SEOUL -- Black padded jackets became an essential winter item for some 124,000 front-line soldiers guarding the inter-Korean border, reflecting the fad among young South Koreans to wear jackets filled with down feathers.
The defense ministry said Wednesday that it began supplying black quilted and padded jackets filled with down feathers to front-line army camps from October. The supply of new winter jackets will be finished at the end of November.
Unlike functional cold-weather uniforms specialized for operational missions, padded military jackets are made of comfortable material so that soldiers can wear them freely for their ordinary barrack life. They are equipped with basic functions such as waterproofing and based on popular designs in the private sector to satisfy the taste of young soldiers.
All able-bodied South Korean men aged 18-35 are required to serve in the military for about two years because the Korean peninsula is still technically at war as the 1950-53 Korean War ended in an armistice with no peace treaty signed between the two Koreas.
A survey of 240 soldiers who received padded winter jackets showed a satisfaction rating of 91 points, the ministry said, adding it aims to distribute padded jackets as an essential item to all soldiers who will be drafted next year.
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