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Report stirs concerns over whether they'll stop bullets
Published on May 9, 2005 By terpfan1980 In Politics
From MSNBC.com which credits NBC and news services. Headline is linked.

Marines recall thousands of combat vests

Report stirs concerns over whether they'll stop bullets

NBC News and news services
Updated: 8:54 p.m. ET May 9, 2005

The Marine Corps is recalling more than 5,000 combat vests issued to troops in Iraq, Afghanistan and Djibouti after a published report raised concerns that the vests failed a test to determine whether they could stop a bullet.
The Marines said in a statement they are recalling the 5,277 vests to alleviate any doubts caused by a Marine Corps Times article published Monday, but service officials insisted they do not believe the vests are faulty.
A company spokesman for Point Blank Body Armor of Pompano Beach, Fla., which makes the vests, told NBC News, “We stand by our product. ... We do not know of any casualties or injuries related to the vest.”
The armor in question is called the Outer Tactical Vest and is part of the Interceptor body armor package issued to troops in combat zones. The vest, when combined with protective plates, is designed to stop a rifle round.
Without the plates, the vest should still provide some protection against 9 mm pistol rounds and fragments from an explosion. But several vests manufactured by Point Blank Body Armor fell short of the Marines’ standards during testing in 2004, according to Capt. Jeff Landis, a Marine spokesman.
The Marine statement described an urgent need for the vests as Marines prepared to deploy.
Most Point Blank vests passed the tests, but the Marine liaison to Point Blank recommended the service reject the production lots of those that failed — numbering thousands of vests in total, according to memos, dated in mid-2004, obtained by the Marine Corps Times and reproduced on the Internet. The Marines then tested vests from those lots again at another test range, and they passed, Landis said. Marine officials issued waivers allowing the vests to go to the troops, but decided to recall the vests from the field when they learned of the imminent article.
Overall, about 181,000 Kevlar vests have been issued to Marines. Each costs $525, Landis said.
In one memo obtained by the Times, James MacKiewicz, a Marine technical adviser, complained of “major performance and quality assurance problems” with Point Blank’s products.
However, Landis said the Marines are satisfied with the company’s performance and its vests.

... more at linked article

With no dis-respect to Point Blank or their products, something I remember from my time in the military and in working for other government agencies -- "always remember the equipment you are using was built by the lowest bidder" {frown}

So nice to know that the equipment we are sending our troops to war with is just not up to snuff.

Hang on troops, hopefully the "good" vests will get there soon. :-/

I hope that the people that perhaps rushed these products, perhaps failed to test them or make sure that they were up to (or exceeded) required specifications, don't have relatives serving that are using the products.

Our troops deserve the best. Granted there have to be price limits for the equipment we buy, but we need to make sure that products meet the necessary standards before shipping thousands of units of equipment that is not up to standards out into the field. Once our troops lives depend on the equipment, it's too late. We need to treat our troops better and make sure they are able to count on the equipment we give them.

on May 09, 2005
always remember the equipment you are using was built by the lowest bidder

"plastic parts by Mattell"

On the other hand, I'd rather have a piece of equipment made by one lowest bidder, than the usual clusterf--k of hodgepodge bits and pieces thrown together by a series of different contractors that appears in many of the different Army equipment systems I've used, regardless of price.
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