US troops are more protected "down there" thanks to new ballistic underwear, USA Today reports. Staff Sgt. Ross Cox was wearing the underwear when he stepped on an IED in Afghanistan: His left foot was blown off and his right leg was shattered, but his injuries could have been much worse. "I asked once, I said, 'Hey, are those OK?'" Cox says, referring to his genitals. "He's like, 'Yeah, you're fine. You're fine there.' That's all I needed to know."
Cox and the rest of his brigade were concerned that the protective undergarments, or PUGs, would slow them down—Cox says the underwear is "like a Kevlar diaper"—but when an IED "pretty much took the lower half" of the body of a soldier in another platoon, Cox began to wonder if the PUGs would have helped limit the damage. In fact, genital injuries are down significantly since PUGs were introduced; the underwear can also limit abdominal injuries. "The garment that I was wearing stopped everything from literally blowing up my rear," Cox says. "This literally saved my butt." (Read more US military stories.)