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  • ACU Changes Make Velcro Optional, Patrol Cap Default Headgear

    WASHINGTON (Army News Service, June 11, 2011) -- The voice of the Soldier has been heard: the Army announced the patrol cap will replace the black wool beret as the default headgear for the Army combat uniform.

    Also changing are the options for how Soldiers can attach certain items to their ACU shirts. Army Chief of Staff Martin E. Dempsey said Soldiers will soon be able to sew on name tapes, service tapes, rank insignia and skill badges, instead of using Velcro.

    The changes were made after Dempsey received input from Sergeant Major of the Army Raymond F. Chandler III, who had been tasked to gather opinions from Soldiers in the field.

    "I am a scout for General Dempsey, who asked me to look into everything a Soldier wears from the top of his head to the bottom of his feet," Chandler said. "These are changes that the field said they wanted to see."

    Typically, uniform changes come as a result of a board that meets twice a year. But Chandler said issues surrounding both the ACU headgear and the use of Velcro were changes the Army chief of staff wanted to bring to the Secretary of the Army immediately.

    Chandler said he spoke with "several thousand" Soldiers and also received comments via social media sites, like Facebook. "I have also discussed this with my board of directors -- the most senior sergeants major of our Army," Chandler said. Post-deployment combat uniform surveys were used as a basis for the changes.

    The No. 1 and No. 2 issues, Chandler said, involve the beret and Velcro.

    "The Soldiers didn't like the fact that the beret was hot -- it was not something that they wore the majority of the time," he said. "And they didn't like the fact it didn't shade the sun and it took two hands to put on. And they didn't like to carry two pieces of headgear to do different functions during the day."

    The beret has been the standard headgear for the Army's ACU -- the camouflage uniform worn by most Soldiers. But most Soldiers still needed to switch to the patrol cap based on the work they were doing -- in a motor pool or in the field, for instance.

    Those Soldiers would have to carry two pieces of headgear with them, one in each pocket, and switch depending on what they was doing. In the field, they put on the patrol cap. Back on base, they'd have to switch to the beret.

    The new policy will make the patrol cap the standard. But the beret isn't going anywhere. It will remain as the standard for the Army service uniform, and as an optional uniform item with the ACU -- at the discretion of commanders.

    "They could choose to say for an event, like change of command, that they want them to wear the beret," Chandler said.

    The change in the beret policy will save the Army about $6.5 million over the lifecycle of the ACU. New Soldiers had been issued two berets, now they will be issued one.

    Chandler pointed out that Soldiers didn't ask to eliminate the beret -- just to change when it's worn. "Soldiers said we don't want to wear it with this uniform ... but they do feel they look very professional wearing it with the Army service uniform," Chandler said.

    The Army implemented a mandatory wear date for the ACU in April 2008. The ACU, a replacement for the Battle Dress Uniform, featured many design changes. Included among those were a different cut for the fabric, new placement for pockets and a new "digital" color pattern. Also included were Velcro fasteners that allowed pockets to be sealed shut, sleeves to be cinched down, and rank insignia, name tapes, service tapes, patches and skill badges to be added and removed at will -- without time-consuming and sometimes costly trips to clothing alterations.

    Still, some Soldiers were displeased with Velcro on the uniform, Chandler said.

    The Army's new policy on attaching accouterments to the ACU will allow Soldiers to sew on rank insignia, the name tape and the service tape. Additionally, skill badges such as the Airborne, pathfinder, combat action, combat infantryman's, and expert infantryman's badge will also be authorized for sewing.

    Currently, those badges are provided in painted metal and have to be pinned to the uniform. Pinning badges to the uniform can be a lengthy process because they have to be aligned using a ruler. The new policy will allow Soldiers to sew those badges to the uniform.

    Combat and unit patches on the left and right sleeve and the U.S. flag will remain Velcro-only, the SMA said. Additionally, the ACU will continue to come with Velcro in the same locations it is now. Where a Soldier is authorized to sew something on, they will sew it on top of the Velcro.

    Chandler also said Soldiers had asked for changes to how cargo pockets are fastened. Velcro had been used -- now, ACUs are available with buttons used to keep the pockets closed. A similar change is being discussed for how sleeve cuffs are fastened, but Chandler said that decision will be made by the July uniform board.

    A more localized uniform decision will affect Soldiers assigned to the Army's headquarters at the Pentagon in Washington, D.C. There, Soldiers had been wearing the ACU as their daily uniform. By as early as October, those Soldiers will show up to work in the Army service uniform, Chandler said.

    "Our perspective is that this is the corporate part of the Army," he said. "The business-part of the Army is done in the Pentagon, and as a professional there are certain standards of attire associated with certain activities. For the business aspect of the Army, it is the Army service uniform."

    Implementation dates for the announced changes have not yet been decided. Soldiers should wait for direction from their commands before implementing any uniform changes.

