This is the last known picture ever taken of Steve. He waved that flag one more time and was NEVER seen again. Thank God! Wierdo…
This may not be so much an informational review, but rather more of an endorsement. In conversation the other day, we realized that some newer generation of warfighters may be amiss to a very special item which really should be included in everything we do. It’s a unique piece of kit, which supports, motivates, enables exposure to the elements, contributes to mission success, team building, and even lasting family relationships.
No, I’m not speaking about a Woobie. Although this beloved item also requires detailed recognition. I am talking about Silkies. The beloved piece of attire which supports your goods, man or woman, and can go weeks without washing yet retain its smooth and clean look has received attention in the recent years due to some hard core veterans representing during ruck marches and charity events. However true understanding of Silkies may be by and large lost on the mainstream grunt these days, and often gets confused for a type of chicken. If you believe your search engine anyway.
Perhaps the movement away from using Silkies during regular PT has gone away due to general political correctness of our society and deactivation of many military standards which have made us great and mighty in previous decades. The overall lack of priorities, shift in focus from doing to talking, from practice to theory, may have made utilization of Silkies an exclusive token of accomplishment only for those who strive to be the best.
But don’t be dismayed.
As motivating as it is, you don’t have to finish Ranger School or 2 years of PJ curriculum to wear them. Just the fact that you will chafe less wearing them, should push you that extra mile. The current Marine Corps standards allow for wearing of Silkies during individual PT, put not unit or formation type activities. Chesty Puller would certainly disapprove of this nonsense, and probably discourage wearing of PT shorts which shape like a dress and help you parasail.
But while the Marine Corps would have us believe that all the credit for thighs out-guns out, should go to them, the debatable fact remains that the Army was the first to implement the GQ operator look, which led to the current Silkie-Fi nation. Although the exact date is unknown, and none of my contacts on the teams would confirm or deny this, the anthropologic history seems to indicate sometime in the mid 70’s to early 80’s, some dog face hard charger decided that having more thigh and free movement of your privates enhances mobility and the asymmetrical warfare missions his team was charged with.
While the Army became and remains overall lighter in the shorts than the Marine Corps, they went away from using Silkies on the daily. The beloved Corps on the other hand, as well as some Navy units continued their utilization under the guise that the key/condom pocket in the new PT attire was useless, because of the effective weekend safety briefs.
Overtime Silkies remained a symbol of achievement. True to their roots, the Army Rangers continued their use, calling them Ranger Panties. Ounce for ounce, a pair of Silkies probably weighs less that your girlfriend’s panties, so “panties” is truly an appropriate naming of the nomenclature.
Speaking of nomenclature, Silkies aren’t just for men. In fact, with the equalization of the genders in the military, we are likely to see their wear rise, as will the overall troop morale. In fact rumor is, that in a time capsule under a bunker in Utah, there is a Field Manual with Patton’s name on it, predating any current application of Silkie uniform standards, and describing their proper use. For men, the direction is to purchase a size smaller than they regularly wear.
This encourages proper air circulation, freedom of movement, and uniform appearance. If you are concerned that your general or any implements thereof may be exposed, that’s ok. The idea is to focus on the task at hand, and encourage others to do the same. It’s stress inoculation training at its finest. It also saves on showers and laundry in the field. If you don’t have that concern, no worries there either. The less restrictive nature of the garment encourages proper development of proper execution, and you will get there. For women, the rules are a lot more relaxed. Wear any size you want. Because let’s be honest, if you’re happy – we’re happy, and then everyone is happy.
The responsibility to educate is upon all of us. Whether you choose OD Green or black, with a logo or without, original Soffee or some other unnamed imitation, Silkies are more than just a symbol of unique accomplishment. It is a symbol of community, perseverance and old school, proven reliability. You don’t have to worry about stolen valor wearing them, but you do need to prove that you are a decent human being. Even Silkies can’t guarantee that. They sell out quickly, and some sizes are in higher demand than others. Some of the reliable places to find a pair of your liking are Amazon, Ranger Up, and Zero Foxtrot. Silkie-Fi.
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originally published Oct 18, 2016