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Field Jacket – a Eulogy

Don’t expect to see a tear filled goodbye to the Field Jacket from me. Instead I am jumping for joy. Starting in FY09 the Army will cease fielding the M-65 Field jacket. Instead, each Soldier will be issued a Gen II ECWCS (Extreme Cold Weather Clothing System) parka in UCP (Universal Camouflage Pattern) and it will be transferred as an OCIE item with the Soldier from assignment to assignment much like the laundry bag.

It amazes me to see so many still wearing the venerable M-65. The basic design for the M-65 hails from WW II and remained relatively unchanged over the years. Soldiers wore the M-43 Field Coat during their march to Berlin. Over the years there were small changes like a redesigned collar or the introduction of Quarpel (Quartermaster Water Repellent), the precursor to today’s DWR treatments. In the 80s the Field Jacket was transformed from OD Green to Woodland Camo but the basic design didn’t change. Later a 3-Color Desert variant was issued as Organizational Clothing for operations in the CENTCOM AOR. Finally, when the ACU was fielded the Field Jacket saw its latest change. The pattern was changed to UCP and velcro was added to the sleeves for shoulder sleeve insignia and to the zipper flap for rank.

Its replacement, the Army version of the Gen II ECWCS parka is also in UCP and began its life as a Marine Corps garment. The Marine Corps wanted a replacement for the first generation of ECWCS which featured out dated design features. The Marine Corps has moved on to an even more improved version of the garment called APECS (All Purpose Environmental Clothing System). The USAF has also adopted APECS in conjunction with their switch to the ABU.
ACU Field JacketUCP Gen II ECWCS

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