  • #2
    Re: ACU Changes Make Velcro Optional, Patrol Cap Default Headgear

    Originally posted by Chris36 View Post

    The change in the beret policy will save the Army about $6.5 million over the lifecycle of the ACU.
    Well thats a start

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: ACU Changes Make Velcro Optional, Patrol Cap Default Headgear

      Until the uniform changes again in 2 years. But I think overall it's good idea and they finally listened. It's somewhat of a pain to pull your velcro off every time you wash the ACU and put it back on, as well as realigning the skill badges and such. Yet it's going to take them forever to create the skill badge sew on patches(airborne, air assault, CIB, etc)

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: ACU Changes Make Velcro Optional, Patrol Cap Default Headgear

        Originally posted by EOrsini View Post
        Yet it's going to take them forever to create the skill badge sew on patches(airborne, air assault, CIB, etc)
        Black marker.

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: ACU Changes Make Velcro Optional, Patrol Cap Default Headgear

          Remember this was the first intent



          Go to this thread and go to the comment by the person who made himself to be GEN Shinseki. Funny stuff

          http://kitup.military.com/2011/06/ar...hes-beret.html
          Last edited by Chief Kemosabe; June 13th, 2011, 11:42 AM.

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: ACU Changes Make Velcro Optional, Patrol Cap Default Headgear

            Fugly! Good riddance to the beret which has done nothing for the Army outside wearing it with class As.

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: ACU Changes Make Velcro Optional, Patrol Cap Default Headgear

              Still need to bring back the garrison cap along with khakis/chocolates/pinks/greens/whatever but then again, scaling back on beret usage is better than nothing.

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: ACU Changes Make Velcro Optional, Patrol Cap Default Headgear

                What about the Green Beret?

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: ACU Changes Make Velcro Optional, Patrol Cap Default Headgear

                  Elite units that wear the Airborne Maroon, Ranger Tan, or Special Forces Green berets will still have them, and wear them. If you read the article you will see that wear of berets with ACUs in general will be a Commanders policy decision. If your Commander wants the unit to wear ACUs and berets in garrison - then you will. So, options as to what type of headgear to wear and when will be a more local policy for some.

                  Normally elite units do what they have always done, even in light as to what the rest of the Army does.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: ACU Changes Make Velcro Optional, Patrol Cap Default Headgear

                    Originally posted by LRSU_Dog View Post
                    Normally elite units do what they have always done, even in light as to what the rest of the Army does.
                    These units are just misunderstood, with their common sense logic.

                    I have tried out many differant versions of the ACU pants over the past few months. From the Avaiator version to what I am using now. Its buttons, a zipper fly, and BDU waste side buckles with elastic also. The part I like the best is the crotch. The seams dont make a cross, its actually a diamond like a double seat, and eliminates ripping it out. I have also found a combat shirt, that has a half zipper front and a regular collar. That Turtle neck on the ACU combat shirt is not well thought out, and is the first thing cut out. Please see above before you start altering your uniforms and not allowed to use them.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: ACU Changes Make Velcro Optional, Patrol Cap Default Headgear

                      Originally posted by Phantom View Post
                      These units are just misunderstood, with their common sense logic.

                      I have tried out many differant versions of the ACU pants over the past few months. From the Avaiator version to what I am using now. Its buttons, a zipper fly, and BDU waste side buckles with elastic also. The part I like the best is the crotch. The seams dont make a cross, its actually a diamond like a double seat, and eliminates ripping it out. I have also found a combat shirt, that has a half zipper front and a regular collar. That Turtle neck on the ACU combat shirt is not well thought out, and is the first thing cut out. Please see above before you start altering your uniforms and not allowed to use them.
                      I've been rocking the aviator pants to get by... Where'd you get the ones you're wearing now? I'd like to try them out so I don't have the crazy scissor holder near my crotch lol

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: ACU Changes Make Velcro Optional, Patrol Cap Default Headgear

                        Wore my patrol cap today. I feel motivated. I could take on Russia.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: ACU Changes Make Velcro Optional, Patrol Cap Default Headgear

                          Originally posted by Teuvil View Post
                          Wore my patrol cap today. I feel motivated. I could take on Russia.
                          Thats the spirit!

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: ACU Changes Make Velcro Optional, Patrol Cap Default Headgear

                            Originally posted by Teuvil View Post
                            Wore my patrol cap today. I feel motivated. I could take on Russia.
                            Very funny. I just felt kind of "liberated" today when I am walking on post and not being reminded by SGMs where I need to wear the PC or the beret. Now its just the PC.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: ACU Changes Make Velcro Optional, Patrol Cap Default Headgear

                              Originally posted by SteveLord View Post
                              Fugly! Good riddance to the beret which has done nothing for the Army outside wearing it with class As.

                              Comment

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