View Full Version : U.S. Military Chief Says Armor Improving

01-05-2006, 01:11 AM
4 Jan. Associated Press - U.S. Military Chief Says Armor Improving (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/01/04/AR2006010401421.html).

The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff knows the armor protecting troops and their vehicles in Iraq isn't perfect, but he says it's getting better as the military learns to adapt to a clever insurgency.

"The fact of the matter is that you can protect people to a certain extent, but you always come up with a bigger bomb," Gen. Peter Pace told The Associated Press in an interview. "We just need to continually hone our skills ... so that we don't set a pattern that the enemy can exploit."

Pace said he has confidence in efforts to provide U.S. forces with the best possible body armor and armored vehicles, amid criticism the Americans don't have sufficient protection....

...U.S. forces need to "constantly respond to the way that they (the insurgents) operate ... so that our forces not only have physical protection but also the protection of good tactics, techniques and procedures to minimize the risk to them."...

01-07-2006, 07:17 AM
6 Jan. Reuters - Pentagon study faults US body armor in Iraq deaths (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/01/06/AR2006010602209.html).

Better body armor could have prevented or limited about 80 percent of fatal torso wounds suffered by Marines killed in Iraq, a report by U.S. military medical experts obtained on Friday said.

The report, conducted for the Marine Corps by the Office of the Armed Forces Medical Examiner and not released to the public, examined the cases of Marines fatally wounded from the start of the war in March 2003 through June 2005, and found weaknesses in the torso protective gear.

Bullets or shrapnel hit the Marines' shoulders, the sides of their torsos or other areas not fully covered by ceramic plates contained in the body armor in at least 74 of 93 fatal wounds examined in the study.

"Either a larger plate or superior protection around the plate would have had the potential to alter the fatal outcome," the study stated...

01-08-2006, 05:00 AM
7 Jan. Associated Press - U.S. Soldiers Question Use of More Armor (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/01/07/AR2006010700260.html).

U.S. soldiers in the field were not all supportive of a Pentagon study that found improved body armor saves lives, with some troops arguing Saturday that more armor would hinder combat effectiveness.

The unreleased study examined 93 fatal wounds to Marines from the start of the Iraq war in March 2003 through June 2005. It concluded 74 of them were bullet or shrapnel wounds to shoulders or torso areas unprotected by traditional ceramic armor plating.

Soldiers from the 101st Airborne Division's 3rd Brigade "Rakkasans" are required to wear an array of protective clothing they refer to as their "happy gear," ranging from Kevlar drapes over their shoulders and sides, to knee pads and fire-resistant uniforms.

But many soldiers say they feel encumbered by the weight and restricted by fabric that does not move as they do. They frequently joke as they strap on their equipment before a patrol, and express relief when they return and peel it off...

The study and their remarks highlight the difficulty faced by the Army and Marine Corps in providing the best level of body armor protection in a war against an insurgency whose tactics are constantly changing.

Both the Army and the Marines have weighed the expected payoff in additional safety from extra armor against the measurable loss of combat effectiveness from too much armor...

01-12-2006, 07:23 AM
12 Jan. Washington Post - More Body Armor Is On the Way for U.S. Troops (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/01/11/AR2006011102235.html).

The Army announced yesterday that it will soon start producing 230,000 sets of side armor plates and field them over the year to soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan, after a recently disclosed Pentagon study indicated that such plates could have helped prevent scores of troop deaths since 2003.

The Marine Corps has delivered 9,000 sets of the plates to Iraq, a number that will rise to about 30,000 by April, officials said yesterday. Each set of plates, together with a carrier and soft armor, costs about $450 and weighs about seven pounds, the officials said.

Army and Marine generals in charge of developing and buying equipment defended the pace at which they were getting the new side armor to troops, after a closed-door briefing yesterday on the matter on Capitol Hill. The generals briefed the Senate Armed Services Committee after lawmakers voiced concern over a classified Pentagon forensic study disclosed last week that for the first time linked gaps in upper torso protection to troop fatalities...

