing the completed helmet liners, however, if you prefer, contact Constan and she will arrange for a DAR member to pick up your items and mail them for you.
The Sarah Platt Decker chapter, organized in 1917, is one of 39 chapters in Colorado. Meetings are held once a month from September through May in Durango. The 70-member chapter includes women from Durango, Pagosa Springs, Chromo and Bayfield. The DAR promotes historic preservation, education, and patriotism. Membership is open to any woman 18 years or older, regardless of race, religion or ethnic background, who can prove lineal descent from a Patriot of the American Revolution. Members of the chapter are willing to provide guidance and assistance in the preparation of your application. Those women interested in membership can find information on the chapter’s Web site, www.coloradodar.org/chapters/sarahplattdecker/ or by calling Sandy Howe, chapter regent, 731-1274.