New Army Advanced Combat Uniform Review
SFC Thomas Nichols (aka “Jack Army”) passes along some reviews of the Army’s new Advanced Combat Uniform (ACU), which has finally arrived.
A captain complains that the uniform makes him look “replaceable” because of the disapperance of skill badges and other personalized insignia. More significantly, he is concerned about the noisiness of all the velcro.
Nichols hasn’t yet gotten a set of the $80 replacement for the $40 Battle Dress Uniform (BDU) but observes,
[C]hanging uniforms in the middle of a war seems a bit odd to me as well. The desert pattern and the woodland pattern worked well for a few decades, a few more years wouldn’t hurt. I don’t see or hear alot about Soldiers trying to be camouflaged in Baghdad, but then, I haven’t been there so I don’t know. But to my way of thinking, the IED’s don’t care what uniform you’re wearing, or if you’re wearing one at all.
I will say this much, though. War is great for getting new stuff. New uniforms, new electronics, new weapons systems, new armor (body and vehicle), the list goes on. This is a good thing. I’ll put up with some velcro pulling to get a great outfit of body armor.
Indeed. I’m surprised the BDU lasted as long as it has, especially since the NATO-standard woodland camouflage pattern has seemed an odd basic issue uniform for more than a decade. Not a lot of European woods in the places our soldiers have been deploying since the Cold War.
Nichols also comments that there are probably too many skill badges out there, singling out the coveted Air Assault badge:
I learned how to rappel in my SF training. I learned how to ruck in Basic Training. I learned how to tie knots in the period in between. I could learn how to sling load a water buffalo in an hour or less. Why do we have a school and a badge for all that?
As the owner of the Bullwinkle Badge as well as the Basic Parachutist (aka “Airborne”) badge, I would note that the former course is two weeks and the latter three. One actually learns skills at the former whereas one could train a chimp to do a parachute landing fall in about fifteen minutes. Airborne school is basically a couple hours of training interspersed with two weeks of harassment and then five hours of proving that gravity still operates over eastern Alabama interspersed with forty hours of sitting around in heavy equipment.
It’s probably true that someone who has already been through nearly a year of Special Forces training would get little out of Air Assault school; but then, they’d find the Basic NCO Course and Officer Advanced Course rather redundant, too. Like Airborne school, though, the course is designed for people newly assigned or en route to a specialized unit that performs those duties. For others, it’s about gaining a sense of accomplishment and/or getting a shiny merit badge.