Posted: 3/5/2001 7:37:06 AM EDT
Monday, March 5, 2001
Marine Corps Redesigns Its Combat 'Camies'
Military: Uniforms switch to a computer-generated camouflage pattern.
Other changes are meant to make personnel more comfortable.
By TONY PERRY, Times Staff Writer
CAMP PENDLETON--Clothes, we are told, do not make the man. But they
can certainly make the fighting man more effective.
With that in mind, the Marine Corps is doing something it does only
rarely, and then only with considerable forethought: tinkering with
For the first time since the Vietnam War, the corps is changing the
look of its camouflage uniforms, known as "utilities" or "camies," which
are worn for training and, when necessary, for combat.
The new camies are meant to make the Marines more comfortable in
training, more stealthy and lethal in battle.
"The last man to adapt on the battlefield is the first to die," said
Sgt. James Law, one of several dozen infantry Marines chosen to field-test
the new look. Other Marines are doing the same at the Marine Corps Air
Ground Combat Center in Twentynine Palms and at bases in the Far East.
For openers, the old style of alternating blotches of brown, black
and green is being replaced by a computer-generated design of black and
green pixels, those tiny dots that, seen from a distance, form an image.
There are other changes: slanted breast pockets, improved cargo
pockets, zip-off sleeves for summer wear, new hats (covers), and padding
for knees and elbows. The Marine Corps believes that battles of the future
will most likely be fought in urban locations, with plenty of concrete,
and thus the need for padding.
"Form must follow function," Sgt. Jason Booth said.
As in any large organization, there is a certain measure of
resistance to change in the Marine Corps. The current camies--starched to
a cardboard-like stiffness, with sharp creases on the legs--have been the
image of the squared-away Marine for a quarter-century.
But the uniform change is being pitched to the troops in a way
destined to make it more acceptable. For openers, the idea is being pushed
by the commandant, Gen. James Jones.
And the three reasons for the change, as outlined by Maj. Gabriel
Patricio, the officer in charge of the switch, are sure to reach
sympathetic ears: increased durability, increased combat effectiveness,
The new camies are wash-and-wear--no more ironing and starching. In
an experiment involving Marine Corps snipers, the new design was judged to
allow Marines to hide unseen in the brush more easily than the old style
"Survivability is important to Marines," Law said.
Once the new look is adopted corps-wide this spring or summer, the
Marines will also look different from their brethren in the Army, which
also uses the traditional camouflage uniform.
"I think it's outstanding that we're trying to set ourselves apart,"
said Pvt. 1st Class Chris Baumgartner.
Even as the corps comes into the age of durable, lightweight fibers
and computer designs, it is also reaching back to a fashion statement
dating back more than a century.
Among the innovations being considered is the addition of gaiters,
cloth coverings for the calf, instep and ankle--the macho cousin of spats.
Gaiters were de rigueur for Marines in both world wars but were replaced
in recent decades.
Held in place by a zipper in the back and laces on the sides, the
gaiters help tuck in the pant legs to prevent the intrusion of bugs and
other crawly things common to humid and desert climates. The bugs in
Kuwait, for example, were rated as man-eaters.
Several accessories on the new camies are still under review. There
is concern that the Velcro and buttons make too much noise. Noise can
"Unnatural noise in the field carries a long way," said Cpl. Antonio
Espera. "Velcro is an unnatural noise."
At Camp Pendleton, the new camies are being tested in an amphibious
environment, at Twentynine Palms, in the desert, and in Japan and Okinawa,
in cold weather and the jungle. For the desert, different colors are
To boost morale and protect the patent on the design, the new camies
will have tiny eagle-globe-and-anchor emblems dotted about the fabric,
visible only upon the closest of inspections.
Some things will not change. The shirts will have only the Marine's
name and the title U.S. Marine. There will be no patches for individual
divisions or brigades or other subunits.
"That's like something the Army does," said several of the Marines,
in a voice that explained why the idea is unacceptable to the Marine
Copyright 2001 Los Angeles Times
interesting, I managed to put off the name tag thing the last two months of my enlistment. That was without a doubt one of the most assenine ideas to hit the Corps in quite some time obviously some REMF smackin' for brownie points.
If you sew the name tag on upside down, you can look down and read it if you forget your name.
I think the name tapes were a response to the fact that they showed up so well on T.V. and created instant celebrity status for the Army Generals. The Marine Generals remained anonymous to the public. I remember after I had to get mine put on in Oct. '92 I was still being called Devil-Dog or Hard-Charger by superiors despite having my last name and rank displayed.
I stand corrected. I do remember one Gunny that kept reading the wrong side and calling everybody Pfc,Lcpl,Cpl,Sgt etc Marinez.
