With women finding themselves in combat situations, the need for improved combat equipment is taking another step forward with some help from 19 women serving in the 101st Airborne in Fort Campbell, Kentucky.
The Fort Campbell Courier said the group has been involved with helping to better tailor personal combat attire and equipment for women.
Much of the need for specific changes comes from the fit of the IOTVs (Improved Outer Tactical Vests) on women, who are generally shorter and curvier than their male counterparts.
"They ride up on the female's hips, and it's very hard for us to move," said Spc. Arielle Mailloux, with 1st Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault). "During PT we'll have to wear it and then go running, and it gives bruises on our hips."
As a result of the suggestions of the 101st, officials from the Project Manager Soldier Protective Equipment Office and Natick Soldier Research, Development and Engineering Center came together to design a better-equipped vest for women.
With more women from the 101st Airborne Division scheduled to deploy to Afghanistan later this year, Mailloux expects the redesigned IOTV would help these Soldiers perform their jobs better -- especially in the case of Female Engagement Team members like herself.
"We'll pretty much be going out with the infantry guys," Mailloux said. "We've got to sell ourselves to them, and tell them that we can do the work and that we can keep up. We'll be talking to the Afghan populace. You always have to have your feet on the ground. And the comfort of the IOTV is very important when we're sitting down, either that or we have to sit crisscross and it's really uncomfortable."
Hopefully this effort their taking now will be of great benefit to those same and future women fighting for our country.