01-14-2006, 12:44 PM
14 Jan. Washngton Times Op-Ed - Hillary Wrapped in Armor (http://www.washtimes.com/commentary/20060113-085715-5293r.htm).

... Hillary bashed President Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney for callously letting troops die and said she was "just bewildered as to how this president and this vice president continue to isolate themselves from different points of view."

Well, I am bewildered, too. Bewildered at how such a supposedly brilliant and savvy woman -- supposedly in tune with American troops -- can so blithely ignore the grave tradeoffs involved in this matter.

You want different points of view? Listen to soldiers from the 101st Airborne Division's 3rd Brigade, who must don some 40 pounds of protection and gear while fighting in the desert heat. Capt. Jamey Turner, 35, of Baton Rouge, La., a commander in the 1st Squadron, 33rd Cavalry Regiment, bluntly reminded the Associated Press: "You've got to sacrifice some protection for mobility. If you cover your entire body in ceramic plates, you're just not going to be able to move."

Second Lt. Josh Suthoff, 23, of Jefferson City, Mo., said: "I'd go out with less body armor if I could."

There is a legitimate debate to be had about the Army's supply system, military procurement and contracting squabbles over body armor. However, challenging the leaked study's premises, Spec. Robert Reid, 21, of Atlanta, commented: "It's the Army's responsibility to get soldiers the armor they need. But that doesn't mean those deaths could have been prevented."

A military blogger at Baghdad Guy, who serves in the U.S. Army, 101st Airborne Division, 506th Infantry, sums it up: "Body armor has saved numerous lives in Iraq and Afghanistan and it will continue to do so, especially as it is modified to better meet the threat we face. However, there are limitations as to how much armor you can add onto an individual and maintain his effectiveness as a soldier: when I step out the gate I am wearing on my person body armor, a Kevlar helmet, my M4 rifle with a few hundred rounds of ammunition, my M9 sidearm with another hundred rounds of ammunition, 2-3 quarts of water, a portable radio, night-vision equipment, and numerous other odds and ends...

"Too much weight means a soldier moves slower, tires more easily, [maneuvers] less stealthily and spends more time feeling sorry for himself instead of focusing on the mission. And then there's the bulkiness that becomes an issue as you move through tight space and wedge into the seats of military vehicles that were not designed with comfort and/or legroom in mind. All these tradeoffs must be addressed before you make the decision to add armor, it must be determined that the armor will be effective, and then it must be designed in a way that minimizes impact on our ability to do our job." ...

01-14-2006, 03:26 PM
14 Jan. New York Times Op-Ed - All Dressed Up With No Way to Fight (http://www.nytimes.com/2006/01/14/opinion/14exum.html).

This week Senator Hillary Clinton, citing a secret Pentagon report that suggested some marines killed in Iraq might have survived had they been wearing more body armor, became the latest in a long line of politicians to castigate the Pentagon for a supposed failure to adequately protect our fighting men and women. Well-intentioned as the senator might be, the body-armor issue, like so many in war, is just not that simple.

From 2000 until 2004, I was an infantry officer in the Army. I deployed with a light-infantry platoon to Afghanistan in 2002, then with a platoon of Army Rangers to Iraq in 2003 and back to Afghanistan in 2004. While I can testify that soldiers usually appreciate the protection body armor gives them, the load shouldered by the average infantryman often hinders his ability to fight - especially at high altitude as in Afghanistan.

But in Iraq, as well, the "soldier's load" is often unbearable. Most studies recommend that a soldier should not be burdened with more than one-third of his body weight. But if you take a 160-pound soldier and put 40 pounds of Kevlar and body armor on him and then he picks up an automatic weapon, ammunition, water and first aid equipment, it's not long before he is carrying half his body weight - and he is then expected to run, jump and fight insurgents, themselves carrying little more than a 10-pound AK-47. All of this, of course, often takes place in 120-degree heat in the cities of Iraq.

