By Debbie Gregory.
On July 1st, the Army will begin to transition to new Army Combat Uniforms. Soldiers can expect a lot of mix and matching of camo items over the next several years.
The Army’s new Operational Camouflage Pattern, and eight design changes, will become the new normal after a four-year transitional phase designed to save the Army and soldiers money.
Col. Robert Mortlock, Army Program Manager of Soldier Protection and Individual Equipment, stressed the Army’s “fiscally responsible” integration of the new ACUs.
Sgt. Maj. of the Army Daniel A. Dailey encouraged enlisted Soldiers to purchase new uniforms with their annual clothing allowance. “All enlisted Soldiers receive an annual stipend for the purchase of uniforms and accessories. I myself will wait until I am issued my clothing allowance before purchasing a uniform with the Operational Camouflage Pattern. I encourage all Soldiers and leaders to do the same by budgeting for a new uniform, belt, boots, and T-shirts as you receive your clothing allowance over the next 2-3 years.”
With the roll-out and through 2019, there will be three different uniforms authorized for wear for soldiers in garrison: ACUs with the gray-green Universal Camouflage Pattern, Flame-resistant ACUs using MultiCam (issued to deploying soldiers since 2010), and ACUs with the new OCP pattern.
As a result of feedback the Army has received, they made the following changes:
- Mandarin Collar: A new fold-down design eliminates the hook-and-loop closure and the flap extension.
- Upper Sleeve Pocket: A zipper replaces the hook-and-loop closure. The Infrared Identification Friend or Foe Tab will be covered with a nylon tap on both sleeves. The pocket will be longer by one inch.
- Elbow and Knee Patches: Internal pads removed along with the hook-and-loop; double fabric reinforcement retained.
- Sleeve Pen Pocket: Two pen pocket channels instead of three.
- Trouser Waistband: No longer includes drawstring.
- Cargo Pocket: No longer includes cord-and-barrel lock.
- Lower Leg Pocket Flap: Button Closure added as another hook-and-loop closure disappears.
Also available soon are the new coyote brown boots, and a darker shade of belt and T-shirt for use with OCP and MultiCam. During the transition, soldiers can mix the old sand-colored boots, belts and shirts with their new camo pattern, adding in the new darker elements, such as wearing sand-colored boots with the new darker-tan T-shirt, or vice versa. However, the reverse doesn’t work. Soldiers can’t wear new boots, belts or T-shirts with the old gray-green ACUs — UCP unis have to be worn with the sand-colored accessories.
The rollout will happen in three phases between July and November.
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Army Rolling Out New Combat Uniforms: Military Connection: by Debbie Gregory