ACUs not good enough for the Army

Discussion in 'U.S. Military Services & Veterans' started by ArmyGuy45, Aug 17, 2009.

  1. ArmyGuy45

    ArmyGuy45 XDTalk 10K Member Founding Member

    Joined:
    Mar 24, 2007
    Messages:
    13,883
    Likes Received:
    22
    Trophy Points:
    38
    Location:
    Mesa, AZ
    Ratings:
    +43 / 0
    Switching over to a "Multicam"
    Personally, I think it blends better than the ACU Pattern....

    I was in Korea for 2 years and I didnt want to wear the ACU at all due lack of blending. I wore BDUs till the last day when I was there cause ACU is to light for a country like Korea.

    [​IMG]

    MultiCam - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Army may replace pixilated camo with MultiCam



    By Matthew Cox - Staff writer
    Posted : Monday Aug 17, 2009 5:22:22 EDT
    The Army is eyeing MultiCam, a camouflage pattern preferred by special operations forces, to replace the pixilated pattern on the combat uniforms soldiers wear in Afghanistan.
    The hunt for a new camo design follows a growing groundswell of rank-and-file criticism that the current pattern on the Army Combat Uniform is ineffective in the rugged Afghan terrain — and elsewhere.
    “The general consensus on the ACU pattern among many, many soldiers is that it is ineffective in breaking up a soldier’s outline in just about every environment except in urban areas and the local gravel pit,” Army Chief Warrant Officer 2 mark Ulsh wrote to Army Times. “As an aviator, I can tell you that from the air most other nations’ camouflage masks a soldier better than the ACU does.”
    Similar complaints made their way to an influential member of Congress, who gave senior Army leaders a Sept. 30 deadline to present a plan that includes the budgetary and logistical details for outfitting roughly 40,000 soldiers serving in Afghanistan with a new camouflage pattern.
    The directive to find an alternative to the Universal Camouflage Pattern comes just five years after it was introduced as the one-and-only camo design. It replaced both the Desert Camouflage Uniform and the woodland-patterned Battle Dress Uniform. Though the move to streamline soldiers’ clothing bags was generally applauded, many complained the result was a pattern that was not particularly effective in either desert or woodland surroundings.
    Complaints about its ineffectiveness have grown as the Army has increased the number of soldiers deployed to Afghanistan.
    Program Executive Office Soldier, the command responsible for developing uniforms and equipment, declined to be interviewed for this story.
    “PEO Soldier and the Army continually strive to provide the best to our soldiers,” Army spokesman Maj. Jimmie Cummings said in an Aug. 6 written statement. “As such, a team led by Training and Doctrine Command is working an effort to determine if a change is required to our Universal Camouflage Pattern in support of soldiers operating in many different environments. It is premature to go into any detail on this effort at this time.”
    Army officials, however, held a July 23 meeting with Crye Precision LLC, the company that developed MultiCam, to ask detailed questions about the availability of different MultiCam fabrics for making uniforms and soldier equipment, according to a source familiar with the issue who commented on the condition that he not be identified.
    This meeting, however, was not the first time Army uniform officials saw the pattern that features seven shades of brown, tan and green. MultiCam, formerly known as “Scorpion,” was a top contender among a dozen experimental patterns when the Army began looking for a new camouflage design in early 2002 to replace the DCU and BDU.
    But the Army passed on MultiCam in favor of a new pattern that PEO Soldier created with a digitized version of another contender, the “urban track” pattern. The Army modified that pattern by stripping out the highly visible black shade. The ACU’s mix of green, tan and gray would later become known as the Universal Camouflage Pattern.
    In going with a digitized UCP, the Army followed the lead of the Marine Corps, which began fielding its new digitized pattern in 2002. The Army also considered the woodland and desert versions of the popular Marine digital uniform, but rejected the design in favor of a single, multiuse pattern.
    Investigating complaints

