First created in 2051, the military-grade combat armor was designed to protect key sections of the human body from ballistic trauma with hard armored plates made from complex polymers and ceramics, with a flexible body suit interwoven with thermal-dissipative membranes and bulletproof material. The earliest models of the combat armor were manufactured as specific plates mounted on combat webbing, although as the technology improved, body-enclosing suits of armor were created and entered active combat duty, though in limited quantities. The armor came with a matte-finish olive drab coloring by default, making it suitable for woodland and/or urban camouflage.
Prior to the Great War, combat armor was nearly exclusively the property of military forces and special police units. Currently-available historical documentation shows users only in the North American continent, but allied nations were likely to possess identical or similar systems. Combat armor was the de facto armor of the United States military, issued to all combat soldiers not in the powered armor units. Additionally, at least one Canadian partisan was caught on camera wearing a suit of combat armor.
The armor is given to the player at the Silver Rush during the quest Birds of a Feather. Once the first part of the quest is finished, the armor is returned. However, you can still acquire the armor with the methods below and it will not be marked as a quest item.
You can get it at anytime in the trunk on the entrance of the Silver Rush (The trunk might be empty with patch 220.127.116.11x).
At the end of the Birds of a Feather quest.
If you let the Silver Rush explode in the quest Birds of a Feather, the armor you received during this part of the quest will be yours.
This armor is also obtainable by killing the Van Graffs during the Birds of a Feather quest.
While the Birds of a Feather quest is active, the armor is marked as a quest item and cannot be dropped if stolen from the crate outside of the Silver Rush. Upon completion or failure of the quest (by killing the Van Graffs during Heartache by the Number, for example) the armor will be available to drop or sell.
The armor is weightless while it is a quest item (despite being marked as weighing 25 in your Pip-Boy), and is therefore a useful item for any character, as it offers good protection and leaves ample space for carrying loot.
This armor has a script attached to it in the GECK; however, the script is blank aside from the name.
Before Dead Money is installed, the crate containing the armor is locked under a Very Easy lock, but when Dead Money is installed, a patch is uploaded that raises the difficulty of the lock from Very Easy to Hard.
If you have not completed Birds of a Feather, you can take this armor with you into Dead Money.
Should Simon be hostile to you while guarding the door, if you loot him after his death, his Van Graff combat armor will be labeled as regular combat armor, but will be painted black.