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Just In Case You Don’t Think Pinks And Greens Are Happening

Thursday, January 11th, 2018

PEO Soldier recently published this informational piece on the the US Army’s proposed Pinks and Greens uniform. A lot of work is being put into this effort.

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Photo by PEO Soldier’s Ron Lee.

What is it?

Pink and Green Uniform is the service uniform from the World War II era. Army officers wore the Pink and Green Uniform from the early 1930s to the early 1950s. It is widely recognized as the best dress uniform the Army has ever fielded.

This uniform will be made from great fabrics and tailored for each Soldier, featuring quality construction and a classic, proven design. New eco-friendly textile production processes will be utilized for the first time in the U.S. through this project.

What is the Army doing?

In 2018, the Army could return to its iconic WWII-era uniform which could become the everyday business-wear uniform for all Soldiers. This would replace the current Army Service Uniform, which would be used as a more formal dress uniform.

Based on Sergeant Major of the Army’s interest and his belief that the uniform would reconnect today’s Soldier with the history of the Army, an exclusive Army Times survey was sent out to its readers. The survey received a favorable response from more than 70 percent of the Soldiers supporting the return of the historic World War II uniform.

Taking advantage of upgrades in fabric technology, the Army has developed design options, sketches and prototype uniforms to support the Army’s decision-making process. This was done in collaboration with the Center for Military History, the Army’s industry partners and the Reserve Officer Training Corps program at Texas A&M University, whose cadets have historically worn a pinks and greens-type of uniform.

Initial prototypes have been demonstrated on live Soldier models to Army leadership and the media in various venues, including at the Association of the United States Army convention and the Army-Navy football game where feedback was instantaneous and positive.

What continued efforts does the Army have planned for the future?

In order to maximize the positive interest in this new uniform, the Army has planned key engagements to assist with a possible design decision and introduction of the Pink and Green Uniform to the Army workforce:

-Limited User Evaluation with 150 Soldiers from the New England Recruiting Battalion
-Traveling historical exhibit of the Pink and Green Uniform at Army Installations and other public events
-Interviews/video/digital images of Soldiers supporting evaluations
-Based on Soldier feedback the Army will make a decision in 2018.

Why is this important to the Army?

The reintroduction of this uniform is an effort to create a deeper understanding of, and connection to the Army in communities where awareness of the Total Army needs to increase. The Army believes this high-quality uniform will strengthen pride, bolster recruiting and enhance readiness.

Resources:

PEO Soldier
U.S. Army Uniforms and Symbols

Related video:

Sgt. Maj. of the Army talks Pink & Green

BG Cummings Says Goodbye To PEO Soldier

Thursday, January 4th, 2018

“I take great pride in knowing I served with you. The most important thing I can do is say, ‘thanks.’ It’s been a wonderful three years.”

BG Brian P. Cummings said good-bye to his headquarters staff.

BG Cummings was selected earlier this year for promotion to Major General. His next assignment is PEO Ground Combat Systems.

SMA Dailey Talks Pinks and Greens

Wednesday, December 27th, 2017

In this video by PEO Soldier’s Ron Lee, Sergeant Major of the Army Dan Dailey discusses the proposed Pinks and Greens service dress uniform.

SMA Dailey At Army/Navy Game In Prototype Pinks and Greens

Monday, December 11th, 2017

You’re looking at the best leadership team the US Army has had in quite some time.

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Army Chief of Staff Mark Milley is seen with Sergeant Major of the Army Dan Dailey during Saturday’s Army/Navy Game. SMA Dailey is wearing a prototype ‘Pinks and Greens’ service dress uniform which he was recently fitted for by a team from PEO Soldier.

The uniform is referred to as ‘Pinks and Greens’ because it is inspired by an iconic World War Two-era dress uniform. This modernized version is available in male and female versions. If it is adopted, there’s even talk of an optional wear leather A-2 flight jacket.

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Update: Here are a few more photos from PEO Soldier.

