Friday, February 19, 2010

Army announces switch to MultiCam for troops in Afghanistan

Our long national nightmare is over: the Army has decided on a new camouflage uniform for Afghanistan. Starting with troops deploying this summer, the Army will issue MultiCam, a commercially-available pattern that a lot of people who know about this crap seem to think is pretty good. I've written about this debate here and here.

Here's the DoD press release:

The secretary of the Army announced today that the Army will provide combat uniforms in the MultiCam pattern to all soldiers deploying to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom, starting this summer.

This decision follows a rigorous four-month evaluation and reflects the Army's commitment to giving soldiers in Afghanistan the most effective concealment possible.

Soldiers deploying to Afghanistan this summer will receive fire resistant Army combat uniforms in MultiCam, along with associated equipment including body armor, rucksacks, and helmet covers.

The Army's selection of MultiCam for soldiers in Afghanistan culminates phase III of a four-phase plan to thoroughly and deliberately evaluate camouflage alternatives.

The Army took action in fall 2009 to provide two battalion-size elements in Afghanistan with uniforms and associated gear in patterns other than the standard-issue universal camouflage pattern (UCP).

One unit received uniforms and gear in MultiCam, and the other in a variant of UCP known as UCP - Delta.

In addition, the Army deployed a team of experts to Afghanistan in October to gather extensive data and photos on the diverse environments of Afghanistan, where soldiers often travel through multiple environments in a single mission, from snow to woodland to desert.

The Army incorporated the information gathered into a photo simulation study it then administered to nearly 750 soldiers who had deployed to Afghanistan. The study asked them to compare six patterns against eight different environments. The results, along with surveys of soldiers in the two battalions who received alternate camouflage, formed the basis for the Army’s decision on MultiCam.

The Army will now implement phase IV of its plan for camouflage, which is to evaluate long-term Army combat uniform camouflage options for all soldiers.

Camouflage alternatives represent one facet of the Army’s ongoing efforts to improve the Army combat uniform. The Army has made more than 26 improvements to the ACU since it was first fielded in June 2004.

And finally, here's a link to some photos of dudes wearing MultiCam uniforms alongside other camo patterns (from Strike - Hold!, which is really where you should be going for Camo Talk).

8 comments:

  1. About two and a half years ago, I heard a sergeant major talk, with giddy anticipation, of the day when he'd have "one pattern" in his ranks. At the time, the Army was issuing a mix of woodland, desert, and UCP-pattern stuff. For aviators, you could also add in the fact that many of them still had their old green or tan flight suits as well. Backpacks, ammunition pouches, etc. were a hodge-podge of different patterns.

    Now that the Army seems to have finally issued out enough UCP stuff, they change the patterns. Sergeants major are collectively crying today :)

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  2. I'm curious (and maybe you can answer this, or at least do some informed speculating) about whether these MultiCam uniforms will then be authorized as ACUs alongside everyone else wearing UCP ACUs. So when you come back from Afghanistan and work in the Pentagon, are you gonna be able to wear your MultiCam ACUs or will you have to switch back to UCP?

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  3. I redeployed from OIF when they were phasing in the ACU's. That made for a cornucopia of drab, flat multicolored attire. We were wearing DCUs because the ACUs had not been issued to us. As soon as we got home, we had priority on ACUs. We were authorized to wear DCUs until the block leave period ended (staggered leave for each BN, so some guys wore DCUs after returning) and the guys on rear-D were still pimping in their BDUs until that time.

    As each unit drew their ACU's, they began wearing them and the DCUs were to be turned in to CIF and BDUs to be no longer worn (read: sold to pawn shop). The rear-D guys apparently had last priority for ACUs (not sure why they didn't draw with their units) and did not have DCUs, so they were wearing BDUs while all the redeploying folk were wearing a mix of ACU and DCU. This apparently upset some SGM/CSM types, so (I am not making this up), an order went out for guys in BDUs to start wearing DCUs. Then someone point outed that BDUs were more proper than DCUs, so the order was flip-flopped and guys who were wearing DCUs starting complaining that they had already disposed of their BDUs. So (again, I am not making this up) another order went out that people without BDUs would draw them at CIF.

    Now, at this point in the insanity, I don't know if the CIF civilians lied and said they didn't have BDU's, or if some staff weiner or E-9 stopped taking his stupid pills, but the nonsense suddenly came to an end and two weeks later everyone had obtained their ACUs. That was around the time that I put in my separation paperwork.

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  4. So wait, the Americans will be wearing Multicam and the Brits will be wearing a Multicam-derivation? Blimey, that won't half get confusing...

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  5. Common sense has finally won the battle. The ACU is not a good cammo pattern. End of story.

    -Deus Ex

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  6. Common sense has finally won the battle.
    And we won most of the battles in Vietnam.

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