Why "Military Grade?"

 

Combat Flip Flops Floperator with subdued American Flag Patch set

“Military Grade.”  We get more responses to these two words than anything we’ve published to Facebook.  

If you saw this ad, it’s because the Facebook machine thinks you’re the type of person that might like our products, the mission, and generally a good person.  Most of our customers are related to the military, so you maybe even served.  If so, “thanks” from a few veterans to another.    

Unfortunately, Facebook became a place for most people to comment and vent with no response or repercussions.  We’ve all done it.  We see a new ad, shared post, whatever and feel the need to comment positively or negatively without actually clicking on the article --demonstrating the cardio endurance of the thumbs and eyes to consume information. 

There’s just so much on Al Gore’s internet.  How can one person be a functional human being, read everything, and respond intelligently?  Unless you’re a trust fund baby with a Good Will Hunting aptitude to consume and process massive amounts of media, it’s impossible.  

If you’re reading this, it’s because we dropped the link in response to your “military grade” response.  You may have commented from a position of experience, skepticism, or just drafting everybody else. 

Regardless, this blog is for you. 

If you weren’t aware, the founders of Combat Flip Flops respond to every comment.  It’s company policy.  We do our best to respond with kindness and facts to every comment in the hopes you’ll join our mission to create security and safety through business and education.  So let’s get to the kindness and facts.

Military Grade is a ubiquitous term to describe materials durable enough to withstand the rigor of use by a U.S. servicemember.  Technically it needs to follow the Military Specification MIL-W-4088K.  This specification was written in 1988. Anybody that wants to supply to the U.S. Military needs to meet this standard and must submit test results to qualify for DoD contracts.  This is the way.  

Since 2001, the need for stronger, lighter, infrared resistant, and more durable personal protective equipment (PPE) drove the industry to increase nylon quality to simply perform better.  The nylon provided to the military today is the best it’s ever been. That said, the material you may have worn went through a competitive process governed by the Federal Aquisition Regulations and was chosen by the criteria below:

 Technically Acceptable at the Lowest Cost.  


Yes, lowest cost.  Sometimes it's "best value," but mostly the job goes to the lowest bidder.  The DoD uses taxpayer dollars to outfit an Army to wage war.  This isn’t REI and Uncle Sam doesn’t care how cool it looks.  This isn’t the best gear by far.  It’s gear that was specified based on millions of use cases, bid out, and made by American workers. 

The Berry Amendment is a statutory requirement that restricts the Department of Defense (DoD) from using funds appropriated or otherwise available to DoD for procurement of food, clothing, fabrics, fibers, yarns, other made-up textiles, and hand or measuring tools that are not grown, reprocessed, reused, or produced in the United States.  Congress originally passed this domestic source restriction as part of the 1941 Fifth Supplemental DoD Appropriations Act in order to protect the domestic industry base in the time of war.

Simply put, Americans make Military Grade or Mil-Spec equipment from the fiber-forward in the United States of America.  America does this to protect the supply chain for the Department of Defense in case of something like… War.   Not only does it protect the supply chain, it creates a stupefying number of jobs for Americans.  

If you’ve made it this far, the "Military Grade" as referenced in the ad that drove you here is made in the United States by Americans.  So when people crack on the term, we cringe a little because the second most passive-aggressive comment and question on this ad is, “Are they made in America?”    Typically, the person that makes this comment is the same person that cracks on the term, “Military Grade.”  Maybe it’s just the agro nature of social media these days, but it’s tough to tell what lane people choose to be agro about. 

Getting back to the subject at hand, let’s get down to our rationale on the term and product that drove you here.  

Before Combat Flip Flops, we were Army Rangers.  Not Ranger qualified--Ranger Regiment.  If there is a collective group of people that know how to destroy anything put on them or in front of them, it’s Rangers.  As the joke goes...

"You can give an Army Ranger a cannonball in each hand and tell him to cross the street.  Before he gets to the other side, he’ll eat one and break the other." 

Destruction is a large part of the game and a stigma held with pride. 

Since 2001, the PPE issued to Army Rangers improved drastically to support the most effective, most destructive, and most deployed unit in the DoD.  This isn’t the stuff you get in the basic training or the conventional military.  Crye, Patagonia, Arc’teryx, Eagle, etc.  All the big names pimped by IG influencers is made in the U.S., by Americans, to feed the Ranger machine.  The gear is a testament to the hard work, creativity, and persistence of USSOCOM, American textile manufacturers, and Special Operations GWOT funding provided by the U.S. taxpayer.  

Unless you served under USSOCOM, you unlikely saw any of this gear and your negative “military grade” experience holds weight.  In this case, it doesn’t.  Combat Flip Flops sources the same nylon for the Floperators that is issued to USSOCOM.   We could source the nylon elsewhere, but we haven’t found a nylon that looks, feels, and performs as good as the U.S. made material in every pair of Floperators.  We uphold the Ranger Standard. 

We purchase premium nylon from domestic manufacturers, ship to our production facility in Colombia, employ people affected by conflict, and then donate a day of education for an Afghan girl with each pair sold. 

If you can’t see the goodness in any or all of that, Facebook’s machine didn’t do a good job of serving you the ad because you’re likely never going to be happy with anything we do.  That said, we truly appreciate you reading this far. 

But wait, there’s more…

People either don’t research where we came from or why we do what we do, but we’re waging war with Business, Not Bullets.  This is our life’s work.  Our experience downrange in the military and afterward led us to the conclusion that nothing stops war like business.  


 

Instead of saying, “Thank you for your Service,” slapping a support sticker on a car,  flying a Flag on the 4th, or sharing a post on Veteran’s day, we go to work every day with the hopes that our friends, your friends, or somebody’s son/daughter/father/mother doesn’t have to deploy downrange to return home missing a limb or worse, entombed in a flag draped box.  Every job created, every girl educated, every person spreading that message gets us one step closer toward that goal. 

So what do we do?  We make cool products in war zones, snap cool photos, and pay for ads on Facebook.  We could do that all day, every day--and have absolutely zero effect.  Facebook is a pay to play game and unless there’s ***engagement***, they don’t serve the ad. 

You know what happened when you commented on “military grade?”  You engaged.  You made our ads more effective.  You helped us reach somebody able to see the goodness in the mission.  And if you clicked on this link, you helped us gain site relevance with more traffic.  The two words, “Military Grade” funded over 50 girls in school this year.   Most people would be mad about people trashing their product in the comments without research, but we only have one response:

Thank you. 




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