PEO Soldier Provides Update On Jungle Combat Boot and Improved Hot Weather Combat Uniform

Friday, December 8th, 2017

Yesterday, the US Army’s Program Executive Officer Soldier, responsible for the development, procurement, and lifecycle management of weapons and equipment used by the individual Soldier, hosted a media round table to update us on the Jungle Combat Boot (ver 2) and Improved Hot Weather Combat Uniform. These two pieces of vital clothing are intended for use in a hot, wet environment.

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Providing the update was COL Stephen Thomas, Product Manager, Soldier Protection and Individual Equipment; LTC Jonathan Allen, Product Manager Soldier Clothing and Individual Equipment; and CPT Dan Ferenczy SCIE Assistant Product Manager, Environmental Clothing and Footwear. Both COL Thomas and LTC Allen came on board over the Summer while CPT Ferenczy has been working on this project for about a year.

COL Thomas kicked off the event with a brief overview of PM SPIE. He was followed by LTC Allen who brings a lot of energy to PM SCIE, which he refers to as the “Varsity Team” of PEO Soldier. He wanted to thank everyone who got them to where they are today in this project, Army and industry alike.

Jungle Combat Boot
Current issue boots are less than optimal for wear in the jungle. They lack puncture protection and feature additional layers for comfort which retain moisture. Initially, the Army evaluated Commercially available boots but found that they didn’t dry quickly and lacked drainage and traction in mud and didn’t shed excess mud.

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Intended for use in a tropical, or hot wet environment, the Jungle Combat Boot has been a fast tracked acquisition. Within six months of the directed requirement being issued, the Army had taken delivery of the initial generation of boots and was fielding them to two Brigade Combat Teams in the 25th Infantry Division.

Fielding of an initial capability was so fast because readiness is the Army’s number one priority. However, the PM SCIE team has relied heavily on Soldier feedback to refine the requirement. For example, Soldiers want a boot that is more flexible, lighter weight and has a less thick sole than those initially fielded. The version 2 JCBs will also dry an hour faster than currently issued boots and feature a puncture resistant sole incorporating material which resists 200 lbs sq in of force. This will not only protect from thorns but also man made threats such as the “punji stakes” used in Vietnam.

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PM SCIE is currently working with industry to conduct a wear test of a Gen 2 boot incorporating changes in 2nd Quarter FY18. In alphabetical order, the vendors are Altama, Bates, Belleville, McRae and Rocky. Based on feedback next March, PM SCIE will combine the best attributes into a common requirement. However, boots will continue to be refined until Soldiers are satisfied.

When asked if the Army had been working with SOCOM and the Marine Corps, both of whom also have Jungle Boot requirements, LTC Allen answered that they had. He related that the Army, Marine Corps and SOCOM teams work regularly together, sharing information. But, while the overall objective is a common boot for all services there are different requirements. For example, Marines prefer a 6-8″ tall boot, whereas Soldiers desire a taller boot.

Improved Hot Weather Combat Uniform
The IHWCU is intended as an alternative for the Army Combat Uniform for wesr in jungle environments. While the two uniforms share the Army’s Operational Camouflage Pattern, the design and fabric are both different.

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The overall layout of the uniform is the most obvious difference. CPT Ferenczy said that they had also incorporated a quick dry fabric and long with general performance improvements. Overall, there are fewer layers and seams.

Jacket Improvements
No mandarin collar
Old style shoulder pockets with buttons
No breast pockets

Trouser Improvements
No rear pockets
Gussetted crotch
Articulated knee
Mesh ankle wrap

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Aside from the fabric improvement, there are five major features on this uniform I’d like to point out. First, the lack of both chest and rear pockets. Second, the return to a more traditional, vertically oriented, button flapped shoulder pocket. Third, the reverse rake on the trouser cargo pockets, with the front of the pocket and flap being higher than the rear. Fourth, the introduction of a gusseted or diamond crutch for increased mobility and to reduce blowouts. Finally, the incorporation of the mesh ankle wrap. This feature has been quite popular and works like a gaiter to protect the Soldier’s legs from bugs and other pests when the trousers aren’t bloused due to heat and drainage concerns.

