The introduction of the Pelvic Protection System provides a valuable new level of protection for the dismounted soldier. Dismounted Soldiers who encountered buried mines or improvised explosive devises (IEDs) were suffering significant injuries, not only to their feet and lower legs, but to their upper thighs and groin areas. These resulted in above the knee and even high hip amputations.
“There were a lot of significant injuries, and very traumatic injuries occurring to Soldiers in the lower extremity area,” said LTC Frank Lozano, Product Manager Soldier Protective Equipment. “It’s very traumatic, very heartbreaking, when Soldiers go through those types of events, and they are very young, and then they come home and they are not able to have children.”
The Army developed the Pelvic Protection System. The system includes two layers of protection for Soldiers, including the Tier I protective under-garment, called the “PUG,” and the Tier II protective outer-garment, called the “POG.” The PUG is worn under a Soldier’s ACU pants in place of, or over the Soldier’s underwear.
It resembles typical bicycle shorts, and is made out of a breathable, moisture-wicking material on the outer thighs with a tougher Kevlar mesh to provide added protection to the inner thighs and the femoral artery. The groin also receives additional protection.
There are other benefits to wearing the PUGs. The material stops infectious debris such as dirt and manure from penetrating the skin when the Soldier is hit by an IED explosion. Even after many medical procedures some of this material can remain and cause infections that result in further amputations.
The outer garment, the POG, provides even more protection for Soldiers, and is made of ballistic material similar to the soft panels in the improved outer tactical vest (IOTV).
LTC Lozano recommends that Soldiers wear both garments. The Tier II has more ballistic protection but is a little more rigid. The undergarment is not only softer, it helps prevent the POG from chafing the Soldier.
The Army first fielded the pelvic protection system in June 2011. To date, the POGs and PUGs have been fielded to approximately 15,000 Soldiers. The typical issue includes three PUGs and one POG. Fielding is happening now for Soldiers in theater and for Soldiers stateside.