MHAFB first base in ACC to issue female cut plate carriers
By Airman Natalie Rubenak, 366th Fighter Wing Public Affairs
/ Published February 27, 2020
MOUNTAIN HOME AIR FORCE BASE, Idaho --
In order to efficiently do their job without feeling restricted, the 366th Security Forces Squadron ordered new cut plate carriers for female defenders.
MHAFB is the first base in Air Combat Command to issue the female cut plate carriers.
“Other bases have tested them but they gave a lot of negative feedback,” said Tech. Sgt. Steven Pyott, 366th SFS NCO in charge of supply. “We went with a different company who had experience in making female plate-carriers for civilian law enforcement.”
Pyott explained that issuing these was one step towards encompassing all members of the defender career field.
The plate carrier’s exterior is made to hold the defenders’ weapons, handcuffs and all of their necessary gear while the interior holds ballistic plates. Carrying this amount of weight on the chest and abdomen can cause back and shoulder problems.
“A standard plate carrier is designed for the male body figure,” Pyott said. “The female plate carriers are designed with a special cut that allows our female SF members to be more mobile with increased comfort and equal protection.”
The female carriers are designed to support at the waist as opposed to the male carriers, which offer more support at the chest.
This gear will allow female defenders to operate with the same capabilities, but with better equipment.
“The old vest didn’t fit me well,” said Senior Airman Anna Hale, 366th SFS response force leader. “There was no support and my back was constantly in pain.”
Due to the unpredictability of Hale’s job, she may be standing for a 12-hour shift maintaining security or sitting in a car patrolling the base. This can take a toll on the body.
The new carrier favors the female body and allows defenders to solely focus on their job.
“I noticed that when I run, it doesn’t shake around as much and it’s a lot less restricting,” Hale said.
With an increasing ratio of female defenders, it’s important that their equipment is best-suited to complete the mission for their body type.
“The adaptation of the plate carrier to encompass females is beneficial in the long-run,” Pyott said. “This allows us to be a more diverse and capable mission asset.”