6th SFS female defenders issued improved body armor

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  • 6th Air Refueling Wing Public Affairs

Female defenders from the 6th Security Forces Squadron received a new and improved protective body armor at MacDill Air Force Base in February.

The new Improved Outer Tactical Vest is designed to fit higher on the waist, includes an adjustable corset on the back to tighten as needed, curved plates to better adapt to female curvature. It consists of a layered armor system versus the traditional vests, increasing range of motion, weight distribution and enhances necklines.

“When we were first told we were getting the armor, I was looking forward to having something better designed for weight distribution to help take so much pressure off of my shoulders and back,” said Senior Airman Adrienne Quesada, 6th SFS installation patrolman. “Having this new option of vest type is nice so we are not stuck and restricted to one type of vest because every female is built different.”

These new modifications and maneuverability are expected to help reduce injuries, improve effectiveness and increase morale and readiness. These improvements align with the Air Force’s dedication to enable Airmen to be more combat effective and ready every day.

“The 6th SFS, is bounding forward in efforts to actualize Chief of Staff of the Air Force General Brown’s charge, ‘Accelerate Change or Lose’, with the implementation of a brand new system of body armor specifically designed for female Defenders,” said 1st Lt. Clayton G. Utley, 6th SFS logistics officer.. “This is a giant leap forward for the security forces enterprise and enhancement to the operational readiness of our defenders on the front lines every day.”

The expectation of the new body armor is that it will better fit the female frame, countering a common problem of ill-fitting armor that can cause discomfort or even injury. Female defenders will now be able to choose armor made with their frame as the standard, keeping them from having to select a size that was the next closest size available.

“Whether at home station or down range, when the call for action is needed, having the properly fitted gear that protects our defenders could make the difference in movement, protection and response.” said Chief Master Sgt. Shae Gee, 6th Air Refueling Wing command chief, “I am excited that we are removing barriers and health concerns for our female Airmen.”

Creating better-fitting IOTV armor for female defenders is part of the Air Force’s diversity and inclusion efforts.

The new female armor is being distributed Air Force-wide in phases during fiscal year 2022.

Besides security forces, female Airmen whose jobs require them to operate in combat, contingency operations or other dangerous situations will also wear the new vests.

The creation and procurement of the new body armor 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.