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Archive for the ‘For the Ladies’ Category

DEVCOM Soldier Center Seeks to Improve Body Armor for Women

Tuesday, April 26th, 2022

NATICK, Mass. — Researchers at the U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command Soldier Center, or DEVCOM SC, have developed a body armor questionnaire to help improve body armor for female users specifically and for all body armor users in general.

The researchers at DEVCOM SC — who are longtime experts in Soldier protection, human factors and gathering/analyzing Soldier input — are investigating body armor fit and related issues, and how those issues impact the ability of users to perform their mission.

Participation from current and past users of body armor will provide researchers with insight into user needs and ways to make improvements. Data will be collected from a questionnaire completed by eligible individuals.

The questionnaire is part of DEVCOM SC’s larger effort to support the Female Body Armor Modernization Act. In support of the act, DEVCOM SC is investigating and developing body armor system improvements specifically focused on women as well as improvements that will benefit both male and female Soldiers. DEVCOM SC’s Applied Ergonomics Team and the Consumer Research Team, both part of DEVCOM SC’s Soldier Effectiveness Directorate, have worked together to develop the questionnaire.

Blake Mitchell, team leader of the Applied Ergonomics Team and lead for the Anthropometric Study for the Female Body Armor Modernization program, explained that the questionnaire will help “to identify the predominant fit and performance issues, as well as the body armor system sizing and issuance process experienced by women in the Army.”

Mitchell explained that the questionnaire goes into considerable depth in its attempt to identify what the primary issues are in a way that can allow for design improvements. The questionnaire gives participants the means to identify ways they are not fully protected, any discomfort they experience — both short or long term — and how issues with fit may impede their ability to do their job.

“We want potential participants to understand the importance of completing this survey, because it takes time to answer all questions honestly and thoroughly, particularly for those who have more experience with body armor,” said Wendy Johnson, a research psychologist on the Consumer Research Team. “In order to make the survey more convenient and to accommodate their schedules, participants have up to seven days to complete the survey once they begin.”

The questionnaire is aimed at women in the Army, but all genders are welcome to respond. The research team hopes to use data from male respondents to better understand their general fit and performance issues. Researchers are also interested in gathering opinions of body armor users from the National Guard and the Reserves, as well as individuals who have recently separated from the military.

“We hope to elicit responses from a wide variety of mission areas across the military – from people that only have to wear body armor occasionally to those that wear it day and night for extended periods of time,” said Mitchell. “Having data from a broad array of users will allow us more power in how we understand and interpret the data, and aid in the better design of future systems to accommodate a broader range of the user population.”

The questionnaire asks respondents relevant questions about their body shape and size, as well as their experiences with, and performance impacts due to, body armor use. In addition to identifying the specific body armor elements that need to be improved, researchers also hope to find out what is working well.

“Researchers will summarize the information derived from this questionnaire and will make it available to designers, manufacturers and acquisition personnel,” said Mitchell. “Key issues will be grouped based on demographic and anthropometric descriptors to lead to a better understanding of how to improve fit and performance.”

As part of their larger effort to improve female body armor, DEVCOM SC researchers are also using data from the 2012 Anthropometric Survey, or ANSUR II, to better understand the size and shape of women who make up the U.S. Army. ANSUR II includes direct measurements and three-dimensional whole-body scans. ANSUR II was executed by DEVCOM SC and is one of the world’s largest and most comprehensive anthropometric surveys. It provides invaluable data that aids the design and optimization of a wide range of products.

The body armor questionnaire is part of DEVCOM SC’s ongoing emphasis on Soldier input as a key component in all research and product development.

“The Soldier Center wants to ensure that all of the products we support meet the requirements of all Soldiers so they can complete their mission and do their job without creating unneeded or additional burdens for them,” said Mitchell. “This questionnaire will provide specific information on Soldier’s preferences and experiences for body armor in their own voice.”

Data gathered from DEVCOM SC’s questionnaire will be used to improve future body armor development efforts for the Army. Navy body armor designers and project officers have also expressed interest in the results and have requested information and summary data on female Sailors who have experience with certain Navy body armor systems, as responses from other services are also being collected. The Soldier Center plans to have a summary of results by the end of the fiscal year.