While the goal has been to reduce the amount of fabric on the garment, I’m surprised they’ve retained the lower leg pockets which don’t seem to offer much capability considering they will constantly catch on vegetation and fill with water. I’m also curious if any of these features will find their way over to the ACU.

Fabric
The current fabric being used for the IHWCU is a 5.7 oz, 57/43 NYCO blend by Invista. According to CPT Ferenczi, this new fabric also offers improved air permeability (breathability) of 70cfm versus the 30cfm of the ACU’s 50/50 NYCO. Thanks to the new fabric and design, the IHWCU boasts a 30 min faster dry time over the current 90 minutes for the ACU.

However, the Army is preparing to conduct a lab test of new hot weather fabrics and based on what they find, they plan to conduct an additional wear test of promising fabrics later this year.

When You’ll See Them
According to LTC Allen, 65,000 sets of the IHWCU are currently in production. In January, they plan to issue four uniforms and one pair of boots each to soldiers in one Hawaii-based battalion of the 25th ID.

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Unless you’re in one of the test units at the 25th ID, there’s no word yet in when you’ll be issued the IHWCU and JCBs. The Army is still at least a year out from a final decision and hasn’t decided if these will become Clothing Bag items, common to all Soldiers or issued at CIF as Organizational Clothing and Individual Equipment.

PEO Soldier photos by Ronald T Lee.

101st Begins Fielding of XM17 Modular Handgun System

Thursday, November 30th, 2017

Late last week, the US Army’s 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) at Fort Campbell, Kentucky, received the first of over 2000 new XM17 Modular Handgun Systems, making them the First Unit Equipped with this capability. Division commander, MG Andrew P. Poppas commented, “this is another 101st, first.” MHS consists of the XM17 and XM18 compact pistols as well as XM1152 Ball and M1153 Jacketed Hollow Point (Special Purpose) ammunition.

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To learn about this initial fielding, which occurred just 10 months after contract award, I was invited to Program Executive Officer Soldier at Fort Belvoir, Virginia. On hand was LTC Steven Power, Product Manager Individual Weapons, Project Manager Soldier Weapons, located at Picatinny Arsenal, New Jersey.

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Mr Daryl Easlick of the Maneuver Center of Excellence Lethality Branch discussed the history of the MHS requirement which dates back to 2008 as an Air Force requirement for a Non-Developmental Item handgun. The Army adopted responsibility for the M9 handgun replacement because of life cycle concerns. They also wanted improvements in ergonomics, safety, and integration of accessories via a rail along with integrated night sights. All of these improvements would have been extremely difficult to make happen with the M9 platform. The answer was a new pistol which coalesced as the Modular Handgun System requirement.

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Mr Tom Taylor and Steve Rose of M17 manufacturer, SIG SAUER, were also on hand to provide supporting information. The MHS is manufactured in their factories in New Hampshire. They’ve teamed with Winchester is the largest provider of small caliber ammunition to the US Government. Despite the open caliber nature of the MHS solicitation, MHS is a 9mm weapon, which falls in line with FBI studies. Winchester’s Mr Glen Weeks says that the new ammunition is 25% more lethal than previous ammo. The so-called Special Purpose round is a Jacketed Hollow Point, based on already available ammunition and features a 147 grain projectile. The ball ammo offers a 115 grain projectile.

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Above, you see a Safariland holster which is a component of MHS. It offers several mounting options and is commercially available. However, it’s important to note that this is an interim solution which will be fielded with all of the Low Rate Initial Production MHS, which is limited to just 10 percent of the total procurement. According to Ms Sequena Robinson, Product Officer, Product Manager Soldier Clothing and Individual Equipment, at PEO Soldier, they should have fininshed source selection on a new holster system to support MHS by the time it moves to Full Material Release. PM SCIE, has worked closely with PM SW to offer the holster component of the MHS.

