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Army Says Its Okay To Mix Camo Patterns This Winter

We told you that there’d be crossing of the streams while the transition to OCP occurred. The vast majority of environmental clothing systems in the field are in the old Universal Camouflage Pattern while Soldiers have flocked to the new hotness, the Operational Camouflage Pattern, authorized for wear just this summer. Unfortunately, the Army has yet to issue any environmental clothing in OCP. However, Many Soldiers have either ECWCS Gen III or FREE in MultiCam, a camouflage pattern purchased from Crye Precision by the military under the name Operation Enduring Freedom Camouflage Pattern. The Army’s new OCP is quite similar in color and shape to the OEF-CP it began purchasing in 2010.

At any rate, without cold weather clothing in the appropriate pattern, Soldiers will have two choices; freeze or clash. The Army has wisely chosen to allow authorize Soldiers to mix patterns, at least as it pertains to issued TA-50, or Organizational Clothung and Equipment.

Below is an Army News Service article that explains their decision. It also puts to bed a question that keeps coming up; which color flag to wear with the new ACU in OCP. The answer is full-color in Garrison and subdued while deployed, just like with the original ACU in UCP.

WASHINGTON (Army News Service, Nov. 30, 2015) — As winter weather approaches and temperatures drop, Soldiers turn to their cold-weather gear to keep warm outdoors while conducting training or operations.

Many Soldiers now wear their Army Combat Uniform, or ACU, in the new Operational Camouflage Pattern. But their organizational clothing and individual equipment, or OCIE, such as their wet-weather gear and their Extended Cold Weather Clothing System sport the Universal Camouflage Pattern, or UCP.

Soldiers don’t need to freeze so as to avoid a uniform faux pas, however, the Army wants Soldiers to know that it’s okay to wear the foliage green fleece cold-weather jacket and other UCP cold-weather gear on top of their new Operational Camouflage Pattern uniform.

“Soldiers should continue to use the equipment they have been provided to remain safe and warm in environments that call for it,” said Sgt. Maj. Eva M. Commons, uniform policy sergeant major, Army G-1. “This is why the Army gives you this gear to wear.”

Cold-weather gear is not part of the “clothing bag” issued to Soldiers during basic training. Instead, Soldiers get items like the fleece cold-weather jacket, the wind cold-weather jacket, the soft shell cold-weather jacket and trousers, or the extreme cold/wet-weather jacket and trousers from the clothing issue facility, or CIF, at their installation.

Commons said that no matter what ACU Soldiers are wearing – the one in UCP pattern or the one in Operational Camouflage Pattern – they are allowed to wear the winter-weather gear that is issued by the CIF.

“Any item issued from CIF is permitted for wear,” she said. “There is no restriction based on camo pattern or color.”

The Army also has two different colored T-shirts available for wear under their ACU. There is the “sand-colored” T-shirt and the “Tan 499” T-shirt. Belts are also available in both of those colors. Boots are available in sand or coyote colors, as well.

The rule here, Commons said, is that when a Soldier is wearing the UCP ACU, he or she must wear the undershirt, belt and boots designed for wear with the UCP ACU. However, when Soldiers wear the Operational Camouflage Pattern ACU, they can wear “any combination” of boots, belt and T-shirt, in any of the available colors; the boots, belt, and t-shirt do not have to match each other.

Commons caveated that, however, by saying “both your left and right boot must be the same color.”

The Army, Commons said, has an inventory of items including belts, boots, T-shirts, uniforms, and cold- and wet-weather gear. Each of those items has a certain wear life on them. Items such as cold-weather jackets last a very, very long time, she said. Other items, such as T-shirts, can be worn for less than a year before they ought to be replaced.

The liberal policy for how uniform items can be mixed with the Operational Camouflage Pattern ACU allows the Soldiers more flexibility in the wear of their uniform, and additionally allows more time for the Army to eventually get OCIE in the new Operational Camouflage Pattern.

“With all these different uniforms, we have to give the widest range of allowance to Soldiers to properly wear, and not have that come out of pocket,” she said. “It also allows the Army to make sure they have proper stock in issuing facilities to support demand.”

Commons said that Soldiers can continue to wear the UCP ACU until Sept. 30, 2019. After that, they must show up to work wearing the Operational Camouflage Pattern ACU.

