HANSCOM AIR FORCE BASE, Mass. – Defenders from the 66th Security Forces Squadron recently received the newest issue of body armor designed specifically for females.
The developed armor is a lighter weight than previous editions and features a curved chest plate and shorter torso size. An adjustable corset tightens to fit the wearer, distinguishing it from a one-size-fits-all piece of equipment.
“It’s exciting to feel represented as a female, and it’s welcoming to know that we have equipment that was made with us in mind,” said Airman Madalyn Duke, 66 SFS entry controller.
The Air Force Life Cycle Management Center Female Fitment Program Office began work on the armor design in 2020 as part of the Air Force chief of staff’s initiative to optimize uniforms for female Airmen.
Mobility managers from the 66th Logistics Readiness Squadron worked directly with Air Force logistic officials to secure 30 sets of armor for Hanscom defenders and reservists throughout New England in early June.
“A fighting force is only as good as the equipment it’s given, and fitting the right equipment to the right person is definitely the right move,” said Lt. Col. Yonca Nice, 66 SFS commander. “The new armor will make our female fighting force safer and more efficient with higher morale.”
During initial training with the new armor June 29, Hanscom defenders said they noticed a difference in the equipment compared to the standard male-fit predecessor.
Airman 1st Class Brittany Senft, 66 SFS entry controller, said the light-weight material kept the armor in place, preventing the vest from hanging and exposing vital organs.
“Everything felt very secure and it fit to my body,” she said. “I felt confident it was doing its job to protect me.”
The defenders’ male counterparts are also glad to see the new armor in play.
“It’s reassuring to know our wingmen have equipment that fits them correctly,” said Senior Airman Jayson Page, 66 SFS desk sergeant. “Body armor specifically is critical to our mission, and it can save your life.”
Duke said she will continue to break in the new equipment and looks forward to accelerated change toward a more inclusive force.
“It’s inspiring to know that there’s a whole new generation of female Airmen who will have the option to use equipment made for us,” she said.