Beginning on July 1, 2015 the Operational Camouflage Pattern (OCP) Army Combat Uniform will be available for purchase. This will begin the transition from the ACUs which have been available since 2007 to the new ACU pattern. The replacement ACU, which is similar in appearance to the multi-cam pattern used in Afghanistan, is based on the Scorpion design. As the days tick away to the official roll out date, there are many questions which are finally being answered.
When can the new uniform be worn?
According to an All Army Message released on June 1, 2015, the new uniform is available for purchase and wear beginning July 1st. This is part of a four year roll out period intended to reduce the financial burden on soldiers by enabling the period to run from July 1, 2015 to September 30, 2019. This means that three uniforms will be available for wear as of that date:
- The Army ACU with the gray and light green tones which has been used since 2007
- Fire resistant Multicam uniform used in Afghanistan since 2010
- The new OCP pattern
Can my command direct me to purchase this sooner or later?
Commanders will not have the authority to force soldiers to buy the equipment during the roll out period. This process will follow previously demonstrated roll outs from the BDU to the Universal Camouflage Pattern (UCP) ACU pattern. This means that some soldiers will be wearing different types of uniforms at the same time in the same formations.
Can I mix and match?
Yes and no. The uniform can be mixed and matched in some ways. As the new OCPs will include a darker coyote brown boot, t-shirt and belt, soldiers will eventually need to purchase these additions. Since the boots are not coming out until August at a minimum, soldiers will be able to wear the current tan belts, t-shirts, and boots with the OCP. This is good news during the wear out period, especially for those soldiers who need boots that are broken in. On the flip side, soldiers will be unable to wear the darker coyote brown accessories with the previous UCP ACUs.
When will it be available in my Army Clothing and Sales?
The roll out period is spread out over three months: July, September, and November 1st of this year. The process will take time as demand outweighs supply until enough stock is made available. Starting January, 2016 – new soldiers will begin receiving the UCP in their clothing bags upon initial entry.
Are there any final changes?
Yes in fact there are – the collar hook and pile tape has been removed and is now just a basic fold-down collar. The shoulder sleeve pockets will include a zipper, the drawstring in the trousers has been removed, the calf pocket will include a button, the reduction of one pen holder on the sleeve to two, and the removal of hook and pile tape from the knee and elbow pads.
How much will it cost?
This question is still yet to be answered. Current reports identify that the cost will likely remain roughly the same as the UCP ACU, although the prices will possibly vary slightly.
What is next?
Be prepared for formations of soldiers in different uniforms, which will likely continue for the next couple of years. Besides that, transition as early as possible to break in a good pair of boots for future operations.
For more details as the rollout continues, please visit www.armyuniformchanges.com.
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