LTC Power was reticent to discuss the full fielding schedule. Not because of delays. To the contrary, the Army is looking at ways to speed up the fielding. Not just this program, but across the board. In fact, MHS was sped up by 18 months. In just 10 months, Both Army and SIG got a lot done. SIG had to produce pistols in the exact configuration the Army planned to purchase and two iterations of testing, all before an actual purchase contract was awarded. Then, they required additional testing of production guns which had to be produced in a new secure area in their factory. Winchester had to accomplish the same things for the new ammunition as well.

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SFC Andrew Flynn serves as the 101st Division Master Gunner. He is responsible for the Division’s small arms and in particular the roll out of MHS. His comments on the pistol were that it is an “excellent weapon. Soldiers will be able to transition to it with no trouble.” LTC Power also mentioned that the consistent trigger pull of the MHS aids in familiarity and decreases training time.

With fielding of MHS, Infantry team leaders and above will now wield dual weapon systems; both carbine and pistol. The concept is that, due to increased capability, the pistol is now an offensive weapon, day or night. 1LT Andrew Borer and CPL Jory Herrmann of C Co, 1st Bn, 506th Inf Regt, 1st BCT, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) were in the range during the initial fielding. Both were confident that MHS makes them more lethal. Interestingly, this significant Basis of Issue change was possible because of cost savings compared to the legacy M9 program.

According to Division Master Gunner SFC Flynn, they have identified a requirement to train its Soldiers who are dual armed, transition techniques. MCOE’s Mr Easlick commented that they are using lessons learned from SOF elements like the 75th Ranger Regt and Special Forces Groups. However, the Army’s intent is not to provide both pistol and carbine for all Soldiers. Mr Easlock mentioned that while every Soldier who closes with the enemy could benefit from a pistol and carbine, balancing training and resource requirements led them to this current course of action. However, the Army continually assesses its basis of issue for all equipment.

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The Soldiers of the 101st like the modularity aspects of the pistol. Particularly, the ability to change the grip. On the range some swapped their grips from the standard Medium version in order to be more comfortable and consequently, more lethal. However, based in glove sizes within the Army, most Soldiers will likely stick with the Medium grip.

LTC Power addressed questions regarding concerns over SIG’s civilian P320 firing when dropped. He said that the XM17 incorprates components which prevent that flaw and that the Army’s test protocols are more stringent than law enforcement testing. In fact, according to LTC Power, who witnessed Army testing, the XM17 did not exhibit this flaw at all.

Integration across program offices to support MHS has been excellent. It is a system and the Army plans to increase its capability. I’ve already mentioned the holster and ammo pouches coming out of PM SCIE. But the Army has an unfulfilled requirement to suppress MHS. Additionally, they are working through the Soldier Enhancement Program to field a Pistol Aiming Laser. Finally, MHS slides are pre-cut and feature mounting plates for red dot optics. This is an upgrade capability that hasn’t even been addressed yet.

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In addition to the 101st, other units on Ft Campbell, such as Criminal Investigation Division, are also fielding MHS. In the case of CID, it is the XM18 which features a smaller frame.

The next fielding of MHS is with 1st Security Force Assistance Brigade at Fort Benning, Georgia. Ultimately, the Army has a requirement to field over 238,000 MHS.

US Army photos by SGT Samantha Stoffregen, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) Public Affairs

SMA Dailey Gets Fitted for ‘Pink and Green’ Uniform

Friday, November 3rd, 2017

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Members of PEO Soldier’s PdM Soldier Clothing and Individual Equipment and the SPIE Public Affairs Officer staff met with the Sergeant Major of the Army (SMA) at the Pentagon today to fit him for the proposed Pink & Green uniform.

