Tinker Air Force Base Rolls Out New Armor Designed For Women

Wednesday, June 23rd 2021, 6:27 pm

MIDWEST CITY, Oklahoma -

Tinker Air Force Base is rolling out new gear for female airmen designed to help them complete their daily duties in a more comfortable and safer way.

One airman with Tinker Air Force Base said her new body armor makes her feel like the Air Force is making strides to make decisions with women's needs in mind. 

Part of Flight Sergeant Jessenia McKnight's daily routine when she arrives on base is gearing up with her body armor.

“This is a daily use. We wear it every day for the eight hour shifts that we work right now. We use it for when we get in our vehicles patrolling around in the installation, that's where we’re checking ID cards to make sure personnel coming in that they're valid,” McKnight said.

McKnight and other airmen received new body armor called the Improved Outer Tactical Vest which features a more curved chest. The Air Force said it’s part of a larger effort to make female airmen feel more comfortable.

“It's lightweight, it's flexible, we can get in the vehicle and we can get out of the vehicle, we can run if we need to,” McKnight said.

McKnight said she didn't notice any discomfort with her old vest, but she can tell her new armor was made to fit a woman's body.

“It has buckles on the sides, so our bodies are just a little different. Female bodies to male bodies they just carry weight in different areas. So, having those buckles in the waistline rather than having them all over the body is just a little easier for us,” McKnight said.

McKnight said this is the first time the security forces is tailoring gear for women, and it makes it feel like they're making more of an effort for her to feel protected.

The 72nd Security Forces Squadron has made the body armor available to all female airmen in the squadron.