Soldiers not allowed to wear commercial body armor

Army Orders Soldiers to Shed Dragon Skin or Lose SGLI Death Benefits

Not only will the administration not BUY the soldiers body armor, they won’t even allow them to wear the armor they bought themselves. What the fuck is going on?



]( Rank has it’s privileges! :mad:

OK, this is just…insane. I can’t think of a rational reason why they wouldn’t be allowed.

I loved this quote;

I despise this old standby excuse. “OMG! Nothing bad can be said about the army (even though that information is already out there) because the enemy will KNOW BAD THINGS! (even though that information is already out there).”

Is there any charitable interpretation of their actions? Any interpretation that is more charitable than that this is an attempt to protect some bureaucrat’s reputation by forcing soldiers to wear the armor he decided they ought to wear?

The only thing I can think of is that perhaps there’s some legitimate controversy over which armor is more effective; as such, if the military sincerely believes their armor is more effective than Dragonskin, they might want soldiers to wear theirs instead of Dragonskin in order to keep the soldiers alive and they might not trust the soldiers to make this determination. Does anyone know whether there’s a legitimate controversy over this matter?


Not only will the administration not BUY the soldiers body armor . . ./QUOTE]
You sure that’s a factual statement? In your own link it says:

Sounds to me like the guys who need it most are getting it. More than a little late for a number of dead soldiers, of course, but body armor is being issued.

Just one possibility I can come up with on this prohibition. When I was in the Army, they discouraged or prohibited use of some private-purchase equipment because it didn’t integrate and function well with issue equipment. Whether that is the case with this armor or not, I can’t say.

Any good reason ya didn’t quote the next sentence?

Well, of course there was: he was addressing mswas’s specific claim that “the administration not BUY the soldiers body armor.” The next sentence did nothing to support this claim; the sentence he quoted clearly refutes the claim.

The question remains whether the military is acting properly or even excusably here, but I think Unclebeer’s quibble is perfectly legit: it’s not a question of not buying armor, but rather of requiring the use of a certain sort of armor that some folks claim is inferior.


Actually, this makes a lot of sense to me.

The life insurance on a soldier is a benefit. If a soldier takes personal responsibility for his/her protection on the field and dies, then the army could certainly question whether or not the soldier would have died had he/she been wearing offically-issued garb.

Sort of a ‘not liable if not used as directed’ kind of thing.

It reminds me of how sailors on WW2 submarines forbidden to modify their torpedoes, which (of course) was the only way they could get them to work.

Also, weren’t soldiers in WW1 issued a much inferior rifle so the more effective rifle (read: it wouldn’t jam after one shot, and could withstand mud - very important in trenches) would not fall into German hands?

It’d be funny, if the punchline didn’t involve bodybags.

I know the USPS has similar regulations about proper USPS-approved footwear and potential to not get workman’s comp (or something like that, it’s been a while since my postal worker husband has explained it to me) if a postal worker is wearing non-standard footwear and is injured on the job at the time. Nevermind that the postal workers almost universally agree that 90% of their footwear options are crap overpriced shoes/boots that wear out in a few months, and the remaining 10% are good but extremely expensive. This leaves them with the option of blowing their alloted uniform budget on shoes, or buying shoes elsewhere that are quality and comfortable - but beware if they get injured.

It’s the government, basically.

Isn’t this already under discussion?

No, US soldiers were issued the 1903 Springfield and the 1917 Enfield, both good reliable bolt-action rifles. The BAR was, supposedly, with held from issue for the reason you cite; but it is more of a light machinegun than rifle.

This does seem to be a different angle on it (the Dragonskin angle). However, I’m glad you linked to it, because Scylla’s recounting of his catpture by Nazis has me giggling uncontrollably.


Also, they were issued the Chauchat machine gun, because American generals feared that the BAR would get into enemy hands.

If they take off their body armor, they will get the SGLI benifit, well, their next of kin will get it.


]( don’t think you can say it was withheld from issue!

Just to play devils advocate, there are legitimate reasons why the Army might forbid the use of commercial body armor. It could be heavier or bulkier. It might wear out more quickly. It could be less flexible. There could be compatibility issues with equipment. The point is that the Army doesn’t know if it is in fact better than their issued equipment so better off just forbidding all non-issued equipment.

To take the argument to it’s most logical extreme, say some soldier decides to wear a big bulky home made Kevlar bear suit that he can barely walk in?

And how “inferior” is the Army body armor? How many lives would have been saved if they had switched brands?

The point is they waited until after the soldiers paid $ 6000 for body armor then FINALLY started issuing body armor, and told them they couldn’t use the other armor.

Also, according to the article, the Marine testing says the Interceptor OTV isn’t that great. There could be compatibility issues with certain standard issue military equipment, but I am leaning more toward the lobbyists that represent the manufacturer of the Interceptor OTV protecting their profit margin.


Maus Magill said:

You may be thinking of the Canadian-made Ross Rifle, an excellent target rifle, but jammed easily under field conditions. It came along with an entrenching shovel that was supposed to double as a gun-shield. Since it had a hole in it for the rifle to fit through, it wasn’t a success as a shovel, and it was too small to be an effective shield.

MacAdam shovel.