NPR logo Gates Defends Soldier's Pink Undies

Gates Defends Soldier's Pink Undies

Spc. Zachery Boyd of Fort Worth, Texas, far left was wearing 'I love NY' boxer shorts after rushing from his sleeping quarters to join his fellow platoon members. AP Photo/David Guttenfelder hide caption

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AP Photo/David Guttenfelder

If you're a male U.S. soldier who has the misfortune of being photographed wearing pink underwear while engaging the Taliban in Afghanistan, it's good to know the Defense Secretary has your back.

Defense Secretary Robert Gates gave a humorous shout-out to Army Specialist Zachery Boyd during a speech in New York City Thursday night.

As the Associated Press reports, Gates explained that after Boyd's unit came under Taliban attack:

"He immediately grabbed his rifle and rushed into a defensive position clad in his helmet, body armor, and pink boxer shorts that said 'I Love New York. Unfortunately, or fortunately, depending on your perspective, an AP photographer was there for a candid shot."

According to the AP, Boyd had been worried that he might be disciplined. But it sounds like that's not likely to happen, at least not from the SecDef. Also, it sounds like Gates could be considering adding some new clothing items to soldiers' gear.

Here's Gates, again from the AP:

"Any soldier who goes into battle against the Taliban in pink boxers and flip-flops has a special kind of courage. I can only wonder about the impact on the Taliban. Just imagine seeing that - a guy in pink boxers and flip-flops has you in his crosshairs."