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Singing the ACU Blues

by Ward Carroll on April 9, 2007

Below is a response from PEO Soldier to Military.coms story The Army Uniform Doesnt Measure Up — which was posted April 5, 2007.

Program Executive Office (PEO) Soldier welcomes Soldier feedback on all its products, including the Army Combat Uniform (ACU). Feedback from Soldiers has already led to several improvements to the uniform, many of which have been incorporated in ACUs delivered since March 2006.

The ACU is intended to last an average of 180 days in combat. It is made of the same 50/50 nylon/cotton blend fabric as the Enhanced Hot Weather Battle Dress Uniform (EHWBDU) and Desert Camouflage Uniform (DCU) with the addition of a wrinkle-free treatment. Technical testing has shown ACU fabric exceeds all of the performance requirements, including tear strength, of the BDU and DCU fabric. Soldier feedback indicates they generally prefer the functionality of ACU over the BDU, especially while wearing Interceptor Body Armor.

Operational requirements call for the ability to quickly strip the ACU of all identifying patches. Given the state of todays technology, that means hook and loop backing for cloth patches and pins and clutches for metal badges. The ACU uses hook and loop fasteners extensively. A durability problem with some of the early production of the fasteners was identified. Incorporating an improved hook tape with stiffer backing, alternate methods of sealing the edges of the tape, and improved sewing methods significantly improved the fasteners durability.

Soldiers also identified a problem with the closure on the trouser cargo pocket. This issue was traced to the hook tape which is apparently causing the loop tape to stretch and lose holding power. PEO Soldier is working with the suppliers of hook and loop tape to resolve this. Meanwhile, the cargo pocket has an elastic drawcord with a barrel lock that acts as a backup closure.

In response to the durability of the crotch, it has been redesigned using a heavier thread, more fabric in the seam, and stronger stitches. This redesign has more than doubled the strength of the crotch. Additionally, PEO-Soldier is awarding contracts to incorporate repairs to strengthen the crotch of the earlier ACU trousers still in the supply system.

Fire resistant (FR) uniforms are the subject of a recent Operational Need Statement (ONS) to provide additional FR uniforms. PEO-Soldier developed a fire resistant version of the ACU that provides similar FR protection to Nomex, but offers improved durability, breathability, moisture wicking, and comfort. ACU production contracts have been amended to produce the FR ACU, and deliveries are expected to begin July 2007.

There has been much discussion about the Universal Camouflage Pattern used on the ACU. Extensive laboratory and field tests were conducted on 11 candidate patterns and colors during development. MultiCam, then called Scorpion, was one of the patterns subjected to a series of laboratory and field evaluations, in multiple, realistic, operational environments under varied terrain and lighting conditions in 2003-04. The camouflage pattern selected was determined to provide the best overall effective concealment in multiple, operational environments, including urban, woodland, and desert scenarios.

The lighter colors required to obtain effective camouflage in multiple environments have posed a challenge for stain removal. Extensive laundry tests of the ACUs have been conducted to determine if the ACU soils more easily that the darker woodland BDU. Tests show the ACU and BDU stain similarly, but the darker color of BDUs hid stains. PEO-Soldier has been working with industry to incorporate a stain-release finish without compromising the performance of the wrinkle-free finish or other treatments, such as permethrin.

PEO-Soldier remains fully committed to incorporating Soldier feedback in the continual improvement of the ACU.

– Christian

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{ 53 comments… read them below or add one }

Aaron April 9, 2007 at 1:11 pm

All ideas of the ACU's came from Soldier feedback huh? How come I wasn't asked? Any chance we can get rid of that stupid balck beret and go back to the patrol cap?

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Airborne / Ranger September 11, 2011 at 8:23 pm

Right on!!! Only the elite soldiers have earn the right to wear the beret.