Soldiers who are deploying or have an operational need are provided with OCIE items in the Operational Enduring Freedom Camouflage Pattern, also known as OEF-CP.

“Deployers will never go without,” Commons said. “The Army will ensure Soldiers get the appropriate equipment for their mission.”

The Army has been issuing the pattern to those deploying for some years and will continue to do so until the transition to Operational Camouflage Pattern.

It will be some years before UCP OCIE is exhausted and is replaced with Operational Camouflage Pattern OCIE because the items are “quite durable,” Commons said.

Commons also said some Soldiers had expressed confusion about what camouflage pattern the name and service tapes should be in on their UCP-colored fleece jacket. She said the name and service tape pattern should match the color of the fleece jacket, not the pattern of the ACU the Soldier is wearing underneath.


Commons said that for some time, the OEF-CP was worn only in Afghanistan. And while deployed to Afghanistan, the rule was to wear the tactical subdued American flag patch on the right sleeve.

“Soldiers had only seen the subdued patch on that uniform, so they assumed that is the only patch allowed with that uniform,” Commons said.

But that is not the case.

According to AR 670-1, paragraph 21-18, “All Soldiers will wear the full-color U.S. flag embroidered insignia on utility and organizational uniforms, unless deployed or in a field environment.”

Commons said that the OEF-CP ACU, and the Operational Camouflage Pattern ACU can, and should be, worn with the full-color American flag while in garrison. Soldiers should wear the subdued flag patch on those uniforms while deployed, or in a field environment.

First sergeants, she said, will let Soldiers know when they are going to be in a field environment, and what the uniform requirements will be.

36 Responses to “Army Says Its Okay To Mix Camo Patterns This Winter”

  1. I continued to use my woodland issuance in conjunction with my UCP uniform, much to the chagrin of my 1SG.

  2. orly? says:

    Function, fashion, or uniformity?

    Let’s get more complicated.

  3. Jambo says:

    I still wonder if they are going to dye ucp ta-50 or replace it. I wonder how much 1SG ocd will be triggered by this. Whatever the case, it will be fun to look at from a distance.

    • Eddie says:

      The Army will be damned if they’re going to look like Marines. REPLACEMENTS ALL THE WAY.

      • I thought they issued and RFP for dyeing processes for TA50 awhile back? I honestly don’t remember though.

        • AbnMedOps says:

          Yes, an RFP was issued…but that kinda stuff takes awhile. If any contract is issued, it might take effect in about 2019, with dye work performed a few weeks before the mandatory wear-out date of UCP.

          Kinda like how, after decades of killing soldiers in roll-over accidents, the old M-151 jeeps had roll cages and seatbelts installed around 1985, just before they were all scrapped.

        • Joe says:

          Crickets, probably because it just isn’t worth it.

          Iraqis got our DCU’s, Afghans got BDU’s before Hypersteath, anyone’s guess as to who inherets UCP ACU’s.

          • Eric says:

            Iraqis, Kurds, Syrians, maybe Ukraine.

            • joe says:

              Ukraine has it bad enough as it is, but maybe UCP would blend with the rubble in urban areas.

              Beggers/choosers and all that.

              Maybe supply it to IS for easier target identification?

              And lastly per the overdye, if we can get enough OEF-CP/OCP gear for deployment, then the stocks of UCP can be used for garrison/field exercises, or maybe OPFOR at NTC/JRTC etc.

              Besides, it’s good for new soldiers to be able to compare UCP to OCP, an example of how failure of leadership at the highest levels directly affects the warfighter, with zero accountability.

  4. Eddie says:

    Well, at least UCP has a good shot at blending in with Cold Weather environments. 😛 Not too big of an issue?

    • TCBA_Joe says:

      Everyone will be tripping over themselves to use multicam or scorpion ECWCS this winter, when UCP makes a great winter pattern.

      • Jon, OPT says:

        Wearing over white pants with woodland Gore Tex worked really well in the woods in Alaska. I’m thinking ACU level 7 bottoms with Multicam Level 7 RFI top might be similar.

  5. Tech says:

    Humorous thing to me is I’ve already seen people get corrected for wearing sand colored boots with the tan 499 t shirt in the new OCP uniforms.

