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1970 dated Body Armor Aircrewman vest, modification?


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I saw this at my local surplus store today. It's Vietnam era. It's supposed to have the "Chicken Plate" in it, but that was missing.

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Instead I found this in place of the "Chicken Plate" . Did guys do this kind of modification at the time? The duct tape is very old and the "sticky" has turned into a white dust. I can see wanting more flexibility in the vest, but has anyone seen this?

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  • 2 months later...
mohawkALSE

No way, looks like someone wrecked a nice soft armor set and made it fit into the chicken plate carrier.   Did you buy it or leave it be?  The carrier itself being a Nam era one are pretty pricey alone without the hard plates.   I actually found a brand new old stock vest with both front and back plates at a surplus store last year that I had to have.  Was a post Nam dated vest though with a 84 contract. 

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2 hours ago, mohawkALSE said:

No way, looks like someone wrecked a nice soft armor set and made it fit into the chicken plate carrier.   Did you buy it or leave it be?  The carrier itself being a Nam era one are pretty pricey alone without the hard plates.   I actually found a brand new old stock vest with both front and back plates at a surplus store last year that I had to have.  Was a post Nam dated vest though with a 84 contract. 

That was the thing about the soft armor. It was new when it was cut up. The tags were too clean for it not to have been done period. The duct tape was so old the glue had  turned to a white powder.  No one today would have done that to a flak vest. A friend ended up buying it.

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  • 6 months later...
Spathologist

I was going to post that all you need is a diaper, but nope, you have one.  Kinda.

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mohawkALSE
On 10/9/2021 at 4:24 PM, Spathologist said:

I was going to post that all you need is a diaper, but nope, you have one.  Kinda.

I'm sure you had some good times wearing chicken plate in your earlier years.  Might have even still been some 70 contracts floating around.  I had looked up my 84 contract, the NSN for chicken plate had been cancelled I guess since they had a stockpile of the late Nam era ones and when Grenada happened they ran out of 1 or 2 of the 3 sizes available so they had to start production back up again.  I know they did another 2 or 3 contracts after that, I think 88, 89 and 91.

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Spathologist
17 hours ago, mohawkALSE said:

I'm sure you had some good times wearing chicken plate in your earlier years.  Might have even still been some 70 contracts floating around.  I had looked up my 84 contract, the NSN for chicken plate had been cancelled I guess since they had a stockpile of the late Nam era ones and when Grenada happened they ran out of 1 or 2 of the 3 sizes available so they had to start production back up again.  I know they did another 2 or 3 contracts after that, I think 88, 89 and 91.

 

The chicken plate wasn't bad.  Heavy, but really no hotter than later aircrew armor.  I wore it during Just Cause and El Salvador, and up to 2003-ish in Colombia.

 

One thing I didn't like was the composition of the plates and the maintenance they required.  When I needed to wear it, I was usually someplace without an x-ray, and I had seen first-hand the results of getting shot with a cracked plate...generally worse than just getting shot.  But, it was what we had and later gear was certainly much better.

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mohawkALSE
3 hours ago, Spathologist said:

 

The chicken plate wasn't bad.  Heavy, but really no hotter than later aircrew armor.  I wore it during Just Cause and El Salvador, and up to 2003-ish in Colombia.

 

One thing I didn't like was the composition of the plates and the maintenance they required.  When I needed to wear it, I was usually someplace without an x-ray, and I had seen first-hand the results of getting shot with a cracked plate...generally worse than just getting shot.  But, it was what we had and later gear was certainly much better.

This is probably the history of the armor you wore.  Which did you hate more, the original style chicken plate or the 50 cal circulation stopper?  I'm still missing the hard plates for the AIRSAVE armor.

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Spathologist

I loathed that SARVIP .50 cal plate.  It's why I stayed with the chicken plate until we started getting AIRSAVE gear with 7.62 plates.  I liked the AIRSAVE and Air Warrior gear; they really started loading us down compared to the old SRU-21 and chicken plate days, but it was distributed well and not too difficult to E&E with if you put some thought to how your equipment was placed.  Bat belts helped a lot.  Bat belts could be a whole other category of aircrew gear!

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mohawkALSE
On 10/16/2021 at 7:48 AM, Spathologist said:

I loathed that SARVIP .50 cal plate.  It's why I stayed with the chicken plate until we started getting AIRSAVE gear with 7.62 plates.  I liked the AIRSAVE and Air Warrior gear; they really started loading us down compared to the old SRU-21 and chicken plate days, but it was distributed well and not too difficult to E&E with if you put some thought to how your equipment was placed.  Bat belts helped a lot.  Bat belts could be a whole other category of aircrew gear!

