Linda Maye Adams

The Army Gets a New Uniform for Women — About Time!


When I buy clothes, I grab a handful to try them on.  Maybe one will fit.  The others will be too big, too small, or have a general problem such as gaping arm holes.  When I was in the army, it was pick a uniform off a shelf, knowing I was going to have to live with it being too big.  This week Stars and Stripes reports the army uniforms being developed for women now be adapted for everyone.

I get why — they don’t want to make two versions of everything, but it may eventually come to that.  When I was in, we had the battle dress uniforms (BDU).  They were made for men and therefore had more of a linear fit, so women had to experiment with sizes to find a fit.  Most of us wore some part too big because it would fit in some places and not in others.  One of our cooks thought she looked like a bush.

Woman soldier in kevlar, web belt with canteens, ammo pouches, and rifle.

U.S. Army photo

But it was the equipment I had the most trouble with because I’m not tall like a guy:

  • Web belt: This is the belt that holds the canteens and ammunition pouches and has a pair of suspenders that holds it up.  Problem one was the canteens.  They were worn on the hip, and because I was short and short-waisted, the canteen was always getting in the way of my arms.
  • Kevlar: That’s the fancy name for the helmet.  Even with the smallest size, mine was too big.  The worst was at the rifle range when I had to fire from the prone position, which is lying on the ground and holding up the rifle.  The web belt suspenders pushed the Kevlar down into my eyes.  While I was firing the rifle.  Riiiggghttt.  This works real well.
  • Flack Vest:  Imagine the lead apron when you go to the dentist.  The flack vest isn’t that heavy, but it is very stiff like that.  So when I sat down in a vehicle, the vest pushed my Kevlar down into my eyes.  It was also so large that it had to be completely removed for me to use the latrine.  The army’s just starting to deal with this one by taking a nod from the TV series Xena, where the character wore fitted armor.

It isn’t just the army that has this problem.  I rented a compact car when I went to Wisconsin.  It become apparent when I adjusted the seat that this tiny car was made for a tall man.  The cup holder was positioned so once I moved the seat forward, I had to reach behind me and feel around to put the soda bottle in it.  Safety issue, car maker!

Sometimes I feel like the people in charge forget that women are important, too! 

 

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