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Marines test body armor

12 Mar 2009 | Lance Cpl. Eugenio Montanez

About 40 Marines were given the opportunity to test different body armors during the Light-and-Load test at the K-2 Military Operations and Urban Terrain facility here Mar. 9 - 20.

Marines with Company I, 3rd Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment tested the Modular Tactical Vest and the plate carrier to find advantages and disadvantages.

During the two-week course, Marines performed multiple drills that consisted of wearing the MTV with and without Small Arms Protective Inserts plates.

“The purpose (of the testing) is to see whether the Marines can avoid the hit with light armor or if they can absorb hits by wearing the heavy armor,” said 1st Lt. David A. Keltner, platoon commander for Company I. “I hope that this provides data to where a commander can take the estimate of the individual situation and pick the armor level they think is appropriate.”

Marines tested the armor in urban and in rural terrain for more efficient results.

“Here in MOUT, I think, that the MTV with all that extra armor that is probably going to be your best bet in term of survivability,” said Keltner, 27, from Tucson, Ariz. “In the rural training, I think that maneuvering and being able to out run the enemy is going to be more important.”

Marines testing the different body armors agreed that having more armor would be safer against explosions.

“(The training is about) whatever is going to keep you safe doing your job,” said Lance Cpl. Charles B. Wall, a rifleman with Company I.

Some Marines think that the mobility that the plate carrier provides is more beneficial when in use for long periods of time.          

“I prefer the plate carrier because you’re able to move around in it better, and it’s a lot lighter than carrying the MTV all the time,” said Wall, 22, a San Angelo, Texas native. “The MTV is more uncomfortable to wear because of the pressure it makes on your shoulders.”

“This (training) is about how well can you move, how fast can you get to cover, compared with actually being able to receive that shot,” said Keltner. “I think that (is a) debate (that) doesn’t have a single answer. There is more information out there to gather and provide commanders with to make decisions, and that’s what we’re going to do.”