Lost among the politicians' cries for more extensive armor for the troops is the fact that most soldiers, in my experience and based on discussions with many, feel they have enough armor already - and many feel they are increasingly being burdened with too much equipment. And the new supplementary body armor unveiled this week in Washington doubles the weight of the equipment - worn over the torso and, now, the upper arms - to 32 pounds from 16 pounds (for a medium-sized soldier)...

01-21-2006, 09:16 AM
21 Associated Press - Army Signs $70 Million Deal for Body Armor (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/01/20/AR2006012001813.html).

The Army, under pressure to issue more protective gear to its soldiers in Iraq, has signed a $70 million emergency contract with a California company to rush ceramic body armor to the front lines.

The sole-source contract, with California-based Ceradyne Inc., was approved last week and announced yesterday. It comes on the heels of a Pentagon finding that side armor could have saved dozens of U.S. lives in Iraq.

The Army is planning to buy 230,000 sets of the ceramic side plates. Army spokesman Paul Boyce said that one company will not be able to deliver that order in the time required, so additional vendors are being sought through an open-bid process.

"Our goal is to continue providing the American soldier with the best, most protective body armor in the world," Boyce said. "We are working with soldiers, commanders, the medical community and industry to continue these improvements while ensuring the safety of our soldiers."...

08-04-2008, 05:03 PM
The thing that always amazed me, is that prior to OEF/OIF, only rangers had any real ballistic protection from rifle caliber rounds, and the news early on made it sound like everyone was supposed to have armor and that we were cheating our support troops by not giving them armor. I was very happy for the armor I had, being in an National Guard Infantry unit. SImalier with the upgraded Humvee armor debate, purely political. Now the results I think were mostly promising, i.e. more armored vehicles for the troops (especially the trucks), but the public perception is off. This has lead to the MRAP, which I feel is mostly a negative. Too expensive and not eneough utility to be widely useful outside of Iraq. I seem to be drifting so I will end for now.

08-06-2008, 05:23 AM
I would settle for the ability to use discretion in when to armor up.

Fixed point, defensive - Can't wear enough/get enough armor

Mobile and pursuit - Minimum armor.

Don't want leaders being punished for using initiative to go lighter, armor-wise.

08-06-2008, 03:10 PM
I wore 3B body armor most of my career in law enforcement. When I took it off in 1993 I weighed it and it came in at a cool 15 lbs. Before that I didn't want to know. The funny thing is that the three primary traumas I would likely get in a corrections setting were slash, stab, blunt force and the armor didn't protect against that. Stabbed in the hand (By a hypodermic needle, slashed across the stomach just below the armor by a shank) are just two times body armor didn't do its job. In both of my particular cases the armor slowed me down and had I not been wearing it I would likely have not gotten hurt. But, that also doesn't mean the assailant might not have tried something else.

I know that Law Enforcement and MOUT are not the same, but there is a lot of technologies and decision trees that law enforcement has perfected that might benefit the military. I for one think that is a better direction for ideas to go then all of the pseudo military SWAT pajamas, high power assault rifles (in a city?) and tanks that cops have been buying to look more like the military.

08-06-2008, 03:39 PM
Selil, they now make armor for COs that is designed to stop a blade. I don't know any more, but it is out there now.

08-06-2008, 05:53 PM
Selil, they now make armor for COs that is designed to stop a blade. I don't know any more, but it is out there now.

That is good to know.

I always figured that if law enforcement could make something that would stop high caliber rounds, provide good shrapnel protection, and weighed sub 20 pounds, why can't the military. There must be something special besides the ceramic plates in military personal armor.

08-06-2008, 06:41 PM
I don't know much about armor, but I've got a friend who has a carrier and chest rig with front and rear plates as well as soft armor. It's a little under 20 pounds. It carries eight M16 magazines and four pistol magazines, with 4 pouches for 'bangs or other kit.

Another thing that makes sense to me is designing a shirt that is designed to be worn under armor, like this (http://www.cryeprecision.com/product1.asp?P=CS1) one.

Mark O'Neill
09-02-2008, 09:20 AM
Selil, they now make armor for COs that is designed to stop a blade. I don't know any more, but it is out there now.

or a Stryker..