Hot jobs: Soldiers at St. Augustine fort wear wool

Jessica Clark takes us on a unique tour in St. Augustine.

ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. -  Every day, Allen Arnold greets visitors to the Castillo de San Marcos in St. Augustine.

"My name is Ranger Allen. I'm dressed up as a 1740's Spanish Soldier," he says regularly. If the fort had a mascot, he'd be one of them. People flock to him to take pictures with him and ask him questions. 

To enhance visitors' experiences, he wears a colonial Spanish military uniform, which is made of two layers of wool and three layers of linen. 

Even with all those clothes on, in the summer heat Arnold smiles and loves his job.

He told one visitor, "This is the best job on the planet."

He gets a lot of questions from visitors about the history of the fort, but he said the the No. 1 question gets: "Aren't you hot?"

He chuckled and told First Coast News, " I have a couple different answers!"

He could be heard telling visitors that "It's not that bad" and "it breathes."

Arnold also explained that it's made of all natural fiber, so it breathes.

"The linen will absorb my sweat, and the wool will keep the sun from evaporating that away," he said. "And when the breeze comes through that natural fiber, it hits that wet linen and causes evaporative cooling. Actually, it does a pretty good job of keeping me cool."

He said it's actually cooler than the polyester green and gray standard Park Service uniform. 

Water is also a must for these Rangers.

"We know the guys wearing these uniforms need to be cognizant of water intake," Arnold noted. "So we're checking each other making sure we're not staying out too long."

Arnold said with enough water and wind, he would rather wear the wool and tell history this way.

"We call it living history," he said. "We like to bring history to life!"

© 2017 WTLV-TV


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