WASHINGTON - Soldiers will no longer be allowed to wear body armor other than the protective gear issued by the military, Army officials said Thursday, the latest twist in a running battle over the equipment the Pentagon gives its troops in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Murray Neal, chief executive officer of Pinnacle, said he hadn't seen the directive and wants to review it.
"We know of no reason the Army may have to justify this action," Neal said. "On the surface this looks to be another of many attempts by the Army to cover up the billions of dollars spent on ineffective body armor systems which they continue to try quick fixes on to no avail."
I don't have much experience with body armor. The few times (2) I wore it (the heavy Vietnam-era flak jacket), I'd have rather done without, it reduced my speed and mobility that much. A couple of Iraq vets I've talked to said the Army-issue stuff, when upgraded to its highest level, hindered mobility to the point it was dangerous, which is the reason guys still wear the civilian stuff their friends and relatives sent over.
There's no point in having super-duper body armor if the troops can't function in it; if it leaves you a sitting duck. Why is it, in the quarter century since I went in, they haven't developed something good that the troops want to wear? I know body armor isn't as glamorous as new planes and ships, but by golly, we owe the grunts on the ground the best too. We have fighter aircraft that can take off vertically and ships that float on a cushion of air, yet we can't make body armor allowing the troops to be mobile and keep them safe at the same time? Until then, let them wear whatever the fuck they want to.