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Pantyhose article reposted from Seattle Times

U.S. soldiers find comfort — in pantyhose

The Associated Press

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BAGHDAD, Iraq — What do U.S. soldiers use to cope with the grit and heat of Iraq? Why, cottony women’s underthings, diaper ointments, pantyhose and moist wipes with the aroma of baby powder.

Drugstore products usually reserved for women like pantyhose and baby wipes, are all the rage among U.S. troops in Iraq.

“In the middle of the desert, somebody would’ve traded you his sister for a pack of baby wipes,” said U.S. Army Military Police Sgt. James Karm, 29, who patrols west Baghdad in a Humvee. “You could’ve got anything you wanted.”

And baby wipes, according to Spc. Rebecca Burt, “are the only thing that takes camouflage makeup off.”

Women’s panty liners — an absorbent patch with an adhesive back — are perfect for mopping a sweat-basted brow that bakes under a helmet.

“They’ll put them in the front of their hats and helmets as a sweat band,” Burt said while driving a Humvee with a blue plastic box of Softs baby wipes next to her seat. Otherwise, the hat band gets sweaty and dirty. Next thing you know, there’s a stripe of pimples across your forehead.

“You can break out real bad,” she said, yanking off her floppy cap and showing the grimy hat band.

For those long marches, pantyhose are just the thing to replace the chaffing of socks and boots with the swish of nylon. You don’t wear the whole thing, just the part below the knees, Karm said.

“Some people swear pantyhose keeps you from getting blisters,” he said.

Soldiers’ packages from home are loaded with such gear. A 64-pack of Kotex Lightdays panty liners and a package of Huggies baby wipes sits in a box next to the coffee maker at the headquarters of the U.S. Army’s 709th Military Police Battalion.

Burt senses a business opportunity. She figures she’ll market camouflage-packaged baby wipes and panty liners, laden with macho-guy cologne instead of flowery women’s perfume.

“Some of your toughest men in the Army wear pantyhose,” she said.

Copyright © 2003 Seattle Times Company, All Rights Reserved.


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