Well, this has been an interesting week in the surreal universe of US military camouflage.
First up this week was Soldier Systems Daily reporting that, contrary to the rumor that was generally agreed to be true, the Secretary of the Army would NOT be announcing today the results of the US Army’s massive camouflage improvement initiative. The fact that this was hot on the heels of yet another Congressional intervention into this sorry state of affairs led some to believe that the delayed / lack of an announcement was perhaps caused by Congress – although the Secretary of the Army’s rationale appears to be all about budgeting and his concerns about the possible negative PR ramifications of announcing a new program during a time of spending cuts. Meanwhile of course the very real negative PR ramifications of doing nothing get ever louder…Paratroopers from the 82nd Airborne Division demonstrate the superiority of American camouflage technology to their Indonesian counter-parts during a recent exercise.
The fact that Congress is so interested in what type and color of camouflage patterns our Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Marines are wearing on their backs speaks volumes about how FUBAR and farcical this situation has become.
Venturing even further into the outer limits of reality was the article from US News & World Report in which the Secretary of the Navy expressed his own amazement at the number of different camouflage patterns authorized for wear by US Navy personnel. He particularly singled out the so-called “blueberries” camo uniform for criticism. The article is a good read – we highly recommend it. As a footnote, the Navy also announced at the end of last month that it was adding fire-resistant coveralls to sailors’ sea-bags because they have apparently only just discovered that the infamous “blueberries” are also rather flammable.
But we’ve saved the best for last – and this really will make you think you’ve passed through the wormhole and into an alternative universe. Time.com’s Battleland column published a piece last month, appropriately entitled “Uniform Insanity”, in which an anonymous Airman details his / her adventures in uniform procurement for duty in Afghanistan. That story will really leave you shaking your head in disbelief, check it out: “Thoughts of a Military Fashion Victim.”
Meanwhile, it looks like we’ll have to now wait until October to see the official announcement of the Army’s choice of new family of camouflage patterns. And when we do, I predict that it will rhyme with MultiCam, and that it will also be announced that ALL branches of the services will be phasing it in – along with a new common ground combat uniform.