But a young US soldier found himself battling the enemy in his underwear when his platoon came under a sudden attack by Taleban militants in Afghanistan on Monday.
Zachary Boyd, 19, was sleeping when the ambush occurred and only had time to put on his helmet and body armor before grabbing his gun and rushing into action, leaving his "I love New York" pink boxers on full display.
Army Specialist Boyd, fighting in Afghanistan with the US Army First Battalion, phoned home to warn his family of his sudden notoriety, much to the amusement of his parents.
"He said, ‘I hear the Times is what they put on the President's desk’," said his mother, Sheree Boyd. "Then he told us, ‘I may not have a job any more after the President has seen me out of uniform’.
"It was typical. He has always been an interesting little character."
His father Tommy said he couldn’t stop laughing at seeing Boyd in pink boxers.
"I ran to the computer and looked at The New York Times right quick," Mr Boyd told Texas radio station WBAP. "Lo and behold, I saw his pink underwear and just laughed for about the next five minutes."
"I knew he was a boxer guy, I knew that for sure. I did not know they were pink, and I didn't know they said, ‘I love New York’."
Boyd’s parents said he became motivated to join the US Army after the terror attacks on America on September 11, 2001 — perhaps the reason he was wearing ‘I love New York’ underwear.
Boyd was promoted to an army specialist last week and says he hopes to someday lead men in combat – hopefully in full uniform.