25th ID’s Lightning Academy tests new uniforms

| May 13, 2016 | 0 Comments
Cpl. John Verdusco, 2nd Battalion 3rd Marines, participates in the “Green Mile” at the 25th ID’s Jungle Operations Training Center. Verdusco was part of a group testing prototype jungle uniforms that are composed of different fabrics to improve movement and cooling factors of the combat uniform.

Cpl. John Verdusco, 2nd Battalion 3rd Marines, participates in the “Green Mile” at the 25th ID’s Jungle Operations Training Center. Verdusco was part of a group testing prototype jungle uniforms that are composed of different fabrics to improve movement and cooling factors of the combat uniform.

Sgt. Ian Morales
25th Infantry Division Public Affairs

SCHOFIELD BARRACKS — Over the last few months, Tropic Lightning Soldiers have had the opportunity to test new uniforms designed specifically for jungle operations at the 25th Infantry Division’s Jungle Operations Center.

Representatives of the U.S. Army Natick Soldier Research, Development and Engineering Center visited to gain insight and log data on how Soldiers conduct operations in a jungle environment for their Jungle Fabric and Architecture Development Effort, or JFADE.

“We’re looking at various commercial materials, basically what the industry tells us is going to work in this environment,” said Melynda Perry, project lead for JFADE. “We have a variety of materials, fiber blends, weave types and finishes that we’re looking at, and the entire point is to get feedback from the Soldiers.”

Left – This prototype camouflage pattern for a new uniform jacket uses new fabrics, as well as climates chest pockets in favor of a tent-like mesh to allow for faster cooling.

This prototype camouflage pattern for a new uniform jacket uses new fabrics, as well as climates chest pockets in favor of a tent-like mesh to allow for faster cooling.

The feedback is critical to JFADE’s research into what could become the new standard for jungle uniforms across the entire military. Since the Soldiers were engaged in exercises in the jungles of Hawaii, the data collected on the test uniforms gave JFADE’s developers an environment for instant feedback.

“The idea is that if we can correlate the user feedback with the laboratory testing, it will help us better inform requirements for a jungle material as well as a jungle uniform,” Perry said. “We’ve already done three tests based on fabrics and are now testing architecture.”

25th ID’s Lightning Academy has become the epicenter of testing for JFADE, as its used courses such as the Pre-Ranger Course and Jungle Warfare School. During Natick’s visit, they met with students of a recently completed Jungle Warfare School that had been issued a number of test uniforms with different types of fabric.

“I like the M4 uniform a lot compared to what I normally wear for the Marine Corps. The uniforms we wear for the jungle are usually pretty thick, and they rip pretty easily,” said Marine Cpl. John Verdusco of 2nd Battalion, 3rd Marine Division. “This one dries very quick, they don’t tend to rip, especially in the groin area, and they’re very lightweight.”

Some of the differences in the prototype uniforms include new moisture wicking, yet breathable materials; added ventilation ports to the jackets on the chest and back, to allow for faster cooling; and removal of pockets that interfere with the wear of body armor.

Mark Sharp, equipment specialist for JFADE, says with the latest group, the project focused on where pockets and vents are placed on the different styles of uniforms.

JFADE Uniform Testing-46

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“We’re getting Soldiers’ input on if they dry quick enough, do they wick quick enough, are they cool enough for the environment they’re in,” said Sharp. “Our 50-meter target is figuring out what we call a down-select. Take the best two to three uniforms out of what we have here, and go ahead and build them the way the Soldiers want, then test them again.”

According to Perry, the goal is to continue testing on the down-selected uniforms during the fall of 2017.

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