Army to field new camo uniform pattern

| June 5, 2015 | 0 Comments

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Bob Reinert
Army News Service

NATICK, Massachusetts — If you can’t see it, you can’t attack it.

Since the conflicts of the 18th century, that’s been the thinking behind military camouflage. Today, when it’s applied to their uniforms, it can save Soldiers lives. That fact has driven the Army’s decades-long efforts to improve its camouflage patterns.

The next step toward greater Soldier protection comes July 1, when the Army begins to make the Operational Camouflage Pattern available for the Army Combat Uniform in select Military Clothing Sales Stores. The new pattern will replace the current Universal Camouflage Pattern. The UCP has been used for the past decade.

The transition period for the new pattern will extend from July 1 to Sept. 30, 2019. The entire Army will be in the OCP by Oct. 1, 2019. New Soldiers will receive ACUs with the new pattern beginning in January 2016.

The OCP will be available to the National Guard, Army Reserve and senior ROTC in summer 2016.

Using Soldier feedback about improving the UCP, the Army in 2010 began providing the Operation Enduring Freedom Camouflage Pattern, or OEFCP, to Soldiers deploying to Afghanistan. The Natick Soldier Research, Development and Engineering Center also began developing the new OCP.

The OCP testing and evaluation effort has been described as the most comprehensive done across operating environments. Various terrains, vegetation, seasons and times of day were studied.

Though not considered a new uniform, the OCP ACU will incorporate other design changes to the collar, pockets, knee and elbow patches, and trouser waistband. Instead of the current sand color, the OCP will be worn with a tan 499 T-shirt and belt and coyote brown boots.

Because the new pattern will replace the current UCPs and OEFCPs only as they wear out, the change is viewed as fiscally responsible. The OCP ACUs are expected to cost Soldiers about the same as the UCP ACUs.

“All enlisted Soldiers receive an annual stipend for the purchase of uniforms and accessories,” said Sgt. Maj. of the Army Daniel Dailey. “I myself will wait until I am issued my clothing allowance before purchasing a uniform with the OCP. 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 two to three years.”

During the transition period, Soldiers may mix and match items with either the OEFCP or the OCP. They can also wear OEFCP flame resistant ACUs during that time.

“Presenting a professional appearance is very important to Soldiers, but we will not inconvenience or burden our troops,” Dailey said. “We will still be the most lethal fighting force the world has ever known, even if our belts don’t match for the next few years.”

(Note: Reinert works at U.S. Army Garrison-Natick Public Affairs.)

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Category: Army News Service, News

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