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ARLINGTON, Va. — The Army and Marines are recalling 18,425 Outer Tactical Vests that “do not meet contract specifications,” the Marines announced Thursday.

“The limited recall only affects the OTV and not the Small Arms Protective Inserts (SAPI),” the statement said. “The OTV is the carrier for the SAPI plates, and no vests are currently being worn without the SAPI plates.”

The recall affects 8,083 Army vests and 10,342 Marine vests, the statement says. While the vests can stop 9 mm rounds and shrapnel, they do not meet certain ballistic criteria, the statement says.

It is unknown which Marines have the vests being recalled, but the Marines have enough vests on hand to replace any recalled OTVs being worn by Marines in Iraq and Afghanistan, said Capt. Jeff Landis, spokesman for Marine Corps System Command.

“We have ample stocks of OTVs that are newer generations of OTVs to provide as replacements,” Landis said.

The vests were manufactured by Point Blank Body Armor, Inc. and purchased under a Marine Corps contract between March 1999 and September 2001, wrote Marine Corps spokesman Maj. Douglas Powell via e-mail.

The Army bought vests under the Marine Corps contract and then determined the vests needed to be recalled, Army spokeswoman Maj. Desiree Wineland said.

“The Army project managers through their normal surveillance testing determined that six of the original OTV lots require recall,” Wineland said.

This is the second OTV recall this year for the Marines.

In May, the Marines announced a similar recall of about 5,300 vests issued to Marines with a waiver, after a small sample of each lot failed to meet ballistic standards.

In that incident, about five out of every 500 OTVs failed an initial test to stop 9 mm rounds but passed a second set of tests in a private laboratory.

At the time, Landis said the need the Marines had an “urgent” need in 2004 to get OTVs to Iraq-bound troops.

“If we have a 99.9 percent solution in front of us, we’re not going to wait for the 100 percent if Marines need it,” he said.


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