Concerning Camouflage Patterns

As a wee lad in the late 70’s I recall asking my father why all the other services had the same kind of cammies the Marines wore. His response: “Because they all want to be like Marines, but they can’t.”

Before everyone howls in outrage at this statement, let me point a few things out:

 1. In 2002 the Marine Corps spent $319,000 developing new camouflage pattern uniforms which have not changed since.

 2. In 2005 the Army followed our example in changing its camo patterns. They spent $2.63 million (bwa-ha-ha!) developing the “universal” pattern which everyone agrees universally sucked.

 3. Not to be outdone, the Air Force aimed high, spending $3.1 million in 2007 developing the “tiger stripe” Airman Battle Uniform. It should be noted since then, no Airmen have fallen in battle against tigers.  Despite this stunning success, the Airman Battle Uniform is now prohibited for use in battle.  

 4.  Pissed the Air Force spent more money on camouflage than they did, the Army shelled out another $2.9 million on the Operation Enduring Freedom pattern in 2010. Take that Air Force!

 5. In 2011, the Navy, in an effort to close the growing “camouflage gap,” spent a mere $435,000 on no less than three different patterns. This included the infamous “aquaflauge” pattern ensuring the impossibility of spotting a Sailor who had fallen overboard.

So you see how the uniform envy thing can get out of hand. You’d think the Army would have learned something after the whole beret debacle

This year Congress voted to end service specific camouflage suggesting we spend an additional $4.2 million on developing a new pattern to be used jointly by all the services. This would effectively flush all the money spent on the current patterns right down the toilet. Leave it to Congress to prove only they can waste more tax dollars than the entire Armed Forces of the United States combined.  Here’s a crazy idea, how about we just put a moratorium on new camouflage pattern development and each service is stuck with what its got for the next ten years or so? Then the millions already spent on developing the current patterns wouldn’t be quite a waste and we could spend the $4.2 million training for the next conflict.

Personally, I wouldn’t have minded if everyone had copied our pattern from 2002. It would merely have reinforced my father’s statement above. By now one would hope the Armed Forces have figured out unit cohesion, esprit, and morale are not developed by wearing a distinct uniform. In fact, it’s the other way around. 

Semper Fidelis,
America’s SgtMaj

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  1. 1. Have no problem with a moratorium.
    2. On any half-way modern battlefield, camouflage is not that important.
    3. Cover is.
    4. Made the following comment elsewhere:
    5. Back in the seventies, attended the USMC Scout Sniper Instructor Course. Was not as big a deal as it is now, BTW.
    6. Part of the course was 8 graded stalks.
    7. Had to pass two. Under the eyes of the legendary SSGT Hamm. It was said he could see everyone coming down the powerline cut and only called a walker to bust you if you did something stupid.
    8. Anyway, went to Joanne’s Fabrics in Stafford and bought fabric paint. Would throw my gillie suit in the grass and spray paint it to match.
    9. Over time, the suit got lighter and lighter. Wound up with a khaki outfit that worked well even in dark green foliage.
    10. Liked DCU and the MarPat equivalent. ACU was much lighter than the BDU’s it replaced. Think the multicam is pretty much meh.
    11. Anyway, stand by comment #2.
    12. Two take-aways:
    Man made is always darker than nature
    Cover beats the hell out of concealment. Nothing to hide behind? Go underground. Yes, dig in. Even a few mortar rounds will make a believer out of you.
    V/R JWest

  2. I am resigned to idiotic uniform changes at this point. I only want two things.

    1. NO VELCRO

    2. I want to keep wearing the flag on my shoulder.

  3. Imo, there’s a few patterns where any and all mil pers who allowed passage into use should be reduced to priv, and grounded to their rooms with no allowance.

    The blueberry? Wtfrack was the point?
    The velcro’d non cammy cammy of US Army issue that fell apart at the crotch? How’d that pass testing?

    Whether it stems from incompetence or *malfeasance, examples should be made.

    *signing off on crap in order to secure post mil jobs, for example.

    Sometimes its hard to argue back at civilian types who claim that in the military, idiots and/or children are in charge.

    – Grimmy

  4. SGTMAJ,
    “US Army, we can waste more money before 9, than most armies waste in an entire year!”
    I’ve seen money blown faster than I know I could earn because somebody higher up said: “We have this much money to spend on that…”
    Many times as a Police Sgt, I’d tick off some slick sale person trying to sell the PD something over priced. I’d do the research and find the best price…then tell the overpriced clown.

    Too many contractors I saw while deployed and stateside who didn’t do the job they were hired for…and some Joe or Jane had to do it.

    I’d vote for the old “OD Green” fatigues. For the Marines, iron on the USMC emblem.

  5. We talked about this today at lunch. There are no Sailors who like the aquaflage, except for maybe those who indulge a bit too much at the dinner table. Also, all these uniform changes really hurt the junior Sailors, Marines, Soldiers, etc. I know they get uniform allowances, but these “blueberries” are the most expensive working uniform we have ever had in my 23 years. Two sets with a pair of boots would eat up the uniform allowance I remember getting back when I got one. Marines do have the best looking uniforms, well – except for a squared away Sailor in Dress Whites – there is something nostalgic about that!

  6. Grimmy, it would be hard to argue until their solution involves a NEW uniform change.

    CI Roller, OD green works for me too. Marines will always figure out a way to stand out no matter the uniform.

    Lil Chantilly, I recall a Senior Chief asking the CNO in Bahrain if he would please stop making uniform changes. A squared away Sailor? They make those?

  7. Jeez.

    With my interested bystander hat on, those numbers are crazy high.

    With my budget-cutting-in-local-government-lets strip-out-everything-that’s-not-life-threatening hat on, i think i need an ambulance. $4.2million overall? And the USMC managed to get it right first time and spent only 3.4% of that total?
    Somebody fetch me a work visa, i’ll over in a minute with a crack team of auditors. We take no prisoners.

    Seriously though, the disparity between the sums spent is criminal.

    Why am i so outraged when it’s not even my taxes being spent? I’m going for a lie down.

  8. CI-Roller Dude said…I’d vote for the old “OD Green” fatigues. For the Marines, iron on the USMC emblem.

    I ironed one a bunch of those. When I went in, that was the standard issue. I remember back in I believe 75 the Marines started going to the woodland cammo pattern. I do like the new pattern, I already have the trousers.

    Semper Fi.

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