During AUSA we, here at SSD, showed you prototypes of this proposed dress uniform which is inspired by the World War Two-era Pink amd Green, so named due to the underlying hue of the two-tone jacket and trousers.

Look for an interview with SMA Dailey by the PEO Soldier PAO team soon which will discuss the uniform.

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SMA ofdice photos by PEO Soldier.

PEO Soldier Tests Modular Scalable Vest at Fort Carson

Monday, October 30th, 2017

FORT CARSON, Colo – Soldiers with the 71st Ordnance Group (Explosive Ordnance Disposal) and 10th Chemical Hazardous Response Company participated in the final round of field-testing for the Army’s new body armor, the Modular Scalable Vest (MSV), during a weeklong series of evaluated tasks conducted here Oct. 16-20.


SPC Hannah Carver-Frey, a chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear specialist with 10th Chemical Hazardous Response Company, participates in the final round of field-testing for the Modular Scalable Vest (MSV) during a weeklong series of evaluated tasks at Fort Carson, CO, Oct. 18, 2017. Once this evaluation is complete, the vest will go into production and is expected to reach Soldiers in the field by summer of next year. (US Army Photo by SSG Lance Pounds, 71st Ordnance Group (EOD), Public Affairs)

According to the U.S. Army Acquisition Support Center’s website, the MSV is part of the Soldier Protection System (SPS) and is the Army’s next generation Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) system. The SPS is a modular, scalable, tailorable system designed to defeat current threats at a reduced weight in comparison to the Army’s existing PPE.


Damon Brant, a new equipment trainer from Project Manager Soldier Protection Individual Equipment at Prince George, VA, ensures the proper wear and use of a new body armor system by SPC Creed Cooney, an explosive ordnance disposal technician with 62nd Ordnance Company, during a weeklong field-test of the Modular Scalable Vest (MSV) at Fort Carson, CO, Oct. 18, 2017. Following the field-test, the vest will go into production and is expected to reach Soldiers in the field by summer of next year. (US Army photo by SSG Lance Pounds, 71st Ordnance Group (EOD), Public Affairs)

Stephen McNair, test manager for Project Manager Soldier Protection Individual Equipment (PM SPIE), a division of Program Executive Officer Soldier (PEO Soldier) at Fort Belvoir, was on-site to observe as Soldiers conducted an obstacle course, weapons training, don and doffing procedures, tactical vehicle access capabilities, and a ruck march.


Soldiers with in the 71st Ordnance Group (Explosive Ordnance Disposal) and 10th Chemical Hazardous Response Company participate in the final round of field-testing for the Modular Scalable Vest (MSV) during a weeklong series of evaluated tasks at Fort Carson, CO, Oct. 18, 2017. Once this evaluation is complete, the vest will go into production and is expected to reach Soldiers in the field by summer of next year. (US Army photo by SSG Lance Pounds, 71st Ordnance Group (EOD), Public Affairs)

“We have been working on this vest for the past five years and have since have gone through four versions of the vest and an additional two versions of the Soldier plate carrier system,” said McNair.

McNair said once the evaluation is complete, the vest will go into production and is expected to reach Soldiers in the field by summer of next year.


1LT Dawn Ward, a platoon leader with 663rd Ordnance Company and evaluation officer in charge, participates in the final round of field-testing for the Modular Scalable Vest (MSV) during a weeklong series of evaluated tasks at Fort Carson, CO, Oct. 18, 2017. Once this evaluation is complete, the vest will go into production and is expected to reach Soldiers in the field by summer of next year. (US Army photo by SSG Lance Pounds, 71st Ordnance Group (EOD), Public Affairs)

Debuting in 2008, the Improved Outer Tactical Vest’s modular design was carried over and improved upon for the MSV. Most of the pouch attachment ladder system (PALS) have been replaced with a rubber-like material with laser-cut slots. The improvement still allows Soldiers to affix mission essential gear to the vest, while reducing overall weight.

