Development of the Lightweight Ammunition Carrying Vest began in May 1969 after the 25th Infantry Division requested that a garment be produced to enable riflemen to carry M-16 magazines comfortably and securely.1 Following Natick Labs completion of the design work in October, 400 vests were procured by the Defense Personnel Support Center (DSPC) and shipped to Vietnam in January 1970 for evaluation by the 4th and 25th Infantry Divisions.2
The vest featured 20 pockets, each accommodating a single 20-round M-16 magazine, distributed over the front and sides. The lower back portion of the vest boasted two additional pockets far carrying a pair of 1-quart canteens.
After a favorable 60-day test the Army Concept Team in Vietnam (ACTIV) recommended that Natick reinforce the pocket corners and add delta rings for carrying 4 grenades. ACTIV proposed that the suggested modifications be evaluated in the U.S. and that if successful, the vest be issued for operational use in Vietnam.
1. As the proposed design meant that vest could not be worn with standard load bearing equipment being issued in Vietnam it was not considered an urgent operational requirement and was therefore developed under VLAPA (Vietnam Laboratory Assistance Program Army) rather than ENSURE (Expediting Non-Standard Urgent Requirements for Equipment).
2. 300 vests were tested by the 25th Inf. Div., 100 by the 4th Inf. Div.