It’s been a month since the SMA announced changes to the wear policy of the ACU. By now Soldiers have begun to have their BOS and Name tapes as well as skill badges sewn on their ACUs. For much of the Army, BDUs are either a distant memory or something they have heard about but never worn. Putting the camouflage pattern aside, the ACU is a pretty good uniform overall. Somehow, they forgot how to properly construct a crotch, but other than that it is an improvement on the BDU. The concept of attaching patches with Velcro was inspired by SOF but made sense for two reasons. First, the uniform could be sanitized for combat use and second, it would save the Soldier money. It’s not cheap to purchase all of those patches and have them sewn on to the uniform.
Now, Soldiers have gotten what they asked for. We have heard reports of sewing costs ranging from $20 to $79. Naturally, this depends on the number of ‘scare’ badges a Soldier has. Still, this is a bit expensive and rivals the cost of a completely new uniform. It seems that long gone are the days of $1 per patch.
The real question in all of this is; how long before we begin to hear the complaints from the field about these new costs associated with maintaining the ACU?