What is the Woobie?


What is the Woobie?

By Debbie Gregory

Anyone who has ever served in the military is familiar with the “woobie.”  The woobie is every service member’s all-weather battle buddy.

The woobie is made up of two layers of nylon surrounding a polyester filling. Tie-cords on the corners and side could be tied through matching grommets on rain ponchos. In hot weather, the woobie is just light enough to be the perfect blanket. If the weather is cold, the woobie keeps you toasty warm.

The magical poncho liner has been a staple of deployed life since it was first introduced during the war in Vietnam. The intent was to field an item which was lighter and faster drying than the standard-issue Army Wool Blanket, which had been rendered all but obsolete in the wet and tropical environment of Vietnam. Even when soaking wet, the poncho liner wrapped around a soldier would trap body heat.

The original woobies were fielded by special forces in 1962. Around 1963, the next generation of woobie was created utilizing WWII duck-hunter-patterned parachute fabric. Until the Marine Corps produced their own Digital Woodland Pattern, most poncho liners were produced with the same pattern on both sides. The Marines decided to field one with Woodland Pattern on one side and a solid Coyote Color on the other. The fabric entrusted with soldiers’ lives was recycled and repurposed to continue its contributions to those who serve.

The woobie can be a blanket, a pillow, a shelter, a hammock, a concealment…the possibilities are endless. Most transitioning service members will gladly pay the $42.95 reimbursement fee to keep their woobies.

The woobie provides comfort and a feeling of safety and security. It’s a staple of any infantryman’s loadout, and though it may follow the poncho on gear lists, the woobie follows nothing in the hearts of warriors.