Bringing the Text to Life
Mention the word “armor” and most people conjure up images of medieval knights in shiny metal suits jousting in a tournament. Mention it to a soldier serving “downrange” in a modern battle space, however, and you’ll get a very different image.
For thousands of years, military planners and engineers have tried to come up with a solution to protect soldiers from injury and death through the use of body armor. From those clunky knights to the steel vests designed for (and quickly abandoned by) soldiers in the American Civil War to the iconic “flak” vest of the Vietnam era, soldiers have contended with the uncomfortable, and often ineffective, weight and bulk of armor, which only adds to the misery of war.
Take the current ballistic vest worn by soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan, for example. It weighs about 20 pounds and consists of layers of tightly woven ballistic fibers such as Kevlar, which dissipates the impact of many conventional bullets and bomb fragments — but not all of them....