The MSV weighs approximately 11-pounds, based on a medium size vest without ballistic plates. Fully configured, the MSV weighs approximately 25-pounds, which is five pounds lighter than the IOTV.


Michael Spencer, a new equipment trainer from Project Manager Soldier Protection Individual Equipment at Fort Bragg, NC, demonstrates how the Modular Scalable Vest (MSV) can be separated into different configurations, during the final round of field-testing of the vest at Fort Carson, CO, Oct. 18, 2017. Once this evaluation is complete, the vest will go into production and is expected to reach Soldiers in the field by summer of next year. (US Army photo by SSG. Lance Pounds, 71st Ordnance Group (EOD), Public Affairs)

McNair said the big push to design a new body armor was based on “cutting down on the weight of a Soldier’s load.”

Many of the testers said the MSV was noticeably lighter than their current body armor.

“Compared to my IOTV, this vest is lighter and cooler, has a greater range of motion, and a better fit,” said 1st Lt. Dawn Ward, a platoon leader with 663rd Ordnance Company and officer in charge during the evaluation.

“It is a huge improvement over previous body armors,” Ward said.


Michael Spencer, a new equipment trainer from Project Manager Soldier Protection Individual Equipment at Fort Bragg, NC, demonstrates how to transfer ballistic plates from the Modular Scalable Vest (MSV) to a plate carrier configuration enclosed within the MSV, during the final round of field-testing of the vest at Fort Carson, CO, Oct. 18, 2017. Once this evaluation is complete, the vest will go into production and is expected to reach Soldiers in the field by summer of next year. (US Army photo by SSG Lance Pounds, 71st Ordnance Group (EOD), Public Affairs)

In addition to saving weight, the MSV is scalable, which was made possible by a four-tier configuration. The tier system will allow the wearer to tailor the vest to better fit mission requirements.

The first tier enables the wearer to pull out the inside soft armor to be used as concealable body armor. The second tier is the soft armor with plates. The third tier is the vest with ballistic plates and soft armor.

The final tier is the addition of a ballistic combat shirt that has built -in neck, shoulder and pelvic protection and a belt system designed to relocate much of what Soldiers affix to their vest to their hips.


(Graphic credit: PEO Soldier)

Spc. Isaac Bocanegra, an EOD technician with 764th OD CO, said he prefers the MSV’s ballistic combat shirt over the IOTV’s yoke and collar set up because it gives him more range of motion.

“I currently wear the IOTV about twice each day and it is quite a bit heavier than this body armor,” said Bocanegra. “Having this new body armor would make my job so much easier,” he added.

McNair said the premise of the tier system is to evenly distribute the system’s weight and reduces stress on a Soldier’s upper body.

“It will be up to unit leadership to determine the level of protection required for wear,” said McNair.

The MSV retained the quick-release feature first used in the IOTV to allow for easy removal in emergency situations, but with a simpler and interchangeable design. Instead of a single pull-tab, the MSV has a buckle system that can be used in one of three ways; left shoulder, right shoulder, or both depending on the wearer’s preference.

Extended sizing options allow the MSV to be tailorable and more accommodating to most Soldier body types.

“The extended range allows Soldiers to be more comfortable while performing tasks with greater ease,” said McNair.

“I have an extra-small because it positions the plates where I need them to be and it has a tighter fit for me,” said Spc. Hannah Carver-Frey, a chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear specialist with 10th Chemical Hazardous Response Company.

In addition to developing the lighter weight body armor, McNair said that developers at PEO Soldier are also working on an improved protective helmet system. It too, will be lighter than current protective helmets and capable of stopping certain 7.62 rounds.

For more information about the MSV body armor, visit the U.S. Army Acquisition Support Center’s website at asc.army.mil/web/portfolio-item/soldier-protection-system-sps

For more information about the future of Soldier protective equipment, visit the PEO Soldier’s website at www.peosoldier.army.mil.

This article was written by SSG Lance Pounds and shared via the Army News Service.