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Mike April 9, 2007 at 2:39 pm

This is a non-story. The Army introduced a new uniform, and based on feedback from the Troops, they are improving it. I hardly see this as “singing the ACU Blues” – to the contrary, it’s nice to see user feedback being incorperated (relatively) quickly.
The Army’s uniform policy (a desert/urban focused camo pattern, and a single dress uniform) makes a lot of sense. Sure, there’s room for improvement, but they are working on it. The ACU itself was developed from user feedback on the BDU/DCU – the collar, removing the uselss lower shirt pockets, slant pockets on the sleeves, lower leg pockets, all came from Soldier input.

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Jim April 9, 2007 at 3:10 pm

History lesson…. Anyone remember the “Wiz kids” under the Kennedy Administration? It was decided back then that all the services should wear the same uniform and boots because it would save millions of dollars. Now today each service has their own, or is working on their own uniforms. In todays dollars, that has to be tens of millions of dollars wasted in a military that is cash strapt.

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Wes April 9, 2007 at 5:00 pm

Hey, Mike…walk around for a bit in a Woodland environment wearing the ACU and tell me how safe from observation you think you are.
ACU = target identifying cloth
Anyone remember such a crescendo of complaints when MARPAT was adopted? No.

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Aaron April 9, 2007 at 5:32 pm

Uh huh, operational requirements include the need for easily removed patches? Now we’re all SF? If that’s the case why wear patches at all?
I really want to see this lab and field testing where the UCP beat out 10 other candidates, including Multicam. I simply don’t believe this claim.
Listening to soldier feedback huh? I don’t know or have heard of ANYONE being asked for a single opinion. If they had, they might get a real idea of the garbage they’ve force fed us.
Sorry, but it sounds like the same PR bull that’s been surrounding this failure since the beginning.

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wulf April 9, 2007 at 5:47 pm

I remember the days when my father would come home in his BDU, thats a soldiers uniform. Today that is no longer the black spit shined boots have been booted the patrol hat has been snapped away. The BDU showed freedom, protection, relief, liberty.
The ACU just looks like a giant science scam, they say it works better from NV and IR but when was the last time the enemy relay had this.
The uniform should be agreed upon by the soldiers not science facts, the facts only help the soldier determine what they need, not want.

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PFC Dustin April 9, 2007 at 5:47 pm

these are hardly universal. you practically glow in the woods. the velcrow is great, except like the story said on the cargo pockets there hoorible as far as quality goes unless you just keep them empty.
personally id like it if we just kept the same design but used the marine camo patterns. those prints are perfect.

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Tom April 9, 2007 at 9:28 pm

Never mind the ACU’s; I cannot fathom the policy of wearing the glow in the dark PT belt over field uniforms in theatre. Where did we go wrong?
29 years service, 9 to go
Tom

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Will Wheeler April 9, 2007 at 11:08 pm

I was really suprised that the Army chose the “universal” pattern over Multicam. I suspect that the Army saw the new Marine Corps uniforms, and wanted in on the party. However since the Marine Corps holds the trademark on those patterns, the Army was unable to use them.
No offense to the Army guys out there, but the Marine Corps uniforms were designed to set the Marine Corps apart from the other services, and should only ever be worn by a Marine. Get your own uniforms, and don’t even think about copying us.
Sgt. William Wheeler
Hq Bty. 5th Bn., 14th Marines

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The Dude April 10, 2007 at 2:28 am

Easiest solution: ACU cut multicams

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Matt April 10, 2007 at 5:30 am

This ACU is not built well, all the hook and pile fasteners are fraying and falling off. I hate the rank placement. I hate the fact that there is no branch isignia on officers uniforms. All the excess velcro looks like crap. (At least allow it to be covered up with the ACU panels with patches sewn on them.) And I don’t like not being allowed to wear my skill badges in theater. Oh, and the velcro is not tactical either. Imagine moving tactically around the enemy and then trying to access something from your pockets. I beseech you to do so with out making that notorious ripping sound that velcro makes.
The USMC has a FAR better uniform. They have two separate uniforms both of which are effective in their respective environments. They kept the buttons (what was wrong with them anyway?) on their pockets. They are actually allowed to wear their skill badges in theatre. The rank placement is on the collar where it should be. I feel like I am always being subserviant as I can’t look someone in their eyes since I have to read their rank in the middle of their torso.
Oh, and pa-leese get rid of that piece of crap beret. Allow the proper troops to wear it and everyone else to wear the garrison cap. I have been reading that the beret is going to be worn by E4 and below with the new Class A uniform (AKA dress blues). That will look like such crap on an otherwise nice looking uniform.
To the powers that be, PLEASE just come out with a garrison cap to match the blues and get rid of the beret for all non-airborne, SF and Ranger troops.