If you are interested in participating in the questionnaire, it is available at online.

By Jane Benson, DEVCOM SC Public Affairs

Shoot Like A Girl Announces New Partnership with Vortex Optics

Tuesday, April 12th, 2022

ATHENS, Ala. –  April 11, 2022 – Shoot Like A Girl® is proud to introduce their new sponsor, Vortex Optics, for the Sea to Shining Sea Tour and the 2022 Season. Vortex Optics, an American-owned, veteran-owned, family-owned and operated business ensures the consumer receives the finest optics, accessories and apparel based on need.

“Vortex Optics is an all-encompassing business that demonstrates our values and mission at Shoot Like A Girl,” said Karen Butler, Founder and President of Shoot Like A Girl. “I am thrilled that our guests will get introduced to Vortex Optics’ wide array of products available at Bass Pro Shops and Cabela’s. These products will enhance our guests ability to enjoy the great outdoors.” 

Shoot Like A Girl strives to empower women through shooting sports demonstrations and events while opening a discussion surrounding sports and outdoors. Through partnerships like those with Vortex Optics, they’re able to bring their state-of-the-art mobile gun range and certified female instructors to cities across the country to share their extensive knowledge of firearms, archery, outdoor accessories and safety with guests and attendees who are never charged. Those present are given one-on-one attention from passionate experts in the shooting sports field.

“Vortex® is proud to work with Shoot Like a Girl and help support all the great work they’re doing to get new folks interested in hunting and shooting,” said Vortex® CEO Joe Hamilton. “Getting a hands-on experience is an incredibly important piece of the puzzle to create more hunters and shooters, and unfortunately many people never get this opportunity. Vortex® is committed to acting as a resource to help educate and inspire everyone to live a life outdoors, whether it’s their first time holding a handgun, or their 100th time out in the woods.”

To learn more about Vortex Optics, visit their website. During the Shoot Like A Girl Sea to Shining Sea Tour, Vortex products will be showcased at the mobile range for the public to view, experience and learn more about. The Home of the Brave Tour dates are available online.

Shoot Like A Girl Announces New Partnership with Taurus

Sunday, April 10th, 2022

ATHENS, Ala. –  April 5, 2022 – Shoot Like A Girl® is excited to announce their new partnership with Taurus for the Sea to Shining Sea Tour and the 2022 Season. Manufacturing an array of products from single action revolvers to long guns, Taurus has an offering for everyone interested in purchasing a firearm.

“The partnership with Taurus is an exciting addition to the products we can offer our attendees and guests,” said Karen Butler, Founder and President of Shoot Like A Girl. “They’re a reputable manufacturer with products in all areas, and we feel confident when displaying their firearms to our guests that they’re some of the best on the market.”

Shoot Like A Girl strives to empower women through shooting sports demonstrations and events while opening a discussion surrounding sports and outdoors. Through partnerships like those with Taurus, they’re able to bring their state-of-the-art mobile gun range and certified female instructors to cities across the country to share their extensive knowledge of firearms, archery, outdoor accessories and safety with guests and attendees who are never charged. Those present are given one-on-one attention from passionate experts in the shooting sports field.

“I want everyone to be able to own a firearm and to participate in the shooting and hunting lifestyle,” said Cody Osborn, Marketing Director for Taurus Manufacturing. “With that goal in mind, I look forward to helping guide these brands to establish a more personal interaction with their enthusiasts and to introducing everyone interested in firearms to the potential these brands can offer.”

To learn more about Taurus, visit their website. During the Shoot Like A Girl Sea to Shining Sea Tour, Taurus products will be showcased at the mobile range for the public to view, experience and learn more about. The Home of the Brave Tour dates are available online.

Kadri Clothing T-shirt Design Contest

Saturday, March 12th, 2022

How do you define strength? In today’s society, we tend to use a very male-oriented view of strength and power–physical might, physical ability, physical prowess. We say people are strong based on how much they can lift, the number of pullups performed, or athletic ability.

