I recently had to do inventory at work on a bunch of body armor belonging to non-surviving soldiers from Iraq. Here are my observations.
The equipment arrived in a large wooden crate, with sets of armor in large plastic bags. There was sand everywhere. Most sets of armor had front, back, and 2 side plates. The plates are small, maybe about 10 inches x 15 inches, and weigh about 6-10 lbs. On some of the plates you can see bullet holes.
The helmets were a little harder to deal with. A couple of the helmets had bullet entry and exit holes. I noticed one helmet was quite muddy, and then realized it was dried blood. A few of the helmets were no longer the shape they started off.
As I sorted through the equipment I managed to keep my emotions out of it. It took me a lot longer than my boss expected to go through the inventory. I think I was just handling each piece with the utmost care, out of respect for the dead. Later in the day, when I recounted the experience to my husband, I felt a little more emotional about it.
We are going to try to figure out how the armor failed to make improvements to the armor. I am happy that we are doing something to help, but unhappy that we have to make protective equipment for war.