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Jason April 10, 2007 at 9:24 am

While the ACU is by no means perfect, it’s better than the woodland BDU’s with it’s layout.
Like anything else, it’s going through changes and the like.
As far as the beret, it’s a piece of headgear, nothing more.

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MDW April 10, 2007 at 10:06 am

The ACU uniform, while good intentioned is a colossal failure. Velcro on the pockets is fine, and is actually a welcome addition in my mind – However, velcro patches, ranks and the use of expensive pin ons for skill badges looks awful. The material while light, and cool is prone to easy tearing and is not rugged enough to be considered a viable option for a combat uniform. The construction of the uniform is among the worst I’ve ever seen anywhere – The velcro panels tear off, strings constantly come loose, pants split with little effort. I feel confident that I could go get something at K-Mart that would last longer under normal conditions, let alone a combat environment…
These current versions may work well behind the desk for the guy that designed it, but in the field they’re sub-par. The new design looks great, but needs a hell of a lot of work to toughen it up. (in short: at the prices we pay for these things, I’d expect a pair of pants and a top to last longer than a couple weeks)
I’m not naive enough to think that the Army will be rolling out new uniforms to us anytime in the near future, however they need to take a close look at the current situation and make some design and policy changes that will provide a workable, rugged, useful and comfortable uniform going forward.

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J.R. Tomberlin April 10, 2007 at 10:29 am

The old jungle fatigues were the most functional uniform the army ever had. The ACU’s and BDU’s don’t even come close. I understand that the body armor is an issue in regards to access to the blouse pockets. Why not wear the armor underneath the blouse?

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james April 10, 2007 at 10:55 am

PEO claims that the material is the same as the Enhanced Hot Weather BDU. I don’t see how, as my HW BDUs are much more durable and still holding up whereas my ACUs are shot and never been to the field.
Why haven’t such negative comments come from the Marines’ new uniform? Could it be that they were issued an durable and effective uniform that actually BLENDS with the environment.
And since the UCP so obviously fails at any sort of concealment, I’m told by ACU defenders that camouflage is overrated on the modern battlefield and the real purpose of UCP is easy soldier identification.
I get worried when my Army trades soldier survivability for ease of logistics.

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Sheldon April 10, 2007 at 11:02 am

The Army already has a new pattern which is most likely going to be the uniform of the future. You can see the design on tacticaltaylor.com As far as the wear and build of the uniform is conserned they should leave that open to the soldiers for suggestions since they are the ones wearing it in combat. The new pattern looks like its going to blend in great but I guess that has yet to be proven. Its just to bad that the Army had to waste all that money in the ACU’s, but I guess you don’t know untill you try. Also lets not forget the Army was the one who developed the Marines patterns and they didn’t want it because they are looking at one pattern to fit all of their needs, which makes since because you don’t want to need to buy or issue ruck sacks and what have you in two different patterns that just gets expensive not saying they don’t already over spend money on things they shouldn’t.

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Sheldon April 10, 2007 at 11:16 am

Sorry its tacticaltailor.com and its called the Cyre Multicam. Tell me what you guys think about the pattern?

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Mustang April 12, 2007 at 2:46 pm

How come the highly-paid science weenies at Natick can’t get it right? We had a laundry list of problems in the ’80′s when the BDU’s were issued… weak seams, tight crotches, buttons breaking in the laundry, fading problems. It is obvious that, like the original BDU issue, the ACUs simply were not properly tested in a field environment prior to fielding, and now the troops are stuck yet again. And matching LBE is a “no brainer” if the DOD is really looking out for the grunts—which they historically never are—because the Army could buy an entire brigade set of new, terrain-matching, LBE for less than the cost of one Tomahawk missile.