Never really see conventional Army Aircrew using them.  160th def pioneered that in the early 90s with their old black colored gear from various makers.  Most of it was modified pouches made by ABA.   I have seen in recent years some USAF guys following suit to them since they used Eagle CIACS vests now.  Did you make up a Bat Belt ?   I have gotten a lot of old 160th stuff from the 90s back in the early 2000s.   Was ABA, LBT and Eagle stuff,   rigger belt, EnE pouch for an IFAK or TAC kit, mag pouch for MP5 or M16 and a thigh rig holster.

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On 10/19/2021 at 6:12 PM, mohawkALSE said:

Never really see conventional Army Aircrew using them.  160th def pioneered that in the early 90s with their old black colored gear from various makers.  Most of it was modified pouches made by ABA.   I have seen in recent years some USAF guys following suit to them since they used Eagle CIACS vests now.  Did you make up a Bat Belt ?   I have gotten a lot of old 160th stuff from the 90s back in the early 2000s.   Was ABA, LBT and Eagle stuff,   rigger belt, EnE pouch for an IFAK or TAC kit, mag pouch for MP5 or M16 and a thigh rig holster.

 

I made up my first bat belt working in Colombia in around 2004 when we started getting Air Warrior.  The vest was too heavy to be comfortable walking around in it, with all the stuff you "had" to carry on it.  We didn't carry long arms, so the sidearm in a drop-leg, a couple of spare mags, a blow-out kit, a small Garmin, and a few odds and ends like a small flashlight and a multitool in an admin-type pouch.  Everyone but the maintenance officer used a bat belt in Colombia by 2005-2006.

 

When I used a bat belt in Afghanistan 2011-2012, I added a fixed-blade knife, a couple of single-magazine pouches for the M4, and a drop strap for my kneeboard.  Probably a third of the aircrew used bat belts there.  Here's a pic of what I was loaded down with in Afghanistan.  The bat belt is covered by the bottom of the vest, but you can see the kneeboard and the thigh strap for the drop holster attached to the belt.

 

 

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47 minutes ago, Spathologist said:

 

I made up my first bat belt working in Colombia in around 2004 when we started getting Air Warrior.  The vest was too heavy to be comfortable walking around in it, with all the stuff you "had" to carry on it.  We didn't carry long arms, so the sidearm in a drop-leg, a couple of spare mags, a blow-out kit, a small Garmin, and a few odds and ends like a small flashlight and a multitool in an admin-type pouch.  Everyone but the maintenance officer used a bat belt in Colombia by 2005-2006.

 

When I used a bat belt in Afghanistan 2011-2012, I added a fixed-blade knife, a couple of single-magazine pouches for the M4, and a drop strap for my kneeboard.  Probably a third of the aircrew used bat belts there.  Here's a pic of what I was loaded down with in Afghanistan.  The bat belt is covered by the bottom of the vest, but you can see the kneeboard and the thigh strap for the drop holster attached to the belt.

 

 

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Here is a pic from the early-mid 2000s of one of the last black gear era Bat Belts used by a MH-47 crew member.  Has a couple Shooting Systems brand pouches.  Ive also seen radio pouches with PRC-112s in them as we;; as pistol thigh rigs and some other misc pouches.   After this generation of gear their later MOLLE vest pouches have been used on various rigger belts to make up a Bat Belt.  Thought this pic was cool seeing them wearing the Mustang suits in the cold Wx.

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2 hours ago, Spathologist said:

 

I made up my first bat belt working in Colombia in around 2004 when we started getting Air Warrior.  The vest was too heavy to be comfortable walking around in it, with all the stuff you "had" to carry on it.  We didn't carry long arms, so the sidearm in a drop-leg, a couple of spare mags, a blow-out kit, a small Garmin, and a few odds and ends like a small flashlight and a multitool in an admin-type pouch.  Everyone but the maintenance officer used a bat belt in Colombia by 2005-2006.

 

When I used a bat belt in Afghanistan 2011-2012, I added a fixed-blade knife, a couple of single-magazine pouches for the M4, and a drop strap for my kneeboard.  Probably a third of the aircrew used bat belts there.  Here's a pic of what I was loaded down with in Afghanistan.  The bat belt is covered by the bottom of the vest, but you can see the kneeboard and the thigh strap for the drop holster attached to the belt.

 

 

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That A2CU looks familiar, wonder if its the one you sent me.  Did you carry a Gerber ASEK vs the Ontario?

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11 hours ago, mohawkALSE said:

That A2CU looks familiar, wonder if its the one you sent me.  Did you carry a Gerber ASEK vs the Ontario?

 

There's a 25% chance; I had 4 sets. 

 

I very much preferred the Gerber over the Ontario.  A more substantial, and useful, knife than the Ontario.

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