    Rep. John Murtha, D-Pa., launched the congressional camouflage mandate in mid-June, saying that he had heard complaints from “a dozen” Army noncommissioned officers that that ACU’s pattern is ineffective in Afghanistan.
    Since then, dozens of soldiers have responded to an Army Times query seeking opinions of the Army’s current camouflage.
    “The Army needs a new uniform, period. Not just for Afghanistan,” wrote 2nd Lt. Chris Cahak, who is serving in Iraq at Forward Operating Base Future. “The ACU uses ‘universal camouflage,’ meaning it doesn’t blend into anything. The article [‘Get new camo, Congress says,’ June 29] says the ACU works fine in Iraq, but that is a myth. There is no natural setting that I have seen anywhere that blends in with the ACU.”
    Sgt. Ricky Hill of Fort Carson, Colo., agreed with Cahak that soldiers in Afghanistan aren’t the only ones who need a new camouflage pattern.
    “The ACU pattern is horrible,” Hill wrote. “Whatever happened to the MultiCam pattern that was tested a few years ago? I don’t know who came up with this current ACU pattern, but it has failed miserably.”
    A few soldiers who have written to Army Times defended the ACU pattern’s performance.
    Sgt. 1st Class Ryan Hendricks wrote that the ACU’s performance was “spot on” when he was a platoon sergeant serving in Khost, Afghanistan.
    “The ACUs we wore were perfect for the job of mountain warfare and in the towns and roads that we patrolled,” he wrote. “A lot of the time, I would have to use optics to find my squads patrolling in the distance.”
    Capt. Joe Corsentino offered a different view.
    “Being an aviator, I get a top-down view of the battlefield, and I can tell you 100 percent that the ACU stands out like a sore thumb in the Afghan environment,” he wrote.
    many Army special operations units such as Delta Force, the 75th Ranger Regiment and some Special Forces teams apparently feel the UCP is not the best pattern in either war zone as they are wearing the MultiCam pattern in both Iraq and Afghanistan.
    Army Special Operations Command has tested MultiCam in different environments worldwide, including Iraq and Afghanistan, and found that it outperformed the ACU’s pattern, a senior Army officer with Special Forces told Army Times. The officer added that MultiCam is being considered as the future pattern of Army SOF.
    Corsentino said in his letter that he also prefers MultiCam.
    “I have worked with units who wore the MultiCam uniforms, and they were camouflaged much more effectively than soldiers wearing the ACU,” he wrote.
    Soldiers participating in a Future Force Warrior Assessment in 2006 had the same opinion of MultiCam.
    The nine-man squad that participated in the Air Assault Expeditionary Force experiment in fall 2006 at Fort Benning, Ga., wore MultiCam-patterned, Future Force Warrior uniforms in addition to a number of high-tech gadgets and gear. The force-on-force exercise was designed to assess how the experimental soldier kit would affect the performance of soldiers going against soldiers with the current-issue kit.
    One of the questions in the post-exercise survey read, “Was the camouflage pattern of the FFW uniform not as good, about the same or better than the camo pattern on the ACU?”
    All nine soldiers indicated that the MultiCam pattern was better than the ACU’s pattern, according to the July 2007 report from the Army Research Laboratory’s “Future Force Warrior: Insights from Air Assault Expeditionary Force Assessment.”
    Here are the soldiers’ comments as they appeared in the report:
    • “It blends better in the woods than the ACU.”
    • “Got 5 feet from the OpFor and they didn’t see us until after we fired. With the ACUs, you’ll be seen a mile away.”
    • “Numerous amount of times, we snuck within 10 feet of the enemies.”
    • “I even lost my own guys a couple of times it worked so well.”
    • “I’m telling you this uniform is way better in the field than ACUs. In fact, ACUs are nothing but a garrison uniform.”
    • “It’s obvious; just look at it.”
    • “The camouflage pattern is 50x better than the ACU uniform. When stationary or on the move it is hard to pick out in the tree line. The squads behind ours had trouble following us because they would lose sight of us so easily. We always knew where they were.”
    • “We were having trouble seeing our guys when we would stop in the wood line, whereas anyone wearing ACUs was easy to spot. It is a far superior camouflage pattern than the ACU.”
    Crye Precision began working on camouflage in 2002, two years after Caleb Crye formed the company. The company had already been working with the Army to develop new soldier equipment. Then Crye became interested in designing a camouflage pattern that would allow soldiers to operate in multiple environments.
    “We saw guys being deployed to a war in Afghanistan with a combination of camouflage patterns that just wasn’t effective,” Crye said, describing how soldiers at the time wore DCUs with woodland pattern body armor vests.
    No one in the small company, including Crye, had military backgrounds, said Crye, who has a fine arts degree. The Crye team traveled extensively, taking pictures of terrain features, rocks and vegetation.
    “We didn’t look at camouflage so much; we looked at a lot of environments, and we tried to find a lot of things that were common in as many environments as possible,” he told Army Times.
    “If you start looking at pictures of rocks all day, there are just these shapes that show up.”
    They also paid attention to the way animals use camouflage.
    “We knew it was going to be half science, half trial and error,” Crye said. “Before we settled on printing real fabric, we probably had about 12 patterns. The first ones were really different.”
    Still, MultiCam alone may not be the answer, some soldiers say.
    “The Army should have one desert pattern and one woodland pattern, at a minimum,” Sgt. Adam Houtkooper wrote in a letter to Army Times. “Afghanistan varies widely in the amount and type of vegetation, so no one uniform will work for the entire country. … The bottom line is that bad camouflage risks soldiers’ lives, and the decision to force every soldier to wear a pattern that is ineffective has reduced the effectiveness of our force.”


    Army may replace pixilated camo with MultiCam - Army News, news from Iraq, - Army Times
     
  2. Palmguy

    Palmguy XDTalk 3K Member

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2006
    Messages:
    3,389
    Likes Received:
    22
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Location:
    Florida
    Ratings:
    +22 / 0
    You've seen the picture of the Army soldier in ACUs on that 70s era couch from your grandma's house, right? LOL...the one thing the ACU pattern is good for...

    There has been talk of Congress legislating a common ground combat uniform across all branches...it'll be interesting to see how that turns out.
     
