Fort Stewart to receive new female tactical vests - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

Fort Stewart women's team among few to get new tactical vests

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The First Armor Brigade Combat Team Female Engagement Team get fitted for their new tactical vests. The First Armor Brigade Combat Team Female Engagement Team get fitted for their new tactical vests.
HINESVILLE, GA (WTOC) -

The First Armor Brigade Combat Team Female Engagement Team will deploy to Afghanistan next week and will be taking brand-new armored vests with them.

The vests are called Female Improved Outer Tactical Vests or IOTVs and eight women of the Female Engagement Team will be the second group in the entire army to use them.

Listed on the Top 25 Inventions of 2012 by Time Magazine,  the new IOTV'S are specifically designed for the female soldier. The new vests are much smaller than the older version which allows the female soldier to move much better.

"I can move so much more - before the vests were a lot wider and because I am such a small person it would come to my shoulders so I could only lift my arms this high. Now, you can see I can lift my arms all the way up here and in front-it's so great," says 2nd Lt. Chelsea Adams.

The extreme improvement in mobility is not the only advantage.

"With females, the way that we shoot the weapon would usually rest on the IOTV and now, with how small it is, it will allow the gun to rest on the squishy part of our arm and greatly improve our accuracy," Adams said.

The old IOTV's also left the female soldier more vulnerable to bullets and shrapnel because a lot of times they were just too big to fit right. So why these are new vests just being created?

"It was not a priority before because it was assumed that she would not be in combat-well this war has proven that to be false. Women are just as vulnerable to a combat situation as men," said Master Sgt. Jeff Fenalson.

The team of eight will be joining a Special Forces group that goes into dangerous areas.

But with the new vests the team feels a little safer.

"I mean, I would trust any of these ladies with my life with or without the vest but this just makes it that much better," Pfc. Cheryl Rogers said.

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