Marines' Complaints Stop Purchases of Protective Vests

The Defense Department announced Feb. 29 that Marine Commandant Gen. James T. Conway has halted purchases of the Marine Corps' new modular tactical vest (MTV) after Marines complained about its design, saying it is heavier and less practical than the outer tactical vests (OTVs) they had been wearing. Jim Garamone of American Forces Press Service reported that Conway wore the new design during a Thanksgiving trip to Iraq "and he absolutely did not like it," according to Lt. Col. T.V. Johnson, the commandant's spokesman.

"He made the call to not buy more until perhaps they find a way to mitigate the issues the troops are raising. That’s typical of our commandant. He listens to the Marines, and where it makes sense, he executes based on their feedback," Johnson said, according to Garamone's report on the DoD Web site.

Both designs use ceramic protective plates that are inserted into pockets in the vests to stop projectiles. "I would trust my life to either one of these pieces of gear," Johnson said. "Safety has never been an issue. If anything, the MTV is a refined edition of the OTV. It doesn't open in the front, but it provides refined protection around the shoulders." All Marines deploying to Iraq or Afghanistan are wearing the new vests, and Johnson said "very senior discussions are going to take place on what the way ahead is going to be," according to the report.

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