Modern US Soldier's Body Armor

I seldom see modern US soldiers wearing the collar, shoulder, groin protector, and helmet cheek chops. Are reasons for this? Thanks in advance.

Sometimes you have to make compromises. Mobility over protection. During my time in the sandbox, we were issued the First Gen IBAS (interceptor Body Armor System).

Far superior to the old flak jackets that were common issued in the 90s.

The old Flak jacket was only good for low velocity shrapnel and didn’t really protected much against a direct hit from a 7.62x39 round.

I personally wore it with the SAPI (Small Arms Protective Insert) plates, but not the collar, neck yoke and groin protector; with average temps in the AO in the triple digits, we just kept those add-ons off, to prevent ourselves from suffering from a heatstroke.

There were situations where I simply slapped everything on, like on a convoy escort. I was a turret gunner and most of my upper torso was exposed outside of our M1025. We didn’t have the luxury of Up-armored Humvees or remote-controlled machine guns. Name Tape Defilade was my mantra in those days.

The Deltoid and Axillary Protection System (DAPS) shoulder panels were not issued while I was overseas; and neither were the side pouches for the smaller side SAPI plates. Those came standard on the IOTV, which replaced the IBAS.

As for the Cheek chops? Those I’ve never seen anyone wear those.


The closest thing is the Maxillofacial plate, usually worn by helicopter pilots (like this Crew Chief).



It all depends upon chain of command directions. If the bosses specify wearing the cod piece, collar, and throat pieces, then that’s what you do.
If not, well then the troops have some leeway. At very least the basic vest and SAPI plates will be worn.


@Stikpusher collar yok and extras are usually in a tuff box kept clean to return to cif once you pcs or ets. Don’t be the PL that puts it all together and shows up to your unit with all the extras on, you’ll get laughed at. But yes the basic frame and sapi plates are generally all that’s worn.



Like I said. I never wore the extras. Just the vest and plates.




“Don’t be the PL that puts it all together and shows up to your unit with all the extras on, you’ll get laughed at.”

I remember an article from early in the Iraq war when a tank commander said that guys would laugh at his loader for wearing the Interceptor armor while on the tank . . . Until the day he took a 7.62mm round in the torso when riding out of the hatch and the armor stopped it. The TC said everybody was wearing armor the next day.

As to the OP’s question, it’s human nature. Young men think they are indestructible, and are very suceptible to peer pressure. NFL players don’t wear all the padding and protection they can or are required to; they claim it affects their mobility, and they get injured from hard hits. In industry, most injuries result from not using available and required protective equipment or following procedures.




I’m on the right. I only wore the vest. The groin protector and the neck collar got tossed. I did try to use the neck protector, but I couldn’t see to shoot in the prone.


Hello Trisaw,

I tend to agree with Stikpusher. The uniform is dictated by the Commander and that is based on contributing conditions in the AO.

Maneuverability is a huge factor, in my opinion. Whether one is clearing structures or humping the hills, armor can feel like a disadvantage when your enemy isn’t carrying a similar weight. Hence, some guys discard as much as they can.

Not everyone who deploys to a combat zone is actually engaged in the fighting…this seems to have been a contributing factor to some units/individual choices. I gladly wore armor for my crotchal region once they flew one in that was big enough for that critical area.

In Iraq, our unit wore the whole ensemble. In Afghanistan, we were issued two (2) different sets of body armor. One (heavy) was required for operations below a certain altitude and the other (lighter) was optional at higher altitudes.

I think, overall, form follows function. Increased casualties is a strong motivator to wear what you got, too.

Interestingly, we would have people who griped about the armor on their vehicles, yet, they would insist that it was too hard, too hot, too WTF, etc. for them to wear their personal kit.

I have met police officers who share similar observations.



@KurtLaughlin the other one that got a lot of guys in trouble was taking the soft armor out that goes before the sapi plate. I remember doing a rotation at JRTC and guys were given plate inspections and threatened with a trifle 15s because they didn’t have soft armor too.

  • If I remember correctly i always thought the additional items like collar and groin protectors were for IEDs. I know at least when going to NTC we were never required to wear additional stuff. Now maybe the extra stuff would be mandated in an operation environment overseas. Especially I could see it being mandated for mounted patrols in humvees.

Our Task Force Commander was shall we say, risk averse… He had us wearing the full damned things on ops. I was very happy to turn it all in at Ft Lewis CIF when we de-mobed.


Thanks for the answers. Keep them coming! :grinning:

Lotts love and respect for a fellow MP.

Travel light, freeze at night. That saying doesn’t quite apply to body armor, however it still has some merit. I wore my plates in the turret of the gun truck because I sat on the edge of the turret armor rather than hiding inside of it, with no situational awareness. The gunner was the eyes and ears for our gun trucks.
If we were on a hit, I might have had my back plate in if I have been gunning on the way to the target (and I usually was since I wrote 99% of the CONOPS. If I wasn’t gunning, or we got a ride from someone else, I’d take out the back plate so I could move more quickly. There all walls to climb, etc… When you’re in your 40’s as I was at the time you’re already at a disadvantage. Yes, I’ve seen Blackhawk Down. But on a hit. I’ll be the last guy to get shot in the back.
We did a border mission where we wore practically no gear at all, no helemt, no body armor, and big Army dropped us off out of a Maxx Pro. I’ve written about that one before - where I decided to stroll across the Syrian border in the middle of the night just to see what was what. Things worked out, but it was nice to know I could run faster if I needed to.
Even patrolling the streets of Rabiah, we often wore no helmets. We tried to look more “friendly.”