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USMC Defends Uniform Design


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Even military forces take these things seriously:

http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2011/06/07/army-backs-off-talk-using-marine-camouflage-pattern/

The Army claimed Tuesday that it's not looking to swipe the Marines' combat uniform, after a top official said in an interview that the branch might just use the same design over the Corps' objections.

The Army is weighing different camouflage patterns as it moves to select a new set of uniforms. The older Universal Camouflage Pattern has been criticized as ineffective, and some soldiers see the Marine Corps' MARPAT (Marine Pattern) as vastly superior.

Brig. Gen. Peter Fuller, former head of Program Executive Office Soldier which is responsible for military gear, earlier told the Army Times that the Army could remove the Corps' emblem and appropriate the uniform for Army use if it proves most effective in field tests. That's something the Marines don't want to see happen, claiming the uniform is their property and that Marines should be distinguished from other soldiers.

But a spokeswoman in Fuller's department told FoxNews.com that MARPAT is "not a leading choice for the Army's next combat uniform."

"MARPAT is not technically competing in the Army's camouflage efforts at all; it is being used as a benchmark pattern" along with a camouflage pattern used in Afghanistan and Navy patterns, spokeswoman Debi Dawson said in an email.

The Army is taking proposals until June 15, after which it plans to review its options and select a "family" of three camouflage patterns -- one for a woodland environment, one for a desert environment and one "transitional" pattern for everything else.

"The Army expects a large number of vendors to bid on the camouflage improvement effort. We look forward to seeing what solutions industry can offer and to compare the effectiveness of these new patterns to the patterns already in DoD inventory," Dawson said.

If they stay away from MARPAT, this would avoid a clash over colors with the Marines Corps. Last year, Marine Sgt. Maj. Carlton Kent said the MARPAT design is "proprietary."

"It's important those designs are reserved for Marines. We just need to make sure each of our designs is unique to each service," he said, according to the Army Times.

A study published last fall by an Army research agency showed that the MARPAT desert pattern was ranked by soldiers returning from Afghanistan as among the most effective patterns, along with one known as "MultiCam." The standard-issue UCP Army uniform was ranked toward the bottom.

Asked for comment about the review underway, a Marine Corps spokeswoman said only that the Corps "is aware that the Army is utilizing the MarPat design as a baseline -- along with the MultiCam and Navy's AOR patterns -- as it develops its next generation uniform."

Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2011/06/07/army-backs-off-talk-using-marine-camouflage-pattern/#ixzz1OcyhYZDO

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That Marine Corps uniform has little Eagle, Globe & Anchor logos incorporated into the pattern. I've been out for 3 years now but I think I know where I can find some of my old uniforms. I'll show you guys what I'm talking about if I can.

I loved the 'Digi-pattern' uniform (as we called it) but still we had a tan one and a green one. The Army has just one uniform. I would rather have just one. But that's just my opinion.

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I thought...

Army = ACU

Marines = MARPAT

Soldiers stationed in Afghanistan = Multicam

wacko.gif

The Army and people stationed with the Army (like Sailors or Airmen attached to Army units) wear whatever uniform the Army folks around them wear.

The Army is slowly phasing out the ACU in-country for MultiCam because the UCP (the pattern on the ACU, good ole acronyms) basically sucks. But, as a friend told me, it's embarrassing and expensive to undo a multi-million dollar uniform, so the change is happening pretty slowly. I think I heard somewhere that the Army is only issuing the MultiCam to Iraq/Afghanistan-bound units/soldiers, and may keep the UCP stateside. But I think the Marines' insistence on making their pattern proprietary is kinda ridiculous.

The Navy has a new digital cammo uniform too, and since it's blue and therefore not much use in Afghanistan or Iraq, they came up with a woodland and a desert pattern too. But the Corps objected to the desert pattern and said that the Navy couldn't use it. So the Navy had to compromise and said that only SEALs and other special ops folks would wear it. The woodland pattern should be allowed for general use, but the contract on Navy's general use desert uniform (the old universal three-color pattern) expires next year or so, and so now, because of the Marines, the Navy may have to find a new desert pattern, even though they already spent a ton of money making a new one.

So, yeah, the military takes its uniforms seriously, so seriously that the Marines are basically holding a camouflage pattern hostage...

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I thought...

Army = ACU

Marines = MARPAT

Soldiers stationed in Afghanistan = Multicam

wacko.gif

The Army and people stationed with the Army (like Sailors or Airmen attached to Army units) wear whatever uniform the Army folks around them wear.

