BAGRAM AIRFIELD — Pfc. Alan McAllister successfully completed assembly of his Improved Outer Tactical Vest (IOTV) last week, after initially reporting difficulty choosing where to place his 16.25”-long Tactical Tomahawk, given the litany of restrictions imposed by his leadership.
McAllister, an Intelligence Analyst assigned to XVIII Airborne Corps, prominently displayed the vest, the Army’s newest and most durable iteration of ceramic plate-carrying protective equipment, in his office. He and his teammates even moved their flat screen television and Xbox One console to the back wall so their armor was better accessible.
“It was a real pain in the ass,” McAllister explained. “Our Battalion Commander gave out this long list of stuff that had to be on [the vest]: First aid kit, extra tourniquets, and six magazine pouches. Six!”
Ultimately, McAllister was able to combine the items from the list with additional components of real tactical value. For instance, by placing his Individual First Aid Kit (IFAK) at the small of his back, he was able to minimize the profile of the six magazine pouches arrayed across his stomach. This also left a considerable amount of room on the chest for a 5”x8” Enhanced Admin Pouch filled with every color of Sharpie.
“But this is where is got tough,” McAllister said, gesturing toward the black anodized hilt of his Tomahawk. The weapon’s MOLLE-compatible sheath was secured firmly to upper back of the vest. “Yeah dude … I can just pull it out like a fucking ninja sword.”
The tomahawk, replete with axe wedge, contoured pry bar, and molded plastic sheath, had been purchased the prior Sunday at a weekly bazaar of local merchants. Seeing that the blade was subtly etched with the respected Benchmade logo, McAllister gladly paid the vendor’s asking price of $300 – a retail savings of over $80.
“I’ve watched a lot of YouTube videos on how to properly employ this weapon system,” McAllister continued. “Those Taliban pussies aren’t going to know what hit them,” as he swung his right arm in a wide arc, demonstrating a basic decapitation strike.
With the IOTV’s total weight of approaching 38 pounds, McAllister stressed the importance of a streamlined and ergonomic arrangement of mission-critical equipment. This was the primary rationale used in his resolution to simply carry the extra tourniquets in his cargo pockets. “I also managed to save some weight by taking the bullets out of the magazines I won’t use.”
At press time, McAllister had not yet donned his IOTV, but expressed excitement at the prospect.