How bout them kewl jarhead suede boots that's part of that new fashion scheme.
the Cammies the guy is holding up, are the ones with the new camo patern according to the ABCnews website, they look almost australian, the other camo is the new canadian CadPat camo
I think it's great that the Corps is finally breaking away from the rest of the nasty's. I remember when there was talk of the 03 Marines switching from soft covers to berrets However, all the pogues cried about it so it never came to pass. Marines have alway's looked different (more squared away) had more pride and shared more spirit than the other services no matter if the uniform was the same or not. I've known jarheads who joined the Corps for no other reason than "the Corps has the best looking uniforms". Now that Marines are getting their own duds I think it's great although im sure the Army will follow suit (pink jumpsuits would be good..lol). Semper Fi devil dogs
former 0331 Sgt USMC [X]
One 03 Sergeant to another, I'm glad we didn't go to the berets. I kind of like the soft covers. I've been out for about 10 years and I still wear mine when I run or on any occasion where a baseball cap is called for.
I understand that now that everybody does their "Basic Warrior Training" we are a little closer to the ideal of "every Marine a Rifleman." I don't want to get like the army where they have entire MOS's that are proud of their combat non-proficiency and the real hard-chargers have to wear berets to differentiate themselves from the non-hackers.
Who were you with?
First, how many people noticed the word "patented"? What do you want to bet that the Marines will use the patent protection to prevent people from impersonating Marines by buying these new cammies? This will be said piously but a big target of the ban will be people like us.
Second, who remembers when the BDU's came out. I do. The Army was absolutely instructed NEVER to starch the BDU's. Starch ruins the IR protection. BDU's were (and still are) BATTLE dress uniforms for fighting and fatigue duty and not pretty dress uniforms. Because too many officers love to see starched uniforms, the orders were pretty blunt. Sounds like the Marines may have forgotten the reason for the BDU in their insistance that everything be squared away. How many years before we see the new cammies starched?
No offense, Frances, but if you didn't earn 'em, you shouldn't wear 'em.
As for starching BDU's: I didn't starch mine because the officers wanted them starched, I starched them because I wanted to look "squared away." (Strac?) I had razor sharp creases in my cammies at all times except out in the field. I also polished my boots every day. Not because I was forced too but because I didn't want to look like an ass-bag.
A small price to pay for some fictitious "IR protection" that was probably lost after a few launderings anyways.
Hell, I even shaved in the field, when possible, and made my Marines do likewise.
While we should avoid the "parade mentality," being in a combat unit is not an excuse for being a slob. If you look, you will see that most of the elite units look good on and off the battle field.
Like it or not, cammies are "service" uniforms now. (You incorrectly use the term "dress uniforms.") Most commands authorize them for wear at all times, even off base. This being the case, effort should be taken to look sharp.
I think the starching of cammies and the spit shinning of boots is more a SgtsMaj thing than an officer thing. They seem to be more enthralled with some of the "older" traditions than most of the officers I know.
I never understood why civilians what to wear either cammies or military uniforms. Whenever I see some guy (whether in or out of the military) with a huge beer belly running around in a set of cammies I get a chuckle. Or my all time most humorous piece of uniform the Battle Dress Maternity Uniform.
The new cammies are still in test bed units we won't know till mid to end of this summer which ones will be the official design, there are various ones designs floating around in different Bns on each coast. What most Marines I know don't like is that we will probably be required to shell out 500-600 hundred dollars for new cammies and boots, that will hard to come by on non-Marine installations.
Gus, no offence, but where do you suggest I find new ERDL jungle fatigues? Fatigues wear out and ERDL are now collectors' items.
Perhaps the Marines are thinking that each and every particle of the their outfits are the uniform or that the uniform jacket and trousers is like Airborne's berets.
In the Army the rule (way back when) was either U.S. Army tape or name and rank was OK without problems of impersonating a soldier. All three were necessary for the cloth to be a uniform.
There is a VERY long history of people in this country wearing surplus uniform parts. A lot of these people are ex-service and kept their old uniforms. A lot of them aren't. They wear the uniform parts for a lot of reasons. Cammies are good in the woods, comfortable, practical and often cheaper than civilian cammo.
Sure, some of the people in cammies are crazed pin-heads. That applies to EVERY human endeavor.
I may be taking untoward offense and maybe I'm reading something into your post that wasn't really there. However, it sounded like you're advocating that civilians shouldn't wear uniform pieces. Of course, this is also the position of people like HCI, although for different reasons, and they want to make this preference the law. The government prohits an awful lot of stuff "for my own good" or "to protect the children". Let's not have cammies be the next prohibited item.
Sorry if I've read too much into your post.
PS: Anyone else frustrated with having to start over on the post count? Showing people like STRLN with only 4 posts is absurd. I liked getting rid of the junior member title. The new system reminds me more of a fan board where kids post anything to get their numbers up.
As soon as they show up at Cash Sales on Pendelton I'll be getting some for the collection.
Originally Posted By Frances:
BDU's were (and still are) BATTLE dress uniforms for fighting and fatigue duty and not pretty dress uniforms.
