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Armor offers female soldiers better fit, more protection

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POSTED: December 1, 2012 4:30 p.m.
Randy C. Murray/

Third Infantry Division soldiers put together new body armor specifically designed for women. The soldiers were fitted with the prototype garment Wednesday on Fort Stewart.

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Women are not shaped like men. With female soldiers taking a greater combat role, the Army now is field-testing new body armor that is designed to better fit women.
Eight soldiers with the 1st Armor Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division were fitted Wednesday morning with the Improved Outer Tactical Vest, Generation III. They were the second group of female soldiers to be fitted with the prototype garment.
Female soldiers from Fort Campbell, Ky., were the first to be issued the new body armor. The 1st ABCT soldiers are part of a female engagement team deploying to Afghanistan. Their mission downrange includes working alongside male security-force assistance teams.
Cpl. Emily Knitter, 1st ABCT public affairs officer, explained the female engagement team is important because only female soldiers can search or even touch detained Afghan women or provide them with medical aid. Capt. Orielle Buentello, a chemical officer and officer in charge of the team, said her team members need the same protection from their body armor as male soldiers,
“We need a body armor that’s functional, feasible and mobile,” said Buentello, a Texas native whose six-year career includes a previous deployment to Iraq. “I have full rotation in my arms (with this vest). Now, I can get the buttstock of my weapon to my shoulder.”

Read more in the Dec. 1 edition of the News.



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