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Chris April 12, 2007 at 3:29 pm

my honest opinion…and by the way this is coming from an infantry Marine…ACU’s is not the best idea that the Army has had and im not tryin to put them down or anything, but the excess velcro looks like complete crap and is not tactical as said by Matt. and the rank is in such a retarded place…looks so stupid in the center of your chest…theres just too many flaws with it that make it non-tac and look like crap…yes, the new fabric blend is lighter and cooler than the old style BDU’s but thats about the only advantage…but why would you wear somehting that blends in with a rock in the desert or woods?…anyways, i just dont like them

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Robert April 12, 2007 at 7:37 pm

The velcro needs to go. At least on the sleeves. If it that important to remove patches then lets not use them. Everyone thinks they are SF. A lot of money could be savedby eliminating subdue unit patches. The pen pocket on the lower sleeve is also a waste. Not usable when a jacket is worn. Breast pockets could be a little larger and expand.

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Marc April 24, 2007 at 5:33 pm

Who is the idiot that designed the ACU to not be able to roll up the sleeves. They obviuosly have not stood out in 100 degree heat with 30lbs on their vest for hours on end. Come on move the velcro and give us a way to cool down.

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SPCSantimaw May 3, 2007 at 2:56 pm

The ACU pattern seems to mostly blend in with rocks and sand… found mainly on FOBs such as Camp Arifjan and SCS Scania. These uniforms are for the fobbits. The diesign is good. Pens could go somewhere else so you don’t have to take them up to pul lup your sleeves. The ‘fuzzy’ velcro covers for the Unit/Combat patch sections should be authorized for velcro protection and look, but is NOT. The rank is always covered by a weapon sling. (ie. m4, m16 another thing a fobbit wouldn’t know) Also, the Black/Foliage reverse American flag should be authorized in Arifjan and other ‘Garrison’ environments for NONFOBBITS! And make the Fobbits wear the Red, White & Blue at all times. We who travel in Iraq, and get in dangerous situations should get that to seperate us.

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louis June 5, 2007 at 9:59 am

As a former marine and now soldier that served with the 101st Airborne in Iraq wearing the ACU, I cannot fathom the mentality of the Army higher ups or civilians who makes these decisions with the uniforms. They say there is a consensus among soldiers when uniform policies are made but it never is. The consensus is always opposite of what we get. Anyway, the Army keeps on coming out with new ACU pattern stuff (new ACU t-shirt with army logo) and its pissing me off. Every branch of service had the same uniform with the BDU and now every branch wants to have a different one. The Marines had it right with their MARPAT pattern and regardless that it was chosen by them to set them apart; the uniform is the best being used for tactical operations. The Army should go with that pattern or change to Multicam or digitize the multicam. It should only use the beret with the class A uniform (now going to army blues, jeez), able to roll-up the sleeves, remove the velcro, move the rank to the collar and let the soldiers truly make the decision. the other day I get an AKO message about my opinions with the Army dress blues. I should get a message about the army acu and beret. from Staff-Sergeant to future Warrant Officer Quinones

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DaviD June 17, 2007 at 5:10 pm

to be blunt the ACU is total crap. when i 1st heard of it comming out with zippers and velcro, i thought there is no way that could ever get approved? well now a few years later here we are.
it tears way easier than the BDU.
all that velcro just looks silly.
its supposed to be better agains IR, but now many terrorists carry IR equipment around????
rank in the middle of the chest? now female soldiers complain we are staring at thier chests!!
the Marine Corps got it right with the MARPAT
why cant the Army realize that no one uniform is goin to work in the woods and desert/urban. the DCU was far better color pattern anyways!
once again this stupid hat we have been wearing for years now, belongs in class A at most! the majority of them arent shaped or worn correctly. it looks rag-tag, NOT professional at all… i say go patrol cap only!
who are these idiots that make these uniform rules? they obviously dont have the soldiers interests in mind, as the majority will agree with me on the issues above…

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zerk July 2, 2007 at 12:05 am

the so called armpat was designed for the urban arid combat enviroment. hence lovely iraq etc. we hear people say that “Multicam” is the best! maybe for airsofters. camouflage is not about looking cool. anyway. the USAF is going with the ABU. as for the blues. ever notice the tint shades of blue even in the bushes, with shadow. anyway, navy gonna have a new patt? or we should just go back to the good old olive drabs ha! or even browns(WW2) coyote brown.

