F.E. WARREN AIR FORCE BASE – Airmen from the 90th Security Forces Group were among the first to try on the new female body armor at Logistics Readiness Squadron’s Individual Personal Equipment Section, Dec. 11 on F. E. Warren Air Force Base.
The equipment differs from the standard tactical vest significantly, with a more curved chest surface area, lighter weight and shorter size, and the use of a snap buckle compared to the original Velcro, according to 1st Lt. Nicole Murphy from the 90 LRS and the Installation Deployment Officer. More than 500 vests were delivered to F. E. Warren.
“Outfitting the security forces members who protect the ICBM mission is a priority,” said Murphy. “We are conducting a test run by giving female troops the Improved Outer Tactical Vest to ensure it meets mission standards, then outfit all security forces troops on base.”
The IOTV is going through a test run and at three other Air Force bases: Malmtrom AFB, Mont., Minot AFB, N.D., and Moody AFB, Ga.
The first Airmen to try on the IOTV noted its benefits over the standard body armor produced with the male frame in mind.
The first Airman to try it on, Staff Sgt. Amber Alderman from the 90th Missile Security Operations Squadron, acknowledged that trying it on was not the same as wearing the armor operationally; however, she was hopeful that it would be beneficial to female defenders to better execute the mission.
“It’s a bit difficult to get a good gauge on how it feels without everything on it,” said Alderman. “I’m hopeful that since it’s geared toward females it will be more comfortable.”
The rollout across the Air Force will consist of several phases, with the last bases expected to receive the armor in fiscal year 2022. The 536 vests received by the wing will be disseminated to the female defenders across the six security forces squadrons, according to Murphy, which will in turn create a more capable, lethal defender force ensuring nuclear surety.
The creation and procurement of the female IOTV was a collaboration between The Human Systems Division of the Air Force Life Cycle Management Center, the Air Force Materiel Command’s Combat Ready Airmen office and the Air Force Security Forces Center.