  3. ArmyGuy45

    ArmyGuy45 XDTalk 10K Member Founding Member

    Joined:
    Mar 24, 2007
    Messages:
    13,883
    Likes Received:
    22
    Trophy Points:
    38
    Location:
    Mesa, AZ
    Ratings:
    +43 / 0
    This one?
    [​IMG]
     
  4. Palmguy

    Palmguy XDTalk 3K Member

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2006
    Messages:
    3,389
    Likes Received:
    22
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Location:
    Florida
    Ratings:
    +22 / 0
    That's the one!
     
  5. psijac

    psijac XDTalk 1K Member

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2009
    Messages:
    1,014
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Location:
    Houston, TX
    Ratings:
    +0 / 0
    As a marine i was always impressed how quickly the army was able to field gear changes
     
  6. Likwid

    Likwid XDTalk 100 Member

    Joined:
    Aug 17, 2009
    Messages:
    274
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Ratings:
    +0 / 0
    I understand he is not, but looks funny like he's playing Xbox! :)
     
  7. matlt

    matlt XDTalk 2K Member Founding Member

    Joined:
    Oct 7, 2007
    Messages:
    2,673
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    36
    Location:
    Tucson, AZ
    Ratings:
    +0 / 0
    I couldn't care less if they give us pink and purple camo. Just give us something that doesn't fall apart like tissue paper and doesnt fade after 2 washes. Just because the bdu camo didn't work anymore doesn't mean they had to go to a uniform that doesn't last nearly as long
     
  8. chupacabrachus

    chupacabrachus XDTalk 5K Member

    Joined:
    Jul 5, 2005
    Messages:
    6,314
    Likes Received:
    6
    Trophy Points:
    38
    Ratings:
    +6 / 0
    I am surprised they are switching.
     
  9. PackerfanXD

    PackerfanXD XDTalk 5K Member Founding Member

    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2006
    Messages:
    8,237
    Likes Received:
    8
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Location:
    The Free State Of Arizona
    Ratings:
    +8 / 0
    I liked the ACU...:-(
     
  10. WitchingHour

    WitchingHour XDTalk 500 Member

    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2009
    Messages:
    649
    Likes Received:
    6
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Ratings:
    +6 / 0
    Who says the M81 pattern didn't work anymore? Like the Universal Camouflage Pattern (as seen on the ACU), it was biased towards a projected operating environment. The M81 (BDU) pattern camouflage was designed so that it would appear as a solid color from long distances, at the expense of short distance concealability, because that's what was anticipated to be needed for a European theatre of operations. The ACU was intended to be a "one size fits all" deal, but suffered from a bias towards the current theatres of operation - those being the more arid environments of Iraq and Afghanistan, naturally. Personally, I think the whole "multi layer" camouflage concept is doomed to failure, and that the only real effective form of it was the reversible smocks which featured different patterns for different environments on either side.
    As for the uniform itself - camouflage pattern notwithstanding - I thought the ACU was the better uniform, personally, even if I didn't particularly care for things like the exposed velcro and such (though that could be remedied with simple patches to cover them).
     
  11. nalioth

    nalioth XDTalk 2K Member

    Joined:
    Oct 1, 2008
    Messages:
    2,713
    Likes Received:
    15
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Location:
    Houston, Texas
    Ratings:
    +15 / 0
    I did not like the ACU camouflage pattern from the get-go.

    It was a knee-jerk reaction by the Army to the Marines MARPAT (which does come in two colors and is very effective).

    Everyone knows when you jump into stuff w/o thinking it over, it's not gonna be as good as it could, and the Army stepped right into it with their "one camo pattern for any theater" line of bull.

    The Army was too proud to ask the Marines permission to use their uniform design (the MARPAT camouflage is patented by the USMC), and so the Army has been afflicted for years with camouflage that only works under moonlight in the open desert.
     
  12. Veri†as

    Veri†as XDTalk Member

    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2009
    Messages:
    71
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Location:
    Mesa, AZ
    Ratings:
    +0 / 0
    One of the biggest problems with the ACU is that it didn't have the color black (or another subsititute darker color), as black gives depth. I said this before the ACU's were fielded...

    ...I also said that Multicam was far superior.

    I would agree, it did seem like the ACU was a knee-jerk reaction to the Marpat (which is far superior than the ACU's), but I still think that Multicam is better than both.

    If I still had my old computer I would post the field tests I did between ACU/Marpat/Multicam and so the superiority of the Multicam in desert, pine/woods, and urban environments.
     
  13. Veri†as

    Veri†as XDTalk Member

    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2009
    Messages:
    71
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Location:
    Mesa, AZ
    Ratings:
    +0 / 0
  14. psijac

    psijac XDTalk 1K Member

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2009
    Messages:
    1,014
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Location:
    Houston, TX
    Ratings:
    +0 / 0

    black is not a naturally occurring color in nature some how that makes people think its unsuitable for camouflage.
     
  15. nalioth

    nalioth XDTalk 2K Member

    Joined:
    Oct 1, 2008
    Messages:
    2,713
    Likes Received:
    15
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Location:
    Houston, Texas
    Ratings:
    +15 / 0
    Guess someone should tell the zebras and black labradors and wolves (and insert other animals with black fur) that. . .
     

Share This Page