Jul 13, 2010

Army: MultiCam allowed only in Afghanistan

By Matthew Cox - Staff writer
Posted : Monday Jul 12, 2010

The Army put out a message to soldiers who will receive new MultiCam uniforms for Afghanistan — don’t plan on wearing your fancy new duds to the bank at lunch time.
The strict new rules that will govern the fielding and wear of the new Operation Enduring Freedom Camouflage Pattern uniforms are laid out in a June 10 All Army Activities message.
“OCP is authorized for wear in Afghanistan only,” the message states. “Only U.S. Army soldiers and members of other services assigned to U.S. Army units operating in Afghanistan are authorized” to wear the new pattern.
The Army selected MultiCam as the new pattern for Afghanistan in February after it outperformed the Army Combat Uniform’s Universal Camouflage Pattern and several other popular patterns in multiple Army tests.
U.S.-based units will begin receiving MultiCam uniforms and equipment by August. Soldiers are only allowed to wear MuliCam in Afghanistan, “during travel to or from Afghanistan,” and “for unit ceremonial events just prior to deployment or just after redeployment,” the message states.
As far as pre-deployment training goes, soldiers can wear MultiCam, “but only if UCP items are not available,” the message states.
The Army plans to begin fielding to units already serving in Afghanistan by November, but only units with “120 days or more remaining in Afghanistan” will receive the new uniforms and equipment in MultiCam.
Each soldier’s clothing records will be updated during the fielding process to “ensure total accountability,” the message states. “There will be no exceptions.”
Soldiers will be allowed to keep the MultiCam Fire-Resistant ACUs, caps and other accessories when they return from deployment, but will be required to turn in their MultiCam Modular Lightweight Load-bearing Equipment, Extended Cold Weather Clothing System Generation III items, body armor, and helmet covers, Army spokesman Lt. Col. Jimmie Cummings told Army Times on June 24.
Soldiers are “prohibited” from buying MultiCam uniforms and equipment from any place other than Army and Air Force Exchange Service clothing sales stores.
MultiCam, made by Crye Precision LLC, was the top performer in a computerized, photo-simulation test the Army conducted late last year. Tests included photographs taken in desert, woodland, cropland and mountain terrain settings.
The pattern features seven shades of brown, tan and green. It had already been a top performer in two previous Army studies.
One of the tests, “Photosimulation Camouflage Detection Test,” conducted by U.S. Army Natick Soldier Research, Development and Engineering Center from March 2007 to March 2009, showed that MultiCam and three other patterns outperformed the existing UCP.
A previous Natick study, called “Computerized Visual Camouflage Evaluation,” conducted from November 2005 to July 2006, found that “MultiCam performed significantly better than the UCP in most conditions.”
Separately, Army Special Operations Command has also tested MultiCam in different environments worldwide, including Iraq and Afghanistan, and found that it outperformed the Army’s standard pattern. Army special operations units such as Delta Force, some of the 75th Ranger Regiment and some Special Forces teams wear the MultiCam pattern instead of the UCP in Iraq and Afghanistan.
For the most recent photo-simulation test, a special team spent 17 days in Afghanistan, taking more than 1,000 photographs of camouflage uniforms and equipment in desert, woodland, cropland and mountain settings between Kandahar and Bagram. Each photograph was calibrated to show the correct color despite varying daylight conditions.
The nine-man team went outside the wire nearly every day, providing their own security as they took turns modeling the test patterns for photographs.
The photos from the trip were turned into a three-phase test taken by soldiers from Fort Bragg, N.C., Fort Campbell, Ky., and Fort Drum, N.Y.


Soldiers will be given:
• 4 sets of MultiCam fire-resistant uniforms
• 4 combat shirts and matching combat gear
• Select layers of the Gen III Extended Cold Weather Clothing System.

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