U.S. Army surplus hats still being made in China

Don't Waste Your Money

Federal law requires soldier's uniforms to be made in America, not some far off place like Bangladesh, Vietnam, or China.

But one veteran is wondering why he just bought some Army merchandise that was anything but American made.

Wanted: Official Ball Cap

Peter Hollister served his country for 30 years, since the Vietnam War, and is now a retired Army officer.    

He recently decided he wanted a US Army ball cap, so he went to the Army Air Force Exchange's official website, www.aafes.com .

"There is a section of the website for retired military gear, and sure enough this cap was in that," he said.

The website photo even says "Made in the USA."

But when he received his cap, he was stunned to find a label that said "Made in China."

"That's what bothered me the most," he said. "I wasn't buying it at some knock-off place, I paid $29.95 for it, and it was made in China."

He thought the armed forces had a rule against using clothing made in other countries.

What Does The Law Say?

The debate over uniforms made in other countries came to a head shortly after 9/11. Congress passed an even tougher version of the World War II-era Buy American law, called the Berry Amendment, with much stricter rules as of 2006.

So we checked the law, and learned that the military's Buy American law pertains to soldier uniforms and gear purchased by the government, not surplus that's sold at military exchanges.

A spokesman told us:

"The Exchange supports U.S. made products. However, in order to maintain our assortments, sometimes we must partner with an overseas vendor. China still enjoys a 'favored nation' status in U.S. Trade agreements."

Hollister understands, but still thinks its wrong for clothing representing US soldiers to be made in other countries.

"It's like buying an American flag made in China," he said. "And I've done that too."

And yes, you can still find those for sale.  As always, don't waste your money.

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