Army Combat Uniform: Designed for the “lowest common denominator”?

First-hand experience with Army’s new threads

Airborne Combat Engineer has an in-depth comment from a 101st Airborne soldier who’s worn the new ACU in the field. In a nutshell: He’s not impressed.

The ACU is NOT a field uniform. Its advantages in maintenance are all for the garrison soldier. The fabric is thin and it tears easily, especially around the knees when you’re pulling security.

The uniform’s feature that has drawn the most criticism (at least among us armchair general types) has been the digital camo pattern, but the commenter has no problems with that. He just doesn’t think the uniform is up to the test of being used in the field.

And that’s a bad, bad thing. Go read the whole thing.


  1. Man, I always hate it when people just pussyfoot around, and don’t say what they really mean. LOL! Good for the 101st Trooper who blazed the new ACU. He thought it was crap and said so……..though I would have thought the designers & test & evaluation folks would have had most of the stuff the 101st Trooper commented on, squared away BEFORE sending it out for trials. I still think this whole ACU, MARPAT, Navy Camo, and AF Tiger Camo is BS! Seems to me, having the same camo pattern for ALL the services (hence the term……UNIFORM) would be far more cost effective than paying for all four services to do their own thing. The ACU is also ‘in the wind’ with the rationale it’s a more universal pattern than having separate patterns for woodland, desert, and urban terrains. Yea, it’s more universal….a pattern that does nothing really well. I vote all four services should use the MARPAT patterns for the environments they’ll be functioning in.

  2. Was there really anything bad about the old gear? – Apart from the lack of digital camo. While some things maybe require updates/upgrades, I really do not see how clothing could make so much impact. Maybe it will save a little time in washing the gear, who knows, but who cares! I have to wash my clothes regularly, maybe this is a ploy to try to keep people in the forces :P I think of all things, this new design of clothing is misguided funding, which I am sure could have gone for maybe one more stryker – considering the way the clothing company probably tried to charge R+D costs.

  3. Another thing about all the different camo patterns — given our growing skill at joint operations, and our enemies tendancies to not wear a ‘uniform’, shouldn’t we gravitate more towards unity? I mean, we are getting good at avoiding Blue-on-Blue situations, but I would rather give our guys every chance they can reasonably get. Turf wars by paper pushers should NOT be fought by the guys on the ground.

  4. If anyone needs to bitch about the new ACU send your comments to 1500 Army Pentagon Washington DC 20310-1500. Please do, lets get this thing changed before our soldiers end up with this CRAP!!!!!

  5. My husband has been wearing this new uniform for a year now and the cost has been rediculous. These uniforms last weeks, not months. The pockets teat, the knees teat, the zippers break. They are poorly made and thin. My husband does like the zipper on the jacket and the new pocket placement, but the rest is worthless. The pin on decorations can’t be worn with a ruck sack or any other over the shoulder pack or the IBA. As I have also heard from others, the velcro is loud, and seems to be more of a liability in a field environment. I feel very frusterated that these problems weren’t addressed in what seems like an attempt to get this uniform out early. Now I feel like the Army is benefitting from all of the soldiers having to continually purchase these uniforms that are more expensive than the BDUs and wear out MUCH faster. There MUST be a remake of the uniform AGAIN and all soldiers should be issued a couple of sets to offset the cost of the ACU.