But what about other definitions of strength and power? Is a mother who works a full time job during the day, takes care of the household at night without losing her shit, strong? Is a young woman driven by her ambitions to succeed in a male-oriented profession while ignoring the naysayers and battling cultural norms, powerful?

Show us your definition of women’s strength and power. Design an original graphic concept and submit by March 31. Entries will be showcased in April; the winner will be selected by social media votes.

The design will be used as a limited-run t-shirt, available for purchase on the website. The winner will also receive Valkyrie Field Pants.

Send designs via DM to the IG account, but we’d prefer an email to [email protected]

Subject for email should be: Art Contest Submission

Happy designing!

Arc’teryx Presents – Usha: The First

Tuesday, March 8th, 2022

If you’ve ever visited Arc’teryx Headqurters, you’ve met Usha. She began with the company 30 years ago and has been there ever since.

DEVCOM Leads Effort to Make Warfighter Footwear More Inclusive

Wednesday, February 9th, 2022

NATICK, Mass. – Army Footwear Researchers at the U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command Soldier Center, or DEVCOM SC, are investigating the need for, and potential impact of boots made specifically for females. The effort will help to determine if there is a need for female-specific footwear lasts — lasts are the forms on which footwear is constructed.

Anita Perkins is a footwear research engineer in the Soldier Protection Directorate at DEVCOM SC and the technical lead for the Army Combat Boot Improvement effort, as well as the cross-service Female Fit and Size effort. Perkins explained that the cross-service Female Fit and Size effort will determine if female warfighters are adequately accommodated by the current combat and safety footwear.

Perkins trained several members of the Product Manager Soldier Clothing & Individual Equipment, or PdM SCIE, team in proper fitting techniques so they could then assist in fitting events at Langley Air Force Base, Fort Lee and Naval Station Norfolk. Her training of PdM SCIE team members and their assistance at the fitting events proved to be a great asset to the effort. PdM SCIE is part of Project Manager, Soldier Survivability at PEO Soldier.

“The goal of this effort is to improve the fit of combat boots for female service members, ultimately improving Soldier performance, enhancing comfort, and preventing injuries,” said Perkins. “Fit is a significant factor in footwear comfort. Improperly fitted boots can play a significant role in Soldier performance and increase injury risk, ranging from blisters to stress fractures.”

JOINT EFFORT

“It is in the interest of all services to ensure that female warfighters are adequately accommodated by properly fitted issued combat and safety footwear,” said Perkins. “Female members of all services are experiencing the same fit concerns with issued footwear. Some footwear items are offered in female-specific sizes, but it is still unclear whether all the shapes and sizes are accounted for with these female-specific sizes.”

Perkins explained that “the inclusion of the other services will allow for a unified, cross-service solution so that sizing and options are consistent across the branches.” Joint service participation increases opportunities for cross-service commonality in footwear, which will reduce the cost to each service and provide more capabilities.

DO GENDER DIFFERENCES AFFECT BOOT FIT?

“Gender-related differences in foot anthropometry are well documented,” said Perkins. “In terms of footwear fit, however, the effects of these differences are not well-quantified. There is a dearth of research evaluating how these anthropometric differences or female specific lasts impact the fit of footwear, especially in relation to combat boots. By studying and quantifying these effects, the Female Fit and Size effort will help to determine if there is a need for female-specific footwear lasts and/or additional sizing or width availability to improve the fit, comfort, and performance of combat and safety footwear for female warfighters.”

Perkins noted that many commercial boots and shoes advertised as female sizes are built on the same lasts as their male counterparts. The Female Fit and Size effort will evaluate four types of boots, including the unisex non-safety toe or soft-toe combat boots, female-specific soft-toe combat boots, unisex steel-toe combat boots, and female-specific steel-toe combat boots.

During testing, participants will carry out warfighter-specific tasks. Some of the common tasks for all the services include walking on multiple surfaces, including pavement, cement, grass, dirt, decks and floors; walking at a variety of speeds; walking on wet surfaces; running; climbing on and off a two-foot-high box; stair climbing; ladder climbing; walking up and down an incline; taking a knee and squats.