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dakota68 July 4, 2007 at 8:50 am

i am a ssg and thinking of getting out of the service because I can no longer wear that piece of crap beret anymore. Please for the love of god go back to patrol caps and make us look like soliders again.

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zerk July 9, 2007 at 8:19 pm

John wrote “I hear alot of 18 and 19 year olds tell me they could never join the Army because US soldiers look like idiots in bad pajamas.” well some citizens are afraid of change. and discriminate against so called new camouflage patterns. as for your pajamas comment, i’ve heard all kinds of pos and neg feeback. first time i wore the desert marapt uniform, i too was the laughing stock. “who’s the guy in PJ’s!” i kept discipline, hence accpet change, or quit the service. i suppose in time the ACUpat will grow on us. true that Multi(s)cam is not universal. but eventually MC and acu will be replaced. anyway, acupat good for urban arid combat environment(iraq). bless woodland marpat and coyote gear for the BUSHes. is war fought in the jungles anymore? SF or semper fi. we all get the uncle sam pay.

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hayden July 10, 2007 at 3:23 am

good day! thanks for improving the army combat uniform. i like the acu compare to the old ones. keep up the good work…….god bless us all!
hayden

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pujolis July 13, 2007 at 11:23 pm

When will the common soldier of the US Army ever be satisfied with being soldiers? Marines, who developed MARPAT to stand out, and subsequently adapted a superior camouflage pattern, don’t seem to have the inferiority complex that the US Army does on the USMC, who obviously wanted a definitive pattern to set themselves apart from the more mundane services. Couldn’t the US Army have adopted a more reliable pattern for operations in a variety of environments other than the interior of an office cubicle? The US Army will not be able to adopt the MARPAT pattern solely because the USMC had the foresight to patent the MARPAT with the intent on keeping it “Marine only”. This is synonymous with mother nature marking the more dangerous species with identifiable coloring to make an enemy think twice about attacking. Marines have that reputation – mess with us and die – that they have earned. If the US Army was smart, they would develop a similar reputation that involves engaging the hostiles with the same ferocity as a Marine would, and relinquish the constant “me too” method of fabricating deterrents such as the unsat ACU pattern currently deployed. Oh, and get rid of the gay berets, they only create the impression of a fat Frenchman with many more patches on the shoulders.

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CPT September 6, 2007 at 7:43 pm

I have been gravely disappointed with ACUs since we started wearing them. Other than the fact that they do look like PJs, and the Army’s intent to instill pride in appearance is out the window; these new uniforms shrink at least 2 sizes after washing a couple times and well as lose the durability of the velcro.

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mack September 15, 2007 at 6:30 am

It is my opinion that the ACU has good and bad points it is lighter however I would like to see my rank back on my collar where it belongs. And the velcro has got to go it wears out and you can no longer secure items in pockets. The zipper needs to go away as well. Now as for the unit patches and the beret those need to go away as well if we are truly to be an army of one then why set ourselves apart from each other with unit patches and unit crest on the berets

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Mike D September 24, 2007 at 3:46 pm

I am a 17 Year career Soldier, i cant help but wonder why we took on the ACU ? We look like rag bags and they won’t hold up to daily duty. I disliked shining boots as much as the next guy, but tan cow hyde was not the answer. The Army is the comic relief for the armed forces, we look like crap. I want to see the pride and dedication back in the ranks. I can only hope that the general officers and senior Nco’s will take the topic back to the table along with the beret, please give us back our dignity and moral.

