Why Do We Even Bother With Camouflage?

So, Soldier Systems Daily had an April Fool’s post about the Army ditching camouflage and going back to the simple, green uniform of yesteryear.

Apparently, so industry insiders didn’t notice the date of the post (or even the over the top post itself) and whined a little bit.

But Breach Bang Clear asks the obvious question, why bother with camo?

And really, I have had it in the back of my head that for the most part, it really is stupid to have camo uniforms.

The woodland pattern Battle Dress Uniform was a good, fairly cheap, serviceable uniform. It was based on the OG107 olive drab Vietnam Era jungle fatigues (which was based on the khaki WWII airborne jumpsuit).

But the Army, Marines, heck, even the Air Force and Navy have spent untold millions of dollars crafting camouflage uniforms for their members. And damn near every penny of that is a waste.

I’ll grant, for the sake of argument, that a handful of service members in the infantry and special operations forces, need a camouflage uniform.

But the vast, vast majority of people in the Army (or the Marines for that matter) could be performing their duties, in garrison, or in combat, in a plain, non-camouflage uniform. Obviously, Fobbits don’t really need camouflage.  Nor, really, do tankers, artillerymen, and most other combat support jobs.

The old “pickle suit” would do just fine for most jobs, and cost less to boot.


Heck, it would be nice to be able to see someone’s rank from more than 3” away.

I’ve kind of had a suspicion that with the great increase in the cost of combat uniforms (which will only go up as new technologies are added, such as embedded blood clotting agents), eventually the Army will adopt a field/combat uniform for Infantry, and a garrison/field uniform for all other uses.

Time will tell. But I can say this, camouflage patterns on uniforms are an extremely marginal issue when it comes to the concealment of troops.

About damn time.

Look, I’m not exactly the biggest proponent of women in the Army. I’ve worked with quite a few. Some were terrific Soldiers whom I was proud to serve with. Others were an embarrassment that I hated to be seen with.

But if women ARE going to serve, the least the Army can do is give them a decent uniform. For over 30 years, women have worn the same combat uniform as men. By that I mean that BDUs, and the newer Army Combat Uniform (ACU) have been cut for men, and women, whom you might have noticed are built a little different, have had the options of Small, Medium, and Large. While the vast majority of male Soldiers could make a work uniform look good, most women looked horrific in theirs. That’s finally going to change.

As the service unveils its new and improved Army Combat Uniform, there is another uniform on the way. And ladies, it’s all about you.

While women may be proud to wear the ACU, it is anything but a unisex uniform. And it is no secret that many women have complained about the fit. Many are left to buy larger sizes to accommodate their varying attributes, which leaves them looking like a walking tent.

“We need to ensure our women are wearing something they are comfortable in, and it doesn’t make them look like their uniform doesn’t fit,” said Brig. Gen. Peter Fuller, Program Executive Office Soldier.

Adding styles and sizes for women means a better-fitting uniform for about one in every six soldiers — 15 percent of the Army’s 560,000 soldiers are women.

The Army’s answer is a female-cut ACU that boasts more than a dozen changes suited to meet the size and shape of every individual, according to Sgt. 1st Class William Corp, modernization NCO for Soldier Clothing and Individual Equipment.

I’ve already got some serious issues with the ACU, especially  the cost, but it is high time the Army give the women in its ranks a uniform that they can be proud of.

Uniformly Stupid Pt. 4

It seems my admiration for the switch from the Army Green Uniform to the Army Blue Uniform is somewhat outside the mainstream of thought.

The Instapundit points us to an article that says it is envy of the Marines. Not in my case. I just hated the Army Green Uniform.

There’s a pretty good discussion going on over at the Castle. I’m on the losing side so far.

Uniformly Stupid? Part 3

Just a quick tale…

When I was a recruiter, on of the reasons youngsters told me they didn’t want to  join the Army was that they didn’t want to wear a uniform. Every recruiter of every branch has heard this. And every recruiter has enjoyed the sweet, sweet irony of hearing it from the kid behind the counter of McDonald’s… where said kid is wearing a uniform.