Marines Recall Body Armor After Quality Is Questioned
The Marine Corps is recalling 5,277 combat vests issued to troops in Iraq, Afghanistan and the East African nation of Djibouti after a newspaper article raised concerns that they had failed a test to determine whether they could stop a bullet.
The Marines said in a statement that they were recalling the vests to alleviate any doubts caused by a Marine Corps Times article published Monday, although service officials said they did not believe the vests were faulty.
Several vests manufactured by Point Blank Body Armor Inc., based in Pompano Beach, Fla., fell short of the Marines’ standards during testing in 2004, said Capt. Jeff Landis, a Marine Corps spokesman.
Most Point Blank vests passed the tests, but the Marine liaison to Point Blank recommended that the service reject thousands of vests in the production lots of those that failed, according to 2004 memos obtained by the Marine Corps Times and posted on the Internet.
The Marines tested vests from those lots again at another test range, and they passed, Landis said. Marine officials then issued waivers allowing the vests to be distributed to troops, but decided to recall the vests from the field when they learned of the article.
“Point Blank stands by its products,” said Ish Burks, a spokesman for Point Blank’s parent company, DHB Industries. “The vests are performing in the only test that matters -- live combat. There have been no reported failures in the field.”