Yes, but you see, that's why we marine types refer to the top as a blouse.
Well I never realized that normal people wearing camoflauge made some of the guys in the military mad. I like to wear camo pants sometimes because I find them to be very comfortable, and you can do anything in them and not worry about ruining them, and I like the way they look. Not to mention I get them at a decent price from Quantico Marine Base because my pop spent 20 years in the Navy. Now I don't wear the whole 9 yards around, if thats what some of you meant, just the pants, unless I'm going paintballing or something. As far as the new uniforms, it would make sense to make them available to the public from the company who makes them point of view. Although the little Marine emblems might become controversial. I personally never have any ensignia on my BDU's because I havn't served yet. I stress the yet.
Jake , I'm going huntin'
Do you think I look fat in these? [;D]
I used to get agitated when I would see a non-Marine wear one of our uniform items, but it doesn't bother me much anymore. It's not like they mean any offense or anything. Still, it's amusing to the military eye to see civilians wear cammies. Especially since they usually look like an ass-bag when they do. The use of an iron would work wonders.
oneshot1kill is absolutely right on the field and garrison cammies. I'm sure most Marines' and soliders' closets for working gear is segregated into field and non-field cammies. My field cammies are just laundered and hung up. Before going to the field I quickly iron them so they are somewhat neat, but never do they get starched or sized. My garrison cammies are all pressed at the cleaners and are like cardboard (not as good as the mamasan rice starch though).
It's probably having to wear them for a decade plus but I don't find cammies all that conformable. I understand people wearing them for hunting and utility work around the house, but you see way too many running around in cammies in non-hunting season.
The Marine Corps believes that battles of the future
will most likely be fought in urban locations, with plenty of concrete,
and thus the need for padding.
Did anyone else catch this?
Naval Air Rework Facility
MCAS Cherry Point, NC
That was the whole point behind the Urban Warrior experiments conducted by the AWE and SPMAGTF (X). The growth of the urban center is just a trend that started over a hundred years ago and has continued to the point that over half of the worlds population now lives in cities. Since the world has seen what American firepower can do on targets in the open, they are not dumb. They will stay in the cities and minimizes America's ability to attrite them with fire power. Forcing us to go in and fight them man to man, where the typical advantages of the US war fighting style are minimized.
What bothers me is when civilians have to put on some type of rank. A kid at work who never served one day walks around in either a blouse or field jacket wearing Capt bars. I just have to shake my head, what a looser.
1. Why do Marines roll their sleeves into a bunch while the Army folds theirs neatly? (this is not a rip but I see the Marines as a much more squared away group)
2. Why does the Marines make their soliders pay for their uniforms? The Army and Air Force don't do that. I would think the Marines would wreck their uniforms more than anyone too because of the training they go through. God knows none of our military personnel gets paid enough and there is no reason for any solider to buy their own equipment.
The pattern looks a little like Dutch Camo, if you've ever seen it. I've seen photos and it's quite effective.
Why can't they stay with what they got? This will cost us(the taxpayer)alot of uneeded expense. Knowing the military,they won't just "Phase" the old cammies out,they will all want their trrops to be uniform and buy the new cammies all at once. This will cost millions!
Cleatus- Marines aren't supposed to just roll them up in a bunch. It's supposed it be a little tight and no wrinkles. The ones you see that have then all bunched up are usually the shit-bags or Marines that have just got in or going out to the field, where they are always down anyway. If you roll the sleeves like youre supposed to, I like it looks pretty sharp.
cheeks- I was thinking the same thing, but I still think its always a good idea to continue to improve our equipment. However, another thing I was thinking - We just got new MOLLE gear. When we switch over to the new cammies, all our field gear will be miss matched (pack, LBV, flack, helmet cover, etc) and it will have to be replaced also. I think that it what will cost the most.
I used to be against getting the new utilities, but now I kind of like the idea. (as long as they dont have those stupid ass zip off sleeves) I think they should stick with the style of cammies we have now and just change the cammo pattern.
Welcome back STLRN!!!
The Dutch still use a version of the DPM, the same the British do. This uniform is based on the Canadian CADPAT. They have changed the color scheme, the desert they added dark brown and black, the woodland they added a darker brown. They have also included the Eagle Globe and Anchor into the design. The breast pockets are are slanted and they have pockets on the arms, like the Russian uniforms. As of last week they unit here in SLC have gotten word that they will be getting the new sets this summer, but they dont have plans to change the MOLLE gear into this pattern. I have some of the CADPAT gear and it looks like a digitized version of they German Flectarn pattern.
If anyone wants to see the collection of pics of these and other uniforms from around the world that I have amassed, mostly from my own collection, drop me a line.
The guy holding the uniform is the current Commandant of the Marine Corps. The uniform looks like it will be the one, it is in the final stages of testing and evaluation.