The Army is slowly phasing out the ACU in-country for MultiCam because the UCP (the pattern on the ACU, good ole acronyms) basically sucks. But, as a friend told me, it's embarrassing and expensive to undo a multi-million dollar uniform, so the change is happening pretty slowly. I think I heard somewhere that the Army is only issuing the MultiCam to Iraq/Afghanistan-bound units/soldiers, and may keep the UCP stateside. But I think the Marines' insistence on making their pattern proprietary is kinda ridiculous.

The Navy has a new digital cammo uniform too, and since it's blue and therefore not much use in Afghanistan or Iraq, they came up with a woodland and a desert pattern too. But the Corps objected to the desert pattern and said that the Navy couldn't use it. So the Navy had to compromise and said that only SEALs and other special ops folks would wear it. The woodland pattern should be allowed for general use, but the contract on Navy's general use desert uniform (the old universal three-color pattern) expires next year or so, and so now, because of the Marines, the Navy may have to find a new desert pattern, even though they already spent a ton of money making a new one.

So, yeah, the military takes its uniforms seriously, so seriously that the Marines are basically holding a camouflage pattern hostage...

So seriously that they'd rather risk the lives of the other branches than share? Is that the gist of what I've been reading?

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Right. If it's the best pattern, then everyone should use it. I could see it if the Army and Marine Corps were private businesses, but wouldn't it make sense for everyone in the US Armed Forces to have the best of... well, everything? Regardless of who develops it?

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Wrong. "Risk the lives of the other branches" is not what they are doing.

Navy personnel that are on the ground with Marine Corps units wear the same uniform the Marines wear. The blue uniform is for the States and on ship where camouflage isn't a big deal.

The rest of what I know is there was a period of time (between 2003-2006) where all of the branches of military were dropping the old-school camouflage in favor of patterns associated with specific branches of the military. The Air Force tried out all kinds of patterns before settling on one. The Marines went with a woodland and Desert pattern that they use today. The Army went with a more urban cammo pattern that they are now trying to get rid of. The Navy was late to the party because they were using the Marine Corps pattern.

For all of those that have been commenting that are not in the military or never have been, the Marine Corps is a department of the Navy. The Marines can't tell the Navy that they can't use their pattern. If the Army is being told they can't use the Marine Pattern, then it is coming from the Secretary of the Navy.

The current Army uniform essentially IS the Marine Corps pattern without the Eagle Globe and Anchor logos all over and it is more of a light greenish color.

I don't know the real reason why the Army cannot use the Marine Corps pattern. But it is pretty ridiculous to see a statement that the Marines would sacrifice Soldiers lives just to keep their style all to themselves.

I would love to see Buc chime in on this topic since he is an Army veteran. I'm going to PM him and ask him to join the discussion.

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I don't know the real reason why the Army cannot use the Marine Corps pattern. But it is pretty ridiculous to see a statement that the Marines would sacrifice Soldiers lives just to keep their style all to themselves.

While we may never know the real reason for the Marines' reluctance to share, we can only go with the stated reasons.

Last year, Marine Sgt. Maj. Carlton Kent said the MARPAT design is "proprietary."

"It's important those designs are reserved for Marines. We just need to make sure each of our designs is unique to each service," he said, according to the Army Times.

So while I don't think they rejoice in the notion that the Army would have less effective camouflage, it certainly appears that the Marines, or the Navy or whomever, is more concerned about protecting their turf.

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I don't know the real reason why the Army cannot use the Marine Corps pattern. But it is pretty ridiculous to see a statement that the Marines would sacrifice Soldiers lives just to keep their style all to themselves.

While we may never know the real reason for the Marines' reluctance to share, we can only go with the stated reasons.

Nothing malicious in my post Jay, until there's a better reason than "it's ours, go away" it's pretty open to opinions or questions. As BBTV said, if it's the best camo available in the United States it should be universally used.

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I don't know the real reason why the Army cannot use the Marine Corps pattern. But it is pretty ridiculous to see a statement that the Marines would sacrifice Soldiers lives just to keep their style all to themselves.

While we may never know the real reason for the Marines' reluctance to share, we can only go with the stated reasons.

Nothing malicious in my post Jay, until there's a better reason than "it's ours, go away" it's pretty open to opinions or questions. As BBTV said, if it's the best camo available in the United States it should be universally used.

Understood. Thanks.

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Jay is right when he says that Navy/other people assigned to USMC units can wear the MARPAT uniform. But the problem comes when other services have tried to come up with their own patterns.

The Marines are very protective of their independence, given the efforts over 200+ years to make them part of the Army or Navy. So when they were the first US force to use a digital pattern, they trademarked it. That includes not just the EGA in the design, but the actual color combinations too. Jay is also right that the Corps is part of the Department of the Navy, but they're independent enough that they can trademark their own designs, create their own uniforms, and other stuff like that.