Participants will also perform service-specific tasks, including run and cut — performed by the Army and Air Force; marching while carrying a loaded rucksack — Army — and walking on metal decks, grating and gangways — common in a Navy environment.

DEVCOM SOLDIER CENTER’S EXPERTISE ARE A PERFECT FIT

The DEVCOM Soldier Center’s expertise in clothing, equipment and human factors — combined with the center’s unique testing capabilities and facilities — are playing an important role in the effort.

DEVCOM SC’s footwear engineers from the Soldier Protection Directorate’s Soldier Clothing, Footwear, and Integration Team are managing the project. The footwear engineers are experts in footwear materials, design, construction, and fitting criteria – expertise needed to interpret Soldier footwear preference and quantitative data.

DEVCOM SC’s Applied Ergonomics team will collect 3D foot measurements using the center’s 3D foot scanner. The foot scanner measures length, width, volume and arch height to help Soldiers obtain a more accurate fit.

In June 2021, Army Footwear subject-matter experts provided training on boot fitting to other DEVCOM SC personnel supporting the fit assessment. The knowledge of experienced footwear fitters will play an important role in the effort.

As part of the effort, the Applied Ergonomics Team will be conducting an assessment of the combat boot, the boot last and foot scans in the DEVCOM SC’s 3D Morphometry Laboratory. The team will also measure foot anthropometry manually without the scanner to obtain specifics for predicting boot size. The team’s dynamic foot assessment will include tasks related to human factors, as well as a questionnaire regarding fit, comfort, number of sizes tried on, and any other feedback.

SOLDIER FEEDBACK IS PLAYING A KEY ROLE  

As is the case with much of the work done by the DEVCOM SC, Soldier feedback plays a critical role in the Female Fit and Size effort.

“During the fit assessment, Soldier feedback will determine which size and width of each type of boot is preferred,” said Perkins. “The ‘best fit’ of each of the four boot types being assessed will be worn during the dynamic fit assessment. Soldier feedback will also be collected during and after the dynamic fit assessment. The data from the 3D foot scans and foot dimension measurements will be analyzed and correlated to the feedback of each participant. These data will drive recommendations for future military footwear requirements to ensure female warfighters are issued combat and safety footwear of appropriate size and fit.”

Overall, the Female Fit and Size effort is part of DEVCOM SC’s larger commitment to meeting the needs of female warfighters.

By Jane Benson, DEVCOM Soldier Center Public Affairs

AFIMSC Prioritizes Diversity, Inclusion for EOD Physical Fitness Test

Sunday, January 23rd, 2022

JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-LACKLAND, Texas (AFNS) —  

The Air Force Installation and Mission Support Center is leading the postpartum health guidance revisions for the upcoming explosive ordnance disposal Airmen-specific physical fitness test policy.

“We’re taking into account the mother’s needs while still keeping to the higher standard for the career field’s physical demands,” said Master Sgt. John Johnson, AFIMSC’s Installation Support EOD Program resource analyst. “We went right to the source and invited six EOD mother-Airmen to participate in a postpartum working group to develop courses of action and recommendations.”

Johnson and his team were given the charge to write the guidance for the career field’s operationally relevant Tier 2 PFT, which unlike the Tier 1 test is more physically demanding and independent of age and gender.

“This test will be more difficult than the standard Air Force test, so we wanted to make sure the policy gives our EOD mother-Airmen the correct amount of time to heal after giving birth,” Johnson said. “We don’t want them to rush back in and get hurt. We’re looking at the longevity of their careers and we’re here to see what we can do to help.”

Women’s health professionals were also present at the working group.

“Women make up 20% of the Air Force, so it’s important to ensure that we have policies in place that support them in their careers, as well as support them in their abilities to plan their families,” said Lt. Col. Larissa Weir, chief women’s health consultant to the Air Force Surgeon General. “Postpartum care for all women in general is evolving. We used to think the postpartum period was the first six weeks after the baby was born and then you go see the doctor to get the blessing that you were good to go. That’s not the case. For the first 12 months, there are continuous changes: hormonal, physiologic, and anatomic, … so postpartum care needs to be more comprehensive.

