This time, it’s the Army getting a new combat uniform.
The Army will be fielding a new combat uniform designed by NCOs and tested by Stryker Brigade Soldiers in Iraq since October.
Uniform changes include:
1. Mandarin collar that can be worn up or down
2. Rank insignia centered on the front of the blouse
3. Velcro for wearing unit patch, skill tabs and recognition devices
4. Zippered front closure
5. Elbow pouch for internal elbow pad inserts
6. Knee pouch for internal knee pad inserts
7. Draw string leg cuff
8. Tilted chest pockets with Velcro closure
9. Three-slot pen pocket on bottom of sleeve
10. Velcro sleeve cuff closure
11. Shoulder pockets with Velcro
12. Forward tilted cargo pockets
13. Integrated blouse bellows for increased upper body mobility
14. Integrated Friend or Foe Identification Square on both left and right shoulder pocket flap.
15. Bellowed calf storage pocket on left and right leg
16. Moisture-wicking desert tan t-shirt
17. Patrol Cap with double thick bill and internal pocket
18. Improved hot-weather desert boot or temperate-weather desert boot
19. Two-inch, black nylon web belt
20. Moisture-wicking socks
It looks like this one was created the right way, by listening to the guys at the tip of the spear, although that mandarin collar looks mighty uncomfortable to me. I have yet to hear anything positive about the Air Force’s frankly silly-looking creation. The Coast Guard has updated its utility uniform, if not its camouflage, and of course we can’t forget my second-favorite service, the Marines, who started the whole thing.
At this point, only the Navy is still wearing a circa 1980s combat uniform (well, my USCG still does too, but only Port Security Units and MSSTs wear them regularly), but since the SEALs are basically the only Navy personnel likely to be found crawling in the dirt, and since their uniform regulations and procurement methods are vastly more flexible than the rest of the Navy’s, I don’t foresee any significant pressure from the rest of their fleet to update their combat duds.
UPDATE: It turns out that the mandarin collar is designed to shield the neck from the Interceptor body armor vest collar. Nice idea, come to think of it.