So, after the Marines came out with their slick new cammies, the other services freaked out because usually the Marines just end up with the Army's leftovers. So the other servicees set out to get the digital stuff. But the Corps had TM'd the colors so they came up with their own patterns.

So there are two ways to look at this. One is to say: "why wouldn't they want the other services to have the best stuff?" I think that's a false argument, beceause there are tons of good cammo patterns out there, Multicam for example.

The other way is to look at it from the Corps' perspective that they are trying to maintain their service's individuality by keeping the pattern they invented in house. I think there is some merit in that, but the length to which the Corps has gone to prevent the Navy from using their own woodland and desert patterns is ridiculous.

I'll post some pics to show the similarities and differences in the patterns later so you can decide for yourself if the Corps has a point or if they're splitting hairs.

Also, we could talk about the Army UCP pattern that everyone hates and how that came to be and how it's being replaced less than 10 years after coming into existence.

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Sorry I'm late, fellas...but let's dive into this thing here a little deeper. Jay hit me via PM about this a little while ago, just didn't see it until today. I think this topic has come up one time before in here, though I couldn't tell you which thread.

Jay's right about the MARPAT...there are little Marine emblems embedded into both the woodland and desert versions. For what it's worth, the Navy's digicams (that's just my word for this pattern; I don't think it's an "official" term) have the Navy emblem embedded within it, and though it's hard to see, so do the Air Force's digital tiger stripes. The Army's versions, as far as I know, do not have any emblems embedded within them.

As for the implementation of the digital camouflage, the Marines did in fact introduce the style to the U.S. armed forces--but, they were NOT the originators of it. The pattern was first put into full use by the Canadian military back in the mid-late '90s, not long before the Marines adapted their style. What's important to note is that the Marines wanted to use the CADPAT, except that the Canadian military trademarked the design, which led to the Marines develpoing and trademarking their own pattern, now known as MARPAT.

All that having been said, digicam isn't anywhere close to a recent development--far from it. The first American use of the digital camouflage was done on a trial basis by the U.S. Army, with one of its units stationed in Europe (I forget which one...I want to say the 2d ACR), back in the late '70s-early '80s, somewhere in there, but even before then, the Australian armed forces did some experimental tests with the pattern on some of its military vehicles. Neither the Australian forces nor the Army felt the pattern provided effective camouflage, so both pretty much canned the idea. Of course, the Canadian forces picked it up, then the Marines...and now every branch has their own version. (Though, the new multi-cams the Army's getting ready to go to isn't exactly digitized. it's also ugly as all hell--but I won't get into that here. ^_^ )

Now, since we're on this topic, I'm of the belief that all branches should standardize their use of digicam--woodland version for stateside, the blue digicam for any units stationed either on an airfield/air force base or on a naval base, digital desert for units deployed to desert areas, and some variant of the multi-cams for units going to Afghanistan or serving peacekeeping missions in Bosnia or Kosovo (the current Marine woodland MARPAT would probably work best for that). That way all units across all branches can be, well, uniform.

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Now, since we're on this topic, I'm of the belief that all branches should standardize their use of digicam--woodland version for stateside, the blue digicam for any units stationed either on an airfield/air force base or on a naval base, digital desert for units deployed to desert areas, and some variant of the multi-cams for units going to Afghanistan or serving peacekeeping missions in Bosnia or Kosovo (the current Marine woodland MARPAT would probably work best for that). That way all units across all branches can be, well, uniform.

Heresy! That would be cheap, effective, and would undo the past 10 years of uniform divergence, and thus it would be totally unacceptable! It used to be that everyone wore the old-school woodlands and the three-color desert and it was one big military family, with some variations in headwear and insignia. And then everything went bananas when the Canadians invaded with their snazzy digital duds. I guess in a way it's a pretty significant Canadian military victory. The return to a common pattern makes a lot of sense to yours truly, although I don't think the blue cammo for airfields/navy bases would necessarily work, since you'd want your security folks to wear terrain appropriate uniforms. Wearing the blue cammo aboard ship makes sense for a few reasons I won't delve into, however.

The Navy uniform is called the NWU, for Navy Working Uniform, though I don't know if the pattern itself has a name. Here's a close-up of the pattern with what the Navy calls the "ACE," for "Anchor, Constitution, and Eagle."

