The Major’s new clothes: Rapid Fielding Initiative

April 10, 2009

Preparations for deployment continue.  This week I was issued two car trunks full of Army gear.  I’m impressed by the efficiency of the Fort Bliss Central Issue Facility (CIF–clothing warehouse).  In & out in less than one hour.

Later in the week I participated in the Rapid Fielding Initiative and received the latest individual equipment and clothing for the upcoming deployment.  Of note is the Improved Outer Tactical Vest (IOTV) this replaces the IBAS that I wore in Iraq a few years ago.  Just trying it on I feel far more confident in this system.  It’s a bit more comfortable and offers more protection (52 sq. inches to be exact) particularly around the ribcage.  Read an article about the IOTV hereUnofficial Video of a Soldier demonstrating the IOTV to his German Shepard.  You will see the quick release about the 1:30 mark.

Another item was the Army Combat Shirt.  This flame-resistant, lightweight breathable shirt is designed to be worn under the IOTV in lieu of the ACU coat & t-shirt.  Brilliant!  Soldiers in my brigade were issued two each.  I wish I had four.  Oh well.  The last time I was in Iraq I was only issued two sets of Desert Camoflague Uniforms (DCUs).  The green BDUs worked just was well in the desert.  Rest assured you won’t see me sporting the ACS with jeans in airports and shopping malls. (Note to self:  Find that link)  Nice wikipedia entry about the ACS here.