Sleeve Rolling

An officer candidate developed the Sleeve Assist so Marines can easily remove their blouses, even when they've rolled their sleeves too tightly.

A Marine officer candidate has figured out a way to get your big guns out of those moto-tight sleeve rolls turning your arms purple.

Joshua Keeven, a senior with the Naval Reserve Officer Training Corps at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana, devised a gadget — the Sleeve Assist — that can which seamlessly removes your the blouse despite those tightly rolled sleeves. He found himself thrust into the spotlight this week Monday evening when "Terminal Lance" creator Maximilian Uriarte posted a video of Keeven demonstrating his new invention.

The video — which has since garnered over 1.7 million views, almost 10,000 shares and more than 17,000 likes — was never intended to go public, Keeven said.

"One of my friends who just got to his first assignment in California asked me to send him a video of it, so I just asked my buddy to pull out a cell phone," Keeven told Marine Corps Times he said. "...We just had drill in the morning, were watching 'How I Met Your Mother' and having breakfast, and I didn’t really think about it until it was too late."

Keeven's product The Sleeve Assist clips to the rolled sleeve on a Marine's blouse and liberates the upper arm when a loop is pushed down with the foot. He spends about the first minute of the video attaching these clips before demonstrating how the devise can loosen up the sleeves. Over the one minute and six seconds of video - with Robin Sparkles/Daggers singing "P.S. I Love You" in the background - Keevan shows us how it's done.

"I think the funniest part about the whole video is how long it takes to figure out what the hell he's doing," Uriarte told Marine Corps Times. "The device is so complicated and strange, it looks like some kind of shirt stay for sleeves or something."

"Sleeves Up II"

Photo Credit: Maximilian Uriarte

Keeven had the idea to create conceived of the Sleeve Assist last September when he returned to school and NROTC drill to find weightlifting had swollen his arms to the point that removing the uniform top had become a painful, agonizing event. The tight sleeves of his blouse had become painfully constricting, turning his arms purple, he said.

"My buddies tried to help me, but I got these giant blood blisters because they had to cram their fingers in: you're sweaty and it wouldn't come off, you're wriggling and … that's why I got the idea," Keeven said. "I figured some device smaller and stronger than their fingers could help a lot of Marines."

This set the 22-year-old chemical engineering student on a mission.

Keeven found specialized inelastic webbing and clips from a cargo equipment company online that which hold up to 90 pounds each. Sewing by hand, he worked through 10 ten different prototypes before arriving at the perfect design.

"It's not super complicated," he said.

While Although Keeven originally intended to only make a few copies of the gadget for friends, he’s been swamped with hundreds of requests since Uriarte shared Terminal Lance posted the video on Facebook. Most surprising has been the number of spouses interested in buying the Sleeve Assist, tired of helping their husbands remove their blouses at the end of the day, he said.

"Personally, I never rolled my sleeves so tight that I couldn't get them off, but for guys with bigger biceps I suppose it could be useful." Uriarte said. "The amount of photos and videos I get sent of Marines needing assistance getting their blouses off due to tight sleeves is proof enough that this has a market."

While attending Officer Candidates School, Keeven said he learned how perfect Marines' uniforms need to be. He won't be raking in a bunch of cash on his first sales, but said he's more interested in helping Marines out.  was not deterred by naysayers weighing in on the over 2,000-comment debate his video sparked on the "Terminal Lance" Facebook pageUriarte’s post, ranging from comments about how the proper way Marines should roll their sleeves to questions about why a Subway sign is hanging in the background. He learned at Officer Candidate School that uniforms need to be perfect in the Corps, and he said his invention is simply geared towards helping Marines out, he said.

"I understand a lot of people are giving me crap, but this is for a specific market of Marines," Keevan said. "I’m kind of selling it at a loss, but I really just want to get it out there, because I know there’s a lot of people that I think can benefit from it," he said.

On top of school and NROTC — he graduates and receives his butter bars in four weeks — Keeven is running on all cylinders to meet the unexpected demand for the Sleeve Assist. He set up a website,Sleeve Assist, filed for a patent and shipped out the first batch of 15 units on Wednesday. Each one sells for $19.99; they cost about $8 in materials and take approximately 45 minutes to make, he said.

"I know the term 'gunny sleeve' [and the idea that] once you've been in for a while and you don't really care how they look," Keeven said. "But junior Marines who are right out of training have it ingrained in their head that no matter what, you're perfect, you're tight."

How To: Roll Sleeves

Members of 1st Marine Logistics Group offer their tips on how to roll your sleeves.

Matthew L. Schehl covers training and education, recruiting, West Coast Marines, MARSOC, and operations in Europe, Africa and the Middle East for Marine Corps Times. He can be reached at mschehl@marinecorpstimes.com.