“Women in EOD have a special mission and more stringent requirements, so in order for the career field to be mission ready, we need to have these discussions and ensure our policies also evolve and are inclusive,” Weir said.

There are currently 37 women in the approximately 1,200 active EOD career field.

“We’re an even smaller group of mothers in EOD, so it’s easy to forget about us,” said Master Sgt. Andrea Rasmussen, EOD equipment section chief, 96th Civil Engineer Squadron at Eglin Air Force Base, Florida. “I am six months postpartum myself and it’s been a challenge. I have medical issues pertaining to my postpartum and have even gone to the emergency room a few times. All this while trying to take care of myself, take care of my home, take care of my daughter, take care of my work and prepare for a physical fitness test.

“I want to remain fully qualified and continue to be an asset to my team,” Rasmussen said, “so I’m glad we’re here being heard and coming up with courses of action now as this new Tier-2 policy is being written.”

Members of the working group also decided to continue to collaborate and develop additional tools and guidance for postpartum EOD Airmen.

“This meeting made me and my male counterparts in attendance realize how little we know about postpartum care in the EOD community,” Johnson said. “Outside of the policy, one of our go-do’s will be to put together a postpartum playbook and share it on our EOD SharePoint site. It’ll be a compilation of all the information the medical professionals shared with us today and other highlights in our discussion.”

The next steps for Johnson and his team will be to write the courses of action decided by the group, which include a proposed extension to the current Tier 1 postpartum delay, and add recommendations for related care. The draft of the Tier 2 test policy will then be sent to Headquarters Air Force for approval.

“I’m glad we have leadership who is willing to listen and willing to address issues that they may not be familiar with,” Rasmussen said. “That kind of support is paramount for not only women experiencing postpartum but women in general across the Air and Space Forces.”

By Malcolm McClendon, Air Force Installation and Mission Support Center Public Affairs

Navy Kicks off Maternity Uniform Pilot Program – Here are the Details

Monday, December 20th, 2021

WASHINGTON – Having a baby is a joyous time that can also be stressful and expensive. To relieve some of that stress, the Navy and the Department of Defense launched a pilot program to provide maternity uniforms at no cost to the Sailor.

Announced Dec. 15 in NAVADMIN 284/21, this pilot program will test the idea of issuing expectant mothers maternity uniforms, fully hemmed with all required sewn-on accoutrements and shipped at no cost to the Sailor. The program will officially commence January 2, 2022.

“The pilot will run for the next four years and expires on Sept. 30, 2026. Program can support up to 400 Sailors annually starting in calendar year 2022.” said Robert B. Carroll, head of the Navy Uniform Matters. “It’s open on a first-come, first-served basis to officers and enlisted in the active and reserve components worldwide. Following years may support more Sailors consistent with both pilot demand and funding we’ve been provided.”

Sailors will be issued the uniforms with no costs coming out of their pockets, shipped to them free of charge from the Navy Exchange. However, Sailors will be required to turn the items in once their maternity period is over. Participating in the program more than once over the four years is allowed.

Issued maternity uniforms will be the Navy Working Uniform Type III and Service Khaki for E7 and above, and the Navy Service Uniform for E-6 and below. Service Dress Whites and Blues dependent upon the Uniform needed and the Cardigan Sweater will also be issued.

Only the main uniform items, such as blouses, shirts and pants will be issued along with hemming and all required sewn-on accoutrements attached as required.

Participation starts with Sailors routing a request through their chain of command. Once approved, their local Navy Exchange (NEX) uniform shop will measure each for their uniform items. Sailors then forward the request and measurements to the points of contact listed in the NAVADMIN, who review the Sailor’s record for final approval.

Once final approval is done, the Sailor’s information is forwarded to the NEX Call Center by the Uniform Matters Office team. The NEX Call Center will contact the participants directly.

The complete process, details and points of contact are in NAVADMIN 284/21.

Navy uniform policy updates result from Fleet feedback, uniform working group discussions; command sponsored requests and direction from Navy leadership.

From MC1 Mark D. Faram, Chief of Naval Personnel Public Affairs