***image1***In keeping with the adage that “change is inevitable,” Soldiers will soon don a new “digital camouflage” pattern uniform. Additionally, more than 10 changes in the Army’s uniform policy are currently being staffed for an update of Army Regulation 670-1.
According to 1st Lt. Brian Piekielko, 21st Theater Support Command Chief, Personnel Actions Branch, “The Army Combat Uniform was designed by Soldiers to meet the demands of the current operational environment and offers enhanced versatility, comfort and ergonomic qualities.”
Some changes to the uniforms include: elimination of the winter-weight uniform; rank centered on blouse front; bottom front pockets moved to shoulder and knee areas; Velcro utilized to hold name and service tapes, unit patches, and other insignia; blouse front zipper closure and angled check pockets.
“The body armor doesn’t work well with the current (Battle Dress Uniforms,)” said lieutenant Piekielko, “so the ACUs were made with wearing body armor in mind. As a result, the uniform pockets were moved to the sleeves for easy access.”
As is the case with most changes, local reaction to the new uniforms was mixed.
“In addition to being easy, the Velcro will offer an out-of-pocket savings to the Soldier,” said Sgt. Maj. Steven Wilcox, 21st TSC G-3 Sergeant Major. It currently costs $15 to $20 to have the necessary items sewn on a uniform.
“Change is hard,” said 1st Sgt. Darren Lyles, 21st TSC G3 NCO In Charge. “The new [digital] pattern is kind of hard to digest initially. The rank and name seem to stick out in an odd way. However, I like the boots and the U.S. flag being applied with Velcro, but I’m on the fence about the rank.”
Specialist Justin Dean, G-1 awards clerk, located in Kaiserslautern, expressed his opinion with both pluses and minuses. “It will narrow it down to one uniform for both summer and winter, and that’s positive. However, I don’t like the name tags and rank insignia.”
The new uniforms will cost a total of $88 — $34 more than the current BDUs. According to Lieutenant Piekelko, “Soldiers will receive an increase in their Clothing Replace-ment Allowance to cover the increase.” Officers, on the other hand, must pay for their uniforms out-of-pocket.