During my deployment in Iraq, we had to inspect and re-inspect our kevlar helmets every time the supply section received a new list of bogus and recalled helmet lot numbers, which seemed like it was almost weekly or monthly at times (it happened a hell of a lot, enough to not trust your gear, and make you say WTF). My helmet was never on any of the lists and it stayed with me throughout my deployment.
I knew that they were being recalled during the deployment, but I didn’t know that prisoners were making them with homemade tools that resembled prison shanks and hatchets. I recently found this out after reading an Army Times article that revealed even more controversy surrounding the recalled helmets made in the prison system. The helmets involved in the DOJ inspector general and Defense Criminal Investigative Service (DCIS) investigations were the Advance Combat Helmets (ACH) and Lightweight Marine Corps Helmets (LMCH) made in 2008 to 2009 (recalled in 2010). The FPI (Federal Prison Industries) a government-owned corporation and ArmorSource, LLC a private owned company, are at the heart of the investigations.
Here are the photos below that were released by the DOJ:
According to the article, a new DOJ report from the two investigations was just released which identified even more issues with how the helmets were made. ArmorSource LLC (ArmorSource) was awarded the contract to manufacture and sell Advance Combat Helmets (ACH) and Lightweight Marine Corps Helmets (LMCH) to the Department of Defense (DOD) and FPI was hired as a subcontractor to fulfill the contract. The main issue: ArmorSource, LLC provided little to no oversight of FPI or the manufacturing process which resulted in the helmets being constructed with substandard materials and tools. Next, FPI and the prisoners falsified documents stating that the deficient helmets passed inspection, they were then sold to the DoD.