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American Apparel one of Selma’s links to Iraqi war

When Selma residents turn on the television to watch the latest coverage of Operation Iraqi Freedom, chances are a piece of their hometown is being displayed on the screen.

For the past 26 years, American Apparel has been the largest supplier of military uniforms in the entire nation.

Headquartered in Selma with four branches across the state, those who work for the company have been diligently making sure U.S. troops have adequate protection against the forces of nature.

Jim Hodo, the 53-year-old vice president and chief operating officer, said production has risen since before the start of the war.

Hodo said the company

recently received more orders for desert-colored camouflage instead of the usual woodlawn (green) camouflage uniforms.

With around 440,000 coats and trousers being shipped off each week, employees at American Apparel have been working hard and long to make sure U.S. troops have a piece of Selma on their backs as they head for battle.

For the men and women who work at American Apparel, sewing and stitching these uniforms gives them a sense of pride.

Operator Diane Arnold has a picture of her nephew in his military uniform taped to her sewing machine.

Plant manager Irene Winstead said Arnold is not alone. Many of the employees have sons, daughters, husbands or wives serving their country.

Despite the increase in production, Service Personnel Ronnie McMillien said he is not bothered by the hectic pace to get the uniforms shipped out.

Supervisor Sarah Pugh said everyone at the company has developed this stronger sense of pride since the war began.