posted on Jun, 14 2010 @ 04:57 AM
They've been available for years, and the OTV, or outer tactical vest was developed in the '90's and the new version, the IOTV (Improved OTV) was
brought out in 2007 or so. (i only know this because it was between deployments for me. I wore the OTV in Kosovo, and the IOTV getting ready for Iraq)
Part of the reason there was a fair amount of press regarding the lack of armor early in our current engagements is that units or individuals elected,
for one reason or another not to take the armor with them. Or if they had it in-country, to not utilize it. It has become Army policy to wear it
anytime you leave the perimeter of a secured area, or when there is a known threat. This could mean outside a bunker or hardened structure on a camp
that sees a fair volume of incoming indirect fire (mortars, rockets, etc.) Carrying it even further, when units go through training for a deployment,
the Soldiers are required to wear their issued armor while conducting any training that is not classroom, or physical fitness training. It makes for
some long days.This is mostly to get used to moving around in the armor, as well as conditioning. It is likely, unless you run convoys or patrol EVERY
day, to wear the vest more stateside than overseas.
This policy is an Army response to public outcry at the "lack of armor" from early in the Iraq war. While it is true that there was a lack of
armored vehicles, particularly HMMWV's, almost everybody had body armor available. Some chose not to wear it. That choice has now been made for us.
You WILL wear it is the choice. There is a trade off, however. There is an upward trend in back injuries, starting about the time that body armor wear
became mandatory. LOD, or Line-Of-Duty investigations have linked most of these to the additional weight and bulk of the required armor and the
attachments to the vest. These are not light. My vest weighed about 35lbs with the plates in. In addition, I carried either six magazines of M-16
ammo, or a couple boxes of M-249 ammo, depending on what I was doing that day. Plus about 10-12 pounds of water between two canteens and a Camelback.
A few pounds in first aid gear, and a radio, and IR Beacon round out the stuff attached to just the vest. Depending on if I was carrying an M-4/M-16
or an M-249, I would have between 65- and 80 or so pounds hanging off of me. (I still haven't gone into what's in the rucksack... or how heavy it
Oh....ummm.... I feel that I have taken this thread far afield it's original subject.... well.... I have been called "smarty-pants" a few times
in my life. I never seriously thought that I could some day wear them.. There, I feel better now.