The report found that up to 80 percent of the Marines killed from upper torso wounds could have been saved if troops had been provided with additional protection that commanders in the field began requesting at the beginning of the war.
The report also found that because the Pentagon failed to provide the requested body armor, troops desperate for protection began buying their own sets as early as early as Fall 2003.
The current body armor worn by most troops covers areas of the chest and back, but a study of the fatal wounds found that many marines died when bullets and shrapnel struck their shoulders, sides and areas of the torso not covered by the body armor. According to the study, increasing the size of the existing shields "would have had the potential to alter the fatal outcome" in 31 of the cases studied.
The New York Times article can be found at www.nytimes.com/2006/01/07/politics/07armor.html?8bl