U.S. defence chief praises soldier who took on Taliban in pink boxers and flip-flops

American soldiers have more than military might and training on their side in the war in Afghanistan: Some have pink underwear.

Soldiers from the U.S. Army First Battalion

WASHINGTON — American soldiers have more than military might and training on their side in the war in Afghanistan: Some have pink underwear.

U.S. Defence Secretary Robert Gates tells the story of Specialist Zachary Boyd, roused from sleep by enemy fire at his post in eastern Afghanistan.

Gates says Boyd “immediately grabbed his rifle and rushed into a defensive position clad in his helmet, body armour, and pink boxer shorts that read ’I Love New York.”’

Gates told a New York audience Thursday that “unfortunately, or fortunately, depending on your perspective, an AP photographer was there for a candid shot.”

The photograph by David Guttenfelder ran on the front page of the New York Times.

Gates said Boyd later told his parents he might get fired, but the defence secretary assured his audience at the Intrepid museum, and Boyd, that his job was safe.

“Any soldier who goes into battle against the Taliban in pink boxers and flip-flops has a special kind of courage,” Gates said, adding that Boyd may have hit on a new kind of psychological warfare.

“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.”

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