Our new flak jackets arrived!!!! (fake enthusiasm)
Never mind the fact that we were promised them last February when we began combat operations in Iraq. Hey, better late than never right? Right?
Actually, I'm not going to sit here and say that our lack of new flak jackets lost the war for us last year. But, it is annoying to always hear about all this great new stuff we're going to get, only to have the field issue of the gear hit delay after delay. The new flak has some great features, it has a better cut and fit, it has more MOLLE integration, it has a rapid release emergency feature that allows it to be immediately removed off a casualty, and it has a cumber bun design that helps take some of the weight off the shoulders and put it on your hips. Not bad.
I'm sure the Army could have snapped their fingers and gotten them within weeks. Actually, they probably would have received the second generation improved version before the first one was even off the line...
The gear swap did mean that I had to scrub, wash, launder and shower out 7 months worth of the Zaidon that had been hitchhiking on my old flak. We're talking mud, blood, tar, dirt, sand, food, manure, etc. GOOD TIMES.
Want to know the very bestest news though?? And this is for real, the story goes like this...
I spend a few good hours cleaning my flak. I get it all together and ready to take in. I arrive at the issue facility and get in line. Then stand in line. For a very, very long time. You see, civilians run the issue facility, and civilians like their lunch breaks, and their coffee breaks, and cigarette breaks. They like to tell you that you need to scrub the rest of that tar off your yoke collar, or that your vest isn't dry enough. They also like small staffs.
I finally reach the front of the line. A nice young lady is helping me. I ask "Hey, I heard that these new flaks were going to come in a wider variety of sizes, like tall." She said I was was crazy. So, being in the sour mood that I was in, I said, "Great, looks like I get to deploy to Iraq for another combat deployment with my stomach, small intestine, large intestine, kidneys, liver and spine once again exposed to mortar frag, grenades, gun shot wounds and IED blasts." (you see, they DONT have flaks in tall sizes, so all last deployment mine stopped right above my belly button...awesome).
Well, to cut a long story short, she had sympathy for me and called her manager over. The manager said that they would take down my measurements and fax them to the company that makes the flaks and have them make me a custom one. DAAAANNNG.
Now I'm just waiting to see if it comes out of my next pay check.