Theodore's World: PPE Stops Round, Saves Marine

« A Very Special Book From Two Very Special People | Main | Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki: Country can manage without U.S. »

July 15, 2007

PPE Stops Round, Saves Marine

Sergeant Travis Tollison, 3rd platoon guide with India Co. stands with the 7.62mm round that hit him in his back SAPI plate while performing operations in Al Anbar Province earlier this month. The Marine Corps is constantly making advancements for better and more efficient body armor. Photo by: Lance Cpl. Timothy M. Stewman

By Lance Cpl. Timothy M. Stewman, 13th MEU

(July 14, 2007)

Over the past decade there have been significant advancements in body armor. During that time there have also been heated debates concerning the performance and effectiveness of the body armor being used by Marines.

One Marine with Battalion Landing Team 3/1 got to see first-hand just how effective his issued body armor is.

“We were out doing a vehicle mounted patrol and we dismounted, that’s when I heard the first shot,” said Sgt. Travis Tollison, India Company, 3rd platoon guide. “I tried to find out where the original shot came from and I heard a second shot. I went into the prone position when I realized that I had been hit. I reached to my lower back and was beginning to feel pain. The round had gone through my Camelbak and I felt the water which, at the time, I thought it was blood. When the corpsman looked me over I only had a bruise on the left side of my lower back. The round had embedded into my back SAPI (Small-Arms Protective Insert) plate. I believe without the plate, I would be telling a whole different story.”

The Marines in his platoon don’t hesitate to give Tollison a hard time about the incident. It usually consists of an impression of how he looked when he realized that he had been hit. The guys get a good laugh from the incident, but they know just how fortunate Tollison is that his gear did what it was supposed to.

With all the controversy surrounding civilian companies claiming to have more effective gear for combat, Marines and their family members have considered the use of civilian body armor over government issued. Recently Headquarters Marine Corps made the decision to prohibit the use of civilian body armor in combat. Marines on the front lines understand the functionality of the body armor and have confidence in the protection it provides.

“There are always going to be things to complain about when it comes to body armor, especially with the addition of the side SAPI plates,” said Tollison, an Anderson, S.C. native. “Though the weight isn’t exactly pleasant, the payoff is protection that is combat tried and tested.”

One thing about combat body armor is that technology is constantly advancing. The Marine Corps continually researches and develops new and more effective ways to keep the men and women who serve in combat safer. For now, the body armor being used today is holding its own, protecting Marines.

Wild Thing's comment........

Thank God he is ok!!

Posted by Wild Thing at July 15, 2007 12:50 AM


Sgt Travis has one hell of a momento. Thank God his armor worked and here's hoping he attracts no more rounds.

Posted by: TomR at July 15, 2007 02:15 PM

Good to see the armor works as promised and Sgt. Travis is A-OK.

I just wonder how much of the teasing he is getting has to do with the water flowing down his pants when the round pierced his camelback.

Not only does he have a hell of a momento, but he and his buddies will be laughing about that part of the episode for many, many years to come. Hope he can take it! ;-)

Posted by: joated at July 15, 2007 05:22 PM

Tom, yesssss and if I were him I think I would have that fixed somehow on a chain just to show people. I have seen that kind of thing done before.

Posted by: Wild Thing at July 16, 2007 12:21 AM

Joated, they will laugh about it like you said. Laughing and with tremendous gratitude that he is ok, at the same time.

I looked at your blog it is really nice and I love reading your posts about the cabin. I love cabins.

Posted by: Wild Thing at July 16, 2007 12:24 AM