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rock508 December 27, 2007 at 10:52 am

if the army has half a brain get rid of the acu along with its velcro and zipper and use the multicam pattern cut to the new marine style uniform… and for gods sake lose the barrette!
until that happens i will not rejoin the reserves and look like a goofball saddam area iraqi soldier

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Roger January 15, 2008 at 6:53 pm

Bring back the Class I OG-107 jungle fatigues. By far the most comfortable, most practical, and best field uniform I’ve ever worn. Plus, it has a zipper in the fly where it’s supposed to be…and velcro is nowhere to be seen!

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A. Smith February 24, 2008 at 4:59 am

It is in my professional opinion that all the services should look the same by wearing the same uniform. In addition, I suggest all the services adopt the MARPAT, with modifications for each branch (no EGA, unit patches for army, dif. undershirt colors) and find the bureaucratic idiot that lobbied for these horrible ACUs!

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Sgt Dawkins March 17, 2008 at 1:52 am

I can’t believe some of the people in here are in the military! You all whine and complain like little children,shut up and deal with it. Stop complaining about every little things that is wrong. There are soldiers in combat zone who don’t have the equipment they need to perform a job and giving there life for it. You complain about having a zipper and velcro…(shaking my head) Be a soldier..adapt and overcome and drive on and complete the mission!

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KQQCH March 29, 2008 at 9:14 pm
KQQCH March 29, 2008 at 9:53 pm

Okay, in my experience, I was in Iraq in 2004 with the DCU uniform and other than the durability, never heard any complaints about the design. I personally felt safer knowing the degree of conceilment they offered.
We had a national guard unit come to relieve us and all I remembered was seeing hundreds of little blue bodies walking around. The ACU completely sillouettes you making it easier for snipers to target you.
The pattern idea is great however the decided shades are far from where they need to be. It is foolish for anyone to think that one color pattern would offer conceilment in any environment. Unfortunately, these new colors offer no conceilment in woodland or desert.
As with everyone, I miss the neatly pressed uniform, shiny boots, patrol cap, collared rank, and quiet reliable buttons.
I haven’t worn the ACU in combat yet, however, have gone through three times as many sets in garrison than my DCU’s I did wear in combat.
I hate sticking to the soldiers next to me in formation, or have to look for my patches whenever switching out uniforms. Sometimes I lose patches to the guys in formation. The wear of patches never match the wear of the uniforms. The zippers don’t ever last and the velcro is only good for about 3, maybe 4 washes.
I have never heard of anyone being questioned for advise or ideas for this uniform. For those who say this was decided upon the soldiers is absolute BS.
Ask someone from Vietnam if they would have wanted velcro pockets in the jungle or that shade of conceilment!
I hate to say it, but the Marines MARPAT by far exceeds the needs of conceilment and durability. My unit was attached to the 1st marine division and seen first hand the reliability of these. I think it is an arrogant move to deny other branches the right to utilize them as well if they offer better protection for military lives.
Lose the ego’s if it means better protection for eachother. We are all on the same ground in the same cities of the same war. Lets work together, find out what works best for everyone to get the job done, and get the F*** out of there….
Bottom line, the ACU was a titanic mistake financially, tactically, and moralistically. Give the Army back some pride, boost the moral by asking the guys what we think….. Get rid of the Berette, and for god sakes… pick one color if any……all this mix and matching different uniforms is just ragged, unprofessional, and tacky looking….Cub scouts are looking more proffessional than us!
SPC Kooch
B-101 FA

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PV1 Adams May 22, 2008 at 6:38 pm

Despite its failings, I believe the ACU is fixable. Get rid of the zipper, or replace it with a brass one that won’t get jacked up in the laundry, lose the velcro, and change the colors. Real greens and browns for woodland environments, and tans and browns for desert. I don’t know who came up with the idea of a “universal camo”, but they must not know much about the subject because it ain’t universal unless it changes colors. The ACU doesn’t, and it illuminates us like beacons, day or night. Very bad for combat situations. Switching to Multicam, however, is not the answer. Multicam is good for civilian use, not Army. We want CAMOUFLAGE, not glow in the darks that grab the enemies attention.

