During the invasion of Iraq the army had soldiers running around with a big green bulls eye because the body armor was all in the woodland pattern in preparation for war against the Soviet Union that collapsed over 10 years before in 1992, while the army spent money on unneeded programs and a new black beret for everyone.
The saying “issued not earned” came around the time the black beret was mandated for all soldiers to wear after basic training was completed
The woodland “green” body armor issued to troops prior to the invasion of Iraq
From a distance the green made an excellent target for our enemies to aim at
Woodland body armor in Iraq
The DCU without woodland “green” body armor pictured below.
DCU stands for Desert Camoflage Uniform.
1st Cav in Iraq
The DCU was good enough, considering the lack of widespread use of NVGs by our enemies from 2001-2011 and the money that went to all the uniform changes in the last 15 years could have been spent on more training or better equipment or body armor in the DCU pattern to match our uniforms.
BDUs vs ACU
Then there was the ACU, that was supposed to prove the Army was past the cold war era and in the cutting edge of 21st century technology which included communications equipment that didn’t work and helicopters and artillery that was too expensive to field.
Back during Desert Storm, at the end of the cold war, we had the “chocolate chip uniforms” for wear in the desert and it didn’t take fancy computer generated uniforms or changes in headgear to win decisively.
Chocolate Chip uniforms in Saudia Arabia 1990
Then there was the flag added to the uniform, first below the “patch” officially known as the shoulder sleeve insignia for former wartime service then above it.
US flag below 101st Abn Div “patch”
US flag above 101st Abn Division patch on ACU
All the crap I got from fellow soldiers, members on paratrooper.net and my commanders in 2004 for pointing out that the ACU was inappropriate for use in Iraq and Afghanistan and now the army is replacing the uniform the brass claimed worked well in all environments all over the world and negated the need for different types of uniforms for artic, desert terrain or jungles.
The ACU color and pattern was originally invented for urban environments under the presumption that all 21st century wars would take place in cities and it was quickly picked after the Marine Corps embarrassed the army by picking a digital pattern before the Army had finished it’s testing and trials for the new camouflage uniform of the hi-tech 21st century army. We have yet to fight in a modern city like New York, London or Tokyo. May’be when the zombies come, the ACU will return.
ACU in Iraq
The funniest part was how the Army altered the ACU with “improvements” like changing the pants pockets from Velcro to buttons (like the old BDUs) and now even the sleeves are buttoned, not Velcro, like the old BDUs – lessons learned in Vietnam about quiet, simple methods to get maps, MREs and anything you might need out of uniforms in the dark while the enemy was near.
The OG107 coat from the Vietnam era
The ACU was worn from 2004 – 2009 in Afghanistan
Acu worn in Khost, Afghanistan
The ACU was worn from 2004 – 2011 in Iraq
ACU worn in Iraq
The Army considered Iraq an urban environment because of the built up spaces but it was hardly a modern city that would feature grey buildings the ACU could blend in with.
ACU worn by members of the 101st Airborne Division
The ACU became an issue after several soldiers in Afghanistan complained to the Army times and their senators in 2009 and years after Special Forces personnel had been wearing multicam.
ACU in Afghanistan
This news article below explains the latest changes from the ACU to a new pattern.
The ACU worn on patrol in Iraq
The Army has decided on a new camo to replace the unpopular Universal Camouflage Pattern on your ACUs— and the selection is very similar to MultiCam.
Its color palette of muted greens, light beige and dark brown resembles MultiCam, the pattern used by soldiers deploying to Afghanistan. However, Scorpion W2 uses fewer beige and brown patches and none of the vertical twig and branch elements later added for MultiCam.
The new pattern will serve as the service’s primary camo pattern, but Army uniform leaders have said they envision a “family” of patterns with a dark jungle-woodland variant and a lighter pattern for desert environs. The main camouflage pattern would be worn in garrison, and the others would go to deploying troops.
Cramer said while MultiCam and Scorpion may look similar, he believes MultiCam is better-performing.
The Scorpion W2, according to a source, was among the 22 patterns considered in 2010 when the Army began shopping for new combat uniforms. The Army narrowed that down to four finalists (Scorpion was not among them) and late last year it looked like leaders were nearing a deal with Crye to adopt MultiCam.
But then talks broke down over cost, according to Crye.
The Army’s options are somewhat limited. Congress, in the 2014 Defense Authorization Act, directed the Defense Department to rein in uniform spending and adopt a camouflage utility uniform or family of uniforms across all services. It has forced the Army to take a closer look at existing camouflage patterns — particularly those of its sister services, mainly the woodland and desert versions of the Navy and Marine Corps combat uniforms.
Col. Robert Mortlock, the program manager for Soldier Protection and Individual Equipment, told Army Times at the time that the service examined camo beyond 50 meters and found that, while colors are important, the actual pattern is “not that relevant.”
Army Taps Scorpion to Replace UCP
by Matthew Cox on May 23, 2014
The U.S. Army is going to dust off its old Scorpion pattern as a replacement for its much criticized Universal Camouflage Pattern.
I ran a story about the selection this morning on Military.com. I have been told that Sgt. Major of the Army Raymond Chandler III is quietly telling all of the senior sergeant majors around the Army that the service’s new camouflage will be Scorpion — a pattern similar to MuliCam that was developed for the Objective Force Warrior program in 2002.
The Army has been considering replacing UCP with Crye Precision’s MultiCam — a pattern that has demonstrated consistent performance in multiple tests and was selected in 2010 for soldiers to wear in Afghanistan.
But Army officials balked at MultiCam’s price tag. They didn’t want to pay for “printing fees” the company receives on MultiCam — a small figure that amounts to about one percent of the 20-percent price hike uniform companies want to charge the Army for MultiCam, according to Caleb Crye, the owner of CP.
Army officials even tried to buy the rights to MultiCam. Crye told the Army it would cost $25 million if the service wanted to buy the rights to the pattern, which would essentially put Crye Precision out of business, he said.
So with that option off the table, the Army is now going to use Scorpion since the service has owned it for the past 12 years. The pattern is very similar to MultiCam because Crye developed it for the OFW program.
MuliCam’s appearance is slightly different for trademark purposes.
Multicam pattern on left and ACU pattern on the right