B5 Systems

The 6-Color And Night Desert Uniform Trials

This photo, from the ‘Desert Lab’ article in the May 1976 issue of ‘SOLDIERS’ magazine depicts Mr William Wright wearing the 6-Color Desert Camouflage uniform.  He was the head of the Clothing Equipment and Materials Engineering Laboratory at Natick and can be seen talking to a member of the 3rd ACR at Fort Bliss, Texas during the camouflage evaluation.  The Soldier is wearing the Parka in the Night Desert Pattern which was optimized to confuse night vision systems.  It was paired with an over trouser.  The idea was that the items could be worn when the temperatures dropped during the night.  

The 6-Color Pattern was optimized for use in the American Southwest and was replaced during Operation Desert Storm by the 3-Color Desert Pattern.  During the test, members of the ‘Brave Rifles’ also tried out prototype Meals, Ready-to-Eat.

Tags: ,

30 Responses to “The 6-Color And Night Desert Uniform Trials”

  1. Matt says:

    I still have a set of the “chocolate chip” desert uniforms

  2. Tom says:

    I wore both of those uniforms in Desert Shield and Desert Storm. I still have a couple sets of the chocolate chips and the boonie hat. Don’t know what happened to my night desert parka though.

  3. SN says:

    I still have one set of the Chocolate Chips, and the over jacket.

  4. Airborne_fister says:

    Prototypes or MRE’s. Are the/were they better or worse then the new MRE’s?

    • Doug says:

      Well, the earliest one I remember was a dehydrated pork patty. Also, later there was omelet with ham. So my answer to your question would be “worse” 🙂

    • Craig says:

      They were, without a doubt, DEFINITELY, Definitely worse!

      At the other end of the spectrum was/were the “Arctic” MRE’s in the white bag.
      The “Raspberry Soup”…Oh my God, SO good!

      • Riceball says:

        I remember those cold weather MREs, pretty good stuff although every meal seemed to be breakfast. I liked the oatmeal and it amazed me how it seemed to have this ability to endlessly absorb water. I remember pouring water and getting it to the consistency that I wanted, then within a minute or so it would start thickening up, so I’d pour more water, then after another minute or so the same thing would happen, and so I’d pour water again and I’d keep on repeating until I was done eating it.

    • straps says:

      I was in for the first generation of MRE. I would say the “edibility” ratio of he current generation of MRE menu is better, though I miss the dehydrated Pork Patty and Strawberries.

      I remember when you were a fool if you didn’t have a few cans of “Underworld” Deviled Ham in your ruck for those days when you missed the ration drop and all that was left was the Blue Falcon Ham Chunk, which you couldn’t get warm enough to make palatable. I’d eat the Omelet if I was hungry enough but that Ham Slice? Pass.

  5. Greg says:

    I always liked the look of the night desert pattern, didn’t realize it dated back into the 70s though.

  6. LOVE the NDP and still effective today as it was back in the day. No IR dyes to worry about washing away with the wrong detergent, great for knocking out silhouettes with or without NODS….It’s a true PATTERN with no “additives” vs. today’s current blends. Not saying today’s patterns are not effective with the IR, it’s just the original NDP was way ahead of it’s time.

    • BillC says:

      Um, it was my understanding it was less effective than the “day” desert patterns of the era.

      • Graf von Knackwurst says:

        yeah no, that’s simply not true.

      • rnw says:

        Instead of spoofing NVD’s, the grids blended into one another and turned NDP into a solid black green uniform. Black shows up very nicely on light intensifiers. White surprisingly isn’t a bad camo against Gen 1 NVD’s

  7. redbeard33 says:

    Love the NDP -it is very effective. Mine is a cotton anorak.

  8. CAVstrong says:

    Anyword on OCP bookends?

  9. Graf von Knackwurst says:

    Anybody know what that is in the background?

  10. Miclo18d says:

    My LRS detachment took the NDP parkas and added jute to the back and made quasi-ghillie suits out of them. Very effective for surveillance ops. Used as sort of a smock that covered your LBE and changed your “shape”.

  11. Strike-Hold says:

    We were issued both of those on our Sinai deployment in 1986. The parka definitely came in handy during the cold windy nights in October and November over there. We never bothered to use the trousers though. Both the parka and over-trousers were the exact same design / cut as the Arctic Parka and snow over-whites system that we used up in Alaska too.

    By the way, I’ve heard / read several stories about folks actually testing that Night Desert Pattern with captured Iraqi NVDs and discovering that the pattern was actually MORE visible through them. Can anyone confirm?

    SSD – time for “The Pentagon Wars, Part II: Camo Conundrum” isn’t it? 😉

    • straps says:

      Bingo. 6-color was designed around the rocky desert of the Sinai region, which we thought at the time was going to be the priority of effort in the ME.

  12. majrod says:

    The night camouflage was so effective the command (3rd Armored) put a stop to them being worn in training. Got tired of running over people with night vision equipped vehicles.

    When we used them in Iraq they were very effective. The downside was having to don a different uniform every 12 hours or so. Did take the desert night chill off though.