New ACU tough on enemy forces, dry cleaners

New uniforms easy for troops, hard for cleaners

The “wash and wear” Advanced Combat Uniform has ushered in an unexpected military transformation: dry cleaners are losing their shirts. (You know what I mean…)

“I don’t know what I’m going to do,” said Jerry Alfano, whose worst year in four decades spent selling commercial sewing machines was last year. “I’m 58 years old … I was sailing along and then, bam, this happened.”


  1. This isn’t hard to believe. Every Army town I’ve encountered has more dry cleaners than you can shake a lumberyard at. If the ACU remains wash-and-wear (can you imagine the United Dry Cleaning & Alterations Lobby, Ltd firm spinning up a PR campaign as we speak?) we’ll no doubt see a 50-70% reduction in the incidence of mom-and-pop DC&A shops in Armyvilles. Everyone expects the new Air Force uniform to be wash-and-wear until the brass mandate creases anyway.

  2. Every military town also has many message parlors and strip clubs. I wonder if they have been hurt by all the deployments? Let’s hope not.

  3. I’ve been out for a long time, and have only seen the new ACU once or twice in person. From what I’ve seen, the ACU makes the soldiers wearing it look like ragbags. The unit patches don’t always cover the velcro area they stick to, the name tapes were shrivelled and weird looking, and it just looks stupid with tan desert boots. If it’s all that and more in the field, then that’s a good thing. But for the balance of the force doing their thing in garrison, training, recruiting, what-have-you, it looks like ass.

  4. We were standing in the Chow line last year when an Airman walked by wearing those new Air Force blue utilities. We all burst out laughing. The new Marine Corps cammies kick-ass. I put the ACU’s somewhere in between.

  5. The new boots are also eventually going to put the squeeze on the shoeshine guys, since they don’t need to be polished. I think the ACU looked better when the ‘sage green’ color was a bit more green. Other than that, (and the $$$-I’m looking at about $600 for 4 sets, 2 pairs of boots, and 2 sets of name tapes, patches, etc) I think they’re fine. Only thing that really bugs me is having to wear pin-on qualification badges (CIB/EIB, Airborne, Air Assault, etc). Most guys I know just don’t put those on, unless there’s an inspection of the chain of command orders them to wear them.

  6. No way am I paying for ACU’s. I’ll wait for the Supply Sgt. to issue them – if that happens before I retire.