    Big army may say mix and match is okay but I wonder how many battalion/brigade/division command teams are going to exercise their “you can add to but not take away from” abilities.

    • Diddler says:

      Only the dumb ones, so everyone.

    • Desert Lizard says:

      I’ve seen Soldier freezing at Fort Drum because of 1SGs being stubborn about their own uniform policies.

      • Desert Lizard says:


        • Jian Hong says:

          Jackass 1st Sgts and Sgts Maj like this need to be forced out. Apparently the SNCO academy provides PME on extreme cold and heat immunity, in addition on how to be a uniform nazi no common sense asshole.

          • straps says:

            Given the number of amberlances on the sidelines when USASMA conducts APFTs, SNCOs don’t seem immune to much…

    • straps says:

      I keep a copy of the ALARACT and SMA Dailey’s “Look dumbass, these are PITCHERS of all the permissible combinations” Powerpoint deck in my cargo pocket (along with my OPSEC, INFOSEC, EO, SHARP, Suicide and “Winter Holidays of the World” field refs) for when I overhear people trying to MSU.

      You think 1SGs are a PITA about his? I have a uniformity-fixated Full Bird in my sphere of concern whose response to Soldiers “freelancing” between UCP and OCP is, “OK, fine, you choose the uniform, I choose the headgear. Black berets all around.”

      Do these jokers have some sort of internet forum of their own for this stuff?

  6. Lasse says:

    Wait why is the US Army doing stuff that makes sense? This is probably the most groundbreaking news in 2015!

  7. Todd says:

    Seriously I have been out of the military for decades, and there was plenty of dumb stuff then, but how freaking hard is it to get this whole camo thing sorted out!

  8. Matt says:

    While I applaud the Army in making this decision, the fact is this decision should never have had to been made in the first place.

    One of the most basic tenants of an armed service is providing the proper clothing and gear to its soldiers. The fact that the Army is having such a problem is a bad sign. The movers and shakers in the echelons above reality, aka the brass and senate, are failing our soldiers.

    A common child of 16 would be more decisive than our horrible “leadership.”

    • Jon, OPT says:

      After Desert Storm 3ID was held stateside for 3 days of isolation… to get issued desert uniforms for their coming home parade.

      That was in the post Reagan, then Bush spending years. Funding is only part of it, foresight helps. The only thing slower than military logistics, is poorly planned military logistics.

  9. Big_Juju says:

    Someone please talk to my CSM about this.

  10. Mike says:

    We could build college campuses of every institute in America with all the bricks that will be collectively shat due to the issuance of this guidance.

    Frankly I love it! I ETS in less than two months and brace yourselves…. Winter is coming! Time enlarge print… No, I’m gonna get a Fat Head of this made big enough to post on an entire company area wall.

  11. Philip says:

    My brother told me that his BDE CSM told them at formation that he didn’t care what the memorandum states, everyone was wearing UCP ECWCS gear until OCP gear became available, for the sake of uniformity.

    • Jian Hong says:

      Stuff like this is why I despise the 1st Sgt/Sgt Maj mafia. I guess he never gets cold, douchebag

      • Philip says:

        He was super fired up about the OCPs too, got a set on launch day and had been wearing them with some regularity until it started getting cold and this happened.

        Meanwhile I’m sitting here in ABUs wondering when the heck we switch, or if we even get to…

        • Jian Hong says:

          As Marines we get issued the Happy Suit (coyote brown ECWCS) for deployment but for whatever reason douchebag SNCOs tell we can’t wear it, even when its freezing cold, I guess they don’t believe deserts can get cold.
          I was glad I was on a LP/OP away from the main FOB when I went to Afghanistan for the first time during the winter months. No SMAJ, and the Wpns Co 1st Sgt left us alone. It also helped our Staff Sgt in charge of our small detachment was cool as hell and didn’t care about uniformity while we were out there. We proudly wore our Happy Suits or fleece jackets while on guard post while all the posts at the main FOB had to be in “proper uniform”.

          If I were Army I’d jump on OCP too the minute I can wear it, UCP and the ABU both make me sick. I am a Marine that thinks we should all wear the same fucking pattern (that actually works) like we did in the past with Woodland. Its not that hard.