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Steven June 2, 2008 at 10:59 pm

I’ve done my time in tactical settings as a Grunt. The ACU is worthless in the mud hut urban townships of Iraq. Even the large cities are browns and tans and not concrete blues and grays of the Soviet Cold War era. You conform to the war you are in, not the war you want to be in.
The ACU use of pockets is nice and the leg ones need buttons. The ACU color pattern. Look, I know what works and doesn’t blend. The ACU doesn’t blend in the palm grove operations, it doesn’t blend in the tan city streets, it doesn’t blend in the dry light desert. It does blend on the KBR gray gravel roads to the Fob DFAC’s for the fobbits to ambush you for your icecream cone.
Cammo is designed to hide and blend you to your environment. The ACU pattern doesn’t do that in woodland, desert urban, tropics.
That is just how it is. Multicam works in the desert tans, palm groves, browns. Does it cost more? Yes, but it helps keep you alive in a tactical environment.

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JR Z July 1, 2008 at 1:16 am

The Army is improving the ACU based on soldier feedback, you say. The only improvements that they have made have had zero impact on the pattern itself, which is far and away the main problem with the uniform. BTW, Army commercials suck…and this is coming from an Army guy. The Navy commercials look more high speed than ours. What the HELL are the high-ups thinking? First they get rid of “be all you can be”, give out black berets to all the pogues, and now crap uniforms with a rediculous pattern that virtually nobody likes. Also, I don’t see how the lower pockets are “useless”. Just because they are used less than other pockets doesn’t make them useless. It’s not like they add 5lbs. to the uniform. So why not keep them? We were better off with the last uniforms we had…just cut off the lower pockets and had them stitched onto the sleeves and voila. The added pockets and the fact that they don’t want you to iron them are the only improvements…and those are improvements that I made myself to my BDU/DCU’s before ACU’s were issued. The no-ironing directions, if you don’t remember, were actually issued for the BDU’s as well as it damages the anti-IR chemical coating. But old-school army was more concerned about being shiny than tactical so we had to starch our stuff. Those are the only real improvements, both of which could have been supplied for much cheaper than an entire new uniform which everyone hates. Peace out.

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Airman Shotz November 18, 2008 at 1:08 am

PLEASE Big Army, KEEP the ACU. For once, the USAF doesn’t get the short stick on getting razzed for being the rag bag service uniforms. Your Hi-Viz camo pattern is a laugh-a-minute relief from the strains of our time inside the wire. Can’t imagine going out in the bush with that crap illuminating my body like a white star cluster. At least the Air Force knows what works in the environment we work in, and we nixed the blue Hawaiian tiger stripe for a more subdued pattern. Can’t see that ours would work in an urban or jungle terrain either. But we don’t go there…

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PV2 Radabaugh December 7, 2008 at 10:32 am

As a private set to deploy next year, I get kinda worried when all my NCO’s keep telling me that my uniform doesn’t blend in with anything. And as far as multicam’s concerned, from what I’ve seen it does blend in with a hell of a lot more than the ACU pattern. Maybe they could make a variant of the Multicam pattern, and use it on ACU’s?

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Warrrant Officer 1 Q January 3, 2009 at 2:45 pm

My 2009 wish. Get rid of the ACUs and go to the MARPAT or Multicam. Ridiculous uniform and the same with the single dress blue uniform. OK, Big Army wants to save money and cut costs. But you are create morale issues and not living up to cover and concealment.

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Eric January 24, 2009 at 12:33 pm

I’ve heard the old saying ” suck it up and drive on ” thousands of times in my career. Usualy this phraze is used to motivate a soldier in periods lack of sleep, food and physical hardship. However when used in reference to equipment that burdens a soldier to the point he is no longer able to shoot, move or look around (D.A.P.’s, throat guard), or uniforms dont camoflauge i hardly think this aplies. Being a yes man dosent make you tough, cool or a good leader. looking out for soldiers does.

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WOC_MIKE July 5, 2009 at 12:25 pm

I have never seen so much whining in my life. Supposedly your Soldiers but you sound more like my toddler twins. The USMC MARPAT has positives but it also has negatives too. THERE IS NO PERFECT UNIFORM so suck it up and drive on.

