Civil Air Patrol (CAP) cadets from the Lake Houston-area Marauder Composite Squadron are asking the community to help provide helmet upgrade kits to American troops who are deployed to forward combat areas. The effort, dubbed Operation Helmet, was devised by a retired Navy doctor to make the helmets more protective and more comfortable. During February, at booths throughout the community, the cadets are encouraging passers-by to compare the upgraded helmet pads to the government-issue (GI) pads that are on display. “The difference is obvious,” states CAP Cadet Lt. Col. Daniel Shellhouse, who organized the effort. “The GI pads are stiff, they don't wick moisture and are not nearly as impact-resistant as the upgraded pads. It's not just about comfort, the new pads offer much greater protection as well.” Shellhouse is a junior at Kingwood High School. The cadets' display includes a stack of recent e-mails from frontline combat troops, requesting the upgraded pads--and pointing out the deficiencies of their issued pads. “This is strictly a volunteer effort,” said Cadet Chief Master Sgt. Matthew Burrell, a senior at Kingwood Park High School. “No salaries or overhead come out of the donations. It all goes to helmet kits for front-line troops. Each kit costs $34, but donations of any amount are welcome.” “Right now we have enough to supply a platoon, about 30 troops. Our goal is to provide at least 120 kits, the equivalent of a company or a squadron,” added Shellhouse. “We plan to adopt an entire unit before they deploy to Afghanistan or Iraq in the next month or so.” Cadets will present the Operation Helmet display at the Kingwood Kroger store Saturday, Feb 26. Mail-in donations, which are tax deductible, may made payable to Operation Helmet and sent to: Operation Helmet 3011 Emerald Grove Dr. Kingwood, Texas 77345 Contact information regarding Operation Helmet is available under the membership tab at TX409.com. Photo: Civil Air Patrol Cadet Lt. Col. Daniel Shellhouse assists Jeremiah Small, age 2, as he tries on an upgraded Advanced Combat Helmet (ACH) at the Kingwood Kroger store.

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