DSC00653.jpg

The oft-maligned Army UCP, there's no sublimated design in the pattern.

acucap.jpg

Here's an image of each service's competing cammo designs, from left to right it's USMC desert, USMC woodland, Army ACU, and Air Force ABU:

utility_uniforms_small.jpg

And finally, here's the source of all the controversey, a side-by-side of the Corps' desert and woodland patterns (MARPAT) and the Navy's proposed patterns (NWU). The image isn't so great, I'd love for ColorWerx to get a hold of these two patterns and tell us what the colors in each palette are exactly and let us know how close they really are.

MARPAT_comparison.PNG

If nothing else, this whole debate highlights inter-service rivalry and identity and what happens when what's called the "Good Idea Fairy" starts spreading her magic pixie dust of too many Good Ideas.

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I don't really get the Navy's blue camoflauge uniforms. The idea of camoflauge is "To Not Be Seen" which makes sense on land. At sea, however, the biggest risk to a seaman's life is falling off the ship. In that case, wouldn't it be better if he were wearing Day-Glo Orange so his shipmates could see him and rescue him? :wacko:

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I don't really get the Navy's blue camoflauge uniforms. The idea of camoflauge is "To Not Be Seen" which makes sense on land. At sea, however, the biggest risk to a seaman's life is falling off the ship. In that case, wouldn't it be better if he were wearing Day-Glo Orange so his shipmates could see him and rescue him? :wacko:

Hahaha, you're not the first person to bring that up. The Navy says it went with the colors to keep the uniform "serviceable" in military speak. What that means is that a uniform is not supposed to be worn if it shows a lot of wear and tear since it looks shabby and unprofessional. Currently and for most of the past 50 years US Sailors have worn solid blue coveralls. The problem is that Sailors work with a lot of paint, grease, and other junk that, once on a solid blue uniform, stands out like a sore thumb and makes the uniform "unserviceable." This results in a lot of cost to sailors in either cleaning the uniform over and over, or, more expensive, replacing it. So the idea behind the colors on the blue cammo was to provide a uniform that could withstand some damage, some stains, and be washed in a home washing machine.

But you're right, finding someone in that pattern in the ocean would be tough...

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I don't really get the Navy's blue camoflauge uniforms. The idea of camoflauge is "To Not Be Seen" which makes sense on land. At sea, however, the biggest risk to a seaman's life is falling off the ship. In that case, wouldn't it be better if he were wearing Day-Glo Orange so his shipmates could see him and rescue him? :wacko:

Hahaha, you're not the first person to bring that up. The Navy says it went with the colors to keep the uniform "serviceable" in military speak. What that means is that a uniform is not supposed to be worn if it shows a lot of wear and tear since it looks shabby and unprofessional. Currently and for most of the past 50 years US Sailors have worn solid blue coveralls. The problem is that Sailors work with a lot of paint, grease, and other junk that, once on a solid blue uniform, stands out like a sore thumb and makes the uniform "unserviceable." This results in a lot of cost to sailors in either cleaning the uniform over and over, or, more expensive, replacing it. So the idea behind the colors on the blue cammo was to provide a uniform that could withstand some damage, some stains, and be washed in a home washing machine.

But you're right, finding someone in that pattern in the ocean would be tough...

...Which is part of why they went with that in the first place--according to what some higher-up Navy officials once told me. How much truth there is to that, I couldn't tell you--it's entirely possible they were just spewing a bunch of hot garbage at the time as well.

But since this post came up, in reference to the sailors uniforms mentioned, I guess I'l bring up this sidebar: lots of people used to (and still do) ask why Army (as well as at least one other branch of service--that is, if the Marines still use them, I'm not sure) food service personnel's duty uniforms are all-white, considering the amount of foodstuffs, grease, oil, and whatever else can get on those...as well as the inane cost of laundering and maintaining them. Well, it's precisely because of all those potential stains that (at least) the Army dictated all-white garrison food service uniforms (known in our circles as "cook whites"). The main purpose: to see who maintains hygiene and who doesn't. Very easy to tell those who don't keep up their hygiene when they show up for cook's mount (another term I'll cover in a second) with stains from the previous duty day present on their uniforms. It's all in promoting hygiene discipline.

Back to "cook's mount", for those who don't know...this is where, upon reporting for duty, we all "toe the line" for inspection, hold out our hands palms up, and after being looked over from head to toe (and being looked at for any signs of sickness), turn them over to palms down. Purpose of that is inspecting hands for cuts, abrasions, dirt up under fingernails, overgrown fingernails (yes, that's covered in Army regulations as well), and anything else that could contaminate food (even though we all wear gloves anyway). In my case, and many other FS personnel, that was a 0230 or 1130 event, depending on what day we were on (they rotated every day).

Anyway, enough of that tangent... :P

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