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ARMY PRCESS July 31, 2009 at 12:43 pm

ive been in 3 wars and been in the army for 31 years. You soilders need to suck it up and drive on. Complain to someone who cares. You are in the military u have no option on what you wear or what you do. DRIVE ON

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Will September 4, 2009 at 11:11 am

The lifers, fobbits, and various other turd eaters that think the army can do no wrong should put down the crack pipe and face reality. The uniform isn’t all that bad, I’m not too keen on all the velcro. The AUC, yeah a u c, army universal pattern, sucks, at it’s best. Unless the uniform is grungy, and a little faded, a squad looks like a collection of mangled galvanized trash cans, that’s in Iraq. In wooded areas, it’s worse. It’s not universal, and it wouldn’t sell in the private sector, because it has to work to sell. It’d take some chairborne colonel, or general to sign on for this. I’m just glad that I don’t have to be concerned with this POS uniform anymore. Oh yeah, and the silly ass beret should be shit canned as well, give it back to the frogs.

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abushnell September 23, 2009 at 11:39 am

Here’s all i have to say about the ACU. I haven’t been wearing this uniform as long as others, and I don’t really have a choice on what I say. But honestly though, I don’t understand why the ACU was chosen. It just doesn’t blend, that’s all. I’m fine with the barrette, fine with velcro, yeah it gets dirty easy, just the one thing that I hate is the pattern.
The most this pattern will do is blend with a pile of rocks. What is really needed is something that will blend with any environment. I don’t mean to say that Multi-Cam is the best camo around, since there is no “one best camo”, but it significantly out performs any other camo. It’s been tested, proven it works, so why not use it?

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Darren O'Connor October 24, 2009 at 8:10 pm

I for one am glad they didn’t have this bloody awful ACU camo when I was in the army just a few years ago. I can’t comment on all the other supposed deficiencies of the ACU, such as durability, or the problems with the zippers or the velcro, but the first time I saw that camo pattern I thought “you’ve GOT to be kidding me!” The idea of camouflage is, you know, to blend in. This doesn’t. At all. It stands out. The ACUPAT probably functions acceptably enough in Iraq and Afghanistan, because even if the grays of the uniform don’t match the browns and tans of the terrain, there is fairly little contrast between the ACUPAT and the terrain. But it’s still far from the best camo for this terrain, and if we ever have to send troops to fight in tropical or woodland terrain again, this pattern is NOT going to work.
And to all those “suck it up and drive on” comments… Grow up. Being a good soldier doesn’t mean being a yes man who says nothing when given unacceptable, substandard equipment. Sure you’ve got to wear it until something better replaces it. But the only way it will ever get replaced is if the army gets enough negative feedback to let them know how poorly it’s working, and how dissatisfied the troops are with it.

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John Dodge November 30, 2009 at 3:26 pm

I hated that green/grey snot-shirt the Army replaced the khakis with. When they gave everybody a beret I had to earn, I about puked.
You want goog camo for the woods? Go Tiger Stripe.
You want good desert camo? Get khaki BDUs.

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ShadowDoc July 4, 2010 at 2:43 pm

I am a veteran of OIF 1 and OIF 5-7 and in my opinion the UCP is ridiculous. The only reason it worked well in Iraq was after a day, everything took on the dirty brown color of Iraq and you couldn't see the Foliage Green and Urban Grey in the pattern. I think the people responsible for shoving this camo down our throats should be prosecuted for fraud, waste and abuse. Millions of dollars spent changing EVERY item in the inventory to Foliage Green, or UCP, for what? For image. The Velcro patches, absolute crap. My skill badges and name are not going to change, for the life of the uniform, so why do they have to be removable? I can see the SSI, but the branch tape? Silly, just plain silly. The Army Service Uniform is another plum of a project, nobody needed or wanted. I am not proud of it. It looks ridiculous for everyday wear. And it cost money that needed to be spent elsewhere. Fraud, Waste and Abuse!

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