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Tan American Body Armor Load Bearing Vest

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This is an American Body Armor Load Bearing Vest that was very popular in the Special Forces community. These vests have been around for quite some time and were used in Desert Storm all the way up into OEF (maybe even into OIF).



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Here is a picture of the ABA tan LBV being worn during Desert Storm. Interesting to also note, the US soldier is wearing a rarely seen modified 6-Color cesert jacket.



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  • 2 months later...

1984 dated USSF tan LBV vest made by American Body Armor and Equipment Inc. These were used by US Special Forces in Desert Storm and there are pictures of them being used as late as early Afghanistan (Enduring Freedom).





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  • 1 year later...

The following contains research done by Craig and I during the process of developing American Web Equipment 1967-1991. I have mentioned before that our original draft for the book was about five times longer than what was published. Our editor was in the process of greenlighting an "expanded edition" of the book shortly before Craig's passing. Since that time I had, admittedly, lost all interest in the field of militaria. Recently, I had contact with a collector that, in a round about way, indicated that Craig would not have wanted the work he and I did "to go to waste." So after alot of soul-searching, and in the spirit of Craig (and his memory) wanting to help other researchers and collectors, I have decided to begin posting the (appropriate) research material that Craig and I had done (that did not make it to the book).


One of the chapters we had originally planned was concerning the commercial tactical load-bearing vests that were utilized by military units during the time frame of the book. Included was the Elevated Urban Operations QRV (seen in use during Urgent Fury and trialed later), the myriad of Adventure Specialist vests, the Lowe LCS-84 vest, and the ABA SOV (which was the only commercial vest of the time that was standardized and issued an NSN) and TLB vests. I had gathered alot of info from Greg Lowe during an interview with him about the development of the IIFS TLBV and FPLIF that never made it to the book. Alot of the info he gave was about their LCS-84 system.


One the questions I posed to Greg was that of the "1984" tan ABA TLB. Greg was unaware of the vest and advised that Lowe developed some of the test versions of the IIFS vest and ABA had no input whatsoever. Lowe did advise that after he designed the early test versions of the vest, Natick dropped Lowe from further development of the vest (they stayed on through 1986 - developing the FPLIF). This stumped Craig and I as to how ABA was able to get a FY1984 contract for a vest nearly identical to the Lowe LCS-84 and not be involved in the development of the IIFS TLBV.


After another year of research (after the book had been published) Craig and I finally solved the mystery of the "1984" ABA TLB. The link that lead to the discovery was that of Elevated Urban Operations (EUO) being purchased by ABA in the mid-1980s. At the time EUO had been developing what ABA would later market as their SOV (Special Operations Vest). During this time frame the army (specifically Aberdeen STEAP-PR Support Activity) contracted with EUO for QRV vests for test and use (the ones used by Rangers in Grenada were "gifted" by EUO to the Rangers). The contract, let on 24 September 1984, was to EUO (NOT to ABA) and was assigned the contract number DAAD05-84-C-4388. The contract was specifically for the QRV (which at the time had been modified since use in Grenada and had more in common with the later ABA SOV than the original QRV).


ABA acquired EUO a few years later and thus inherited the contract. From what Craig and I were able to glean from a former ABA employee is that, after acquiring ABA, they (ABA) begin supplying different vests to the military for testing and use (to include their SOV) possibly using the old EUO contact number. I am not going to get in specifics on contracts, but least to say a contract can be extended and modified for years after being let - and still be under the original contract number (I have plenty of examples - but this would be a topic for a different thread). They one thing that could not be nailed down is when the tan ABA TLB was actually supplied to the army - but it appears it was sometime after 1986.




(left) the "second version" EUO QRV (center) Ranger during Urgent Fury with "second version" QRV (right) "third version" QRV - which was later marketed by ABA as the SOV. This vest is the one that was originally assigned the DAAD05-84-C-4388 contract - not the ABA tan TLB.


The vests are Craig's - sorry about the lowres versions but I will post a proper thread on the history and development of the QRV later.


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  • 9 months later...

I had the chance to take some better pics of the tan ABA LBV recently, so I figured I'd add these to the thread.


6 color jacket is also a period modified piece.




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