Female Defenders Test New and Improved Body Armor > Whiteman Air Force Base > View Article

The 20 female guards assigned to the 509th Security Squadron have received new, better-fitting bulletproof vests designed to fit the female body.

The Defense Corps plans to test the vests for a month before distributing them more widely to women in the company.

“We appreciate the time and effort that went into developing this vest to properly equip our female Airmen,” said Air Force Sgt. Melissa Villalobos, 509th Special Combat Wing logistics noncommissioned officer.

The new vest features a curved front plate and additional interior buckles that make it easily adjustable to fit all body shapes and sizes.

Villalobos said female Defence Corps members will test the vests during their daily operations and then have the opportunity to provide key feedback and suggestions for improvement to the Women’s Initiative team.

Led by the Air Force Barrier Analysis Task Force, the Women’s Initiatives team is made up of volunteers from across the Air Force dedicated to identifying and addressing barriers to women’s careers in policies, processes and programs. In addition to the uniform improvements, the team also sponsored new hairstyle regulations that went into effect in February.

“The new changes for women are great,” said Senior Airman Juliana Brooks, a defender with the 509th Special Airborne Forces. “We are really starting to feel valued and not limited. It’s important to make these changes because the world is constantly evolving and we need to keep up.”

Changing old regulations and standards has also proven effective in boosting morale.

“The Air Force is making many needed reforms and I believe we are moving in the right direction to be more inclusive for all,” Villalobos said. “These reforms will help us grow as leaders and as Airmen.”

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