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On Veterans Day, the Army gave official approval for the new Army Greens uniform, with plans to roll it out over the course of 2019 starting with senior leaders and recruiters. The rollout began with Sergeant Major of the Army, Dan Dailey and “several enlisted models,” who wore the new uniform at various events over 2018.
On Tuesday, March 26 at the Global Force Symposium held by the AUSA, the officer variant of the uniform saw its initial debut. General Robert Brown proudly wore his uniform to the event, stating that several other senior leaders would be seen wearing theirs soon as well.
As for the rest of the service, new soldiers will receive their custom-fit uniforms when they report to their units, while currently enlisted soldiers won’t have to relinquish their ASU’s until 2028.
Six years ago, the Navy banned NWU Type I uniforms aboard ships after an investigation found that they would “burn robustly” after being exposed to flames until they were “completely consumed.” By October 1, the banned Type I uniforms will be no more.
And thanks to the U.S. Fleet Forces Command, sailors may soon have a reliable, flame-retardant uniform. The Maritime Two-Piece Fire-Retardant Uniform will be wear-tested for three months beginning this July. Approximately 100 sailors in aviation squadrons, on warships, and in submarines will test out the new uniforms.
The service conducted initial wear tests of the new uniforms last year. It found that over 70 percent of sailors preferred all-blue uniforms for pay grades E-6 and below – while chiefs and higher ranks would wear khaki.
In addition, it found that sailors wanted a style like the NWU Type III uniform, but with increased comfort. The pattern that was used for the NWU Type III uniforms was also used to develop the new prototypes that will be wear-tested this summer.
If the wear tests result in positive feedback, the Maritime Two-Piece Fire-Retardant Uniforms will be slated for distribution upon boarding a ship by 2021 – at no cost to sailors.
While sailors will have the added option of donning the new two-piece uniforms, they can also continue to wear their current coveralls aboard the ship. The two-piece uniforms simply aim to increase sailors’ safety and comfort, while also giving them back the “precious commodity” that is their time.
The United States Army has been working to modernize some of its protection equipment such as its body armor and helmet, among other protective items. According to BCT Team Gen. Anthony Potts, Colonel Stephen Thomas, and Lt. Col. Ginger Whitehead, fielding of the first runs of the updated protective equipment will begin this month.
The first unit to receive the new gear will be the 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division, based out of Fort Bragg, NC.
On March 4, Potts, Thomas, and Whitehead detailed the fielding at a ceremony and provided information on the development and testing of more advanced body armor and helmets, which are set to debut later this year.
During the ceremony, Thomas, who is the program manager for Soldier Protective and Individual Equipment, stated that the Improved Outer Tactical Vest, Integrated Head Protection System, and Ballistic Pelvis Protection will be going to the 3rd BCT later this month. This summer, the 3rd BCT will also field the Ballistic Combat Shirt.
The commander of PEO Soldier, Potts, said that the updated equipment aims to advance ballistic protection “by adding mobility to the gear, providing layers of protection for a variety of threat protection,” all while lightening soldiers’ loads.
The new IHPS gives wearers the option to add a mandible, visor, and an extra layer for even more protection.
Materials and manufacturing research may aid in further advancements, too.
PEO Soldier is developing something called a “Next Generation IHPS” that will provide the same level of protection as the current IHPS – but at an even lighter weight. Thomas said that the Next Gen. version, along with improved body armor, will be fielded by early 2021 at the latest.
From March 8-11 in Nuremberg, Germany, W. L. Gore & Associates will be debuting new products and technologies at the 2019 IWA Outdoor Classics trade fair. To discover Gore’s innovative textile solutions at IWA Outdoor Classics 2019, stop by Stand 326 in Hall 9.
The world-leading annual trade show provides an opportunity for purveyors of hunting, shooting sports, and outdoor gear and equipment to showcase the latest, best products – for both civilian and official law enforcement and military applications. Trade show visitors and exhibitors come from all over the world to attend IWA Outdoor Classics and view its unparalleled range of products.
At this year’s IWA show, Gore will feature new products and technologies developed specifically for police and the armed forces. These unique, head-to-toe concepts include GORE-TEX SURROUND® footwear, GORE-TEX and GORE WINDSTOPPER® fabrics, and uniforms outfitted with the latest GORE® PYRAD® fabric technology.
GORE-TEX SURROUND® Footwear
Gore’s new SURROUND® technology enables one-of-a-kind GORE-TEX duty footwear that is breathable throughout, including in the sole itself. This innovative technology provides a new level of breathability and comfort for police footwear, without sacrificing water-resistance or compliance with occupational footwear requirement ISO 20347:2012.
Elastic GORE-TEX and GORE WINDSTOPPER® Fabrics
In addition to GORE-TEX SURROUND® footwear, Gore will also be debuting its unique elastic GORE-TEX and GORE WINDSTOPPER® fabrics. Gore’s latest development features both of these fabrics in an effort to provide police officers with the optimum garment fit and enhanced freedom of movement, improving the uniforms’ comfort. A German police special operations unit wear-tested prototypes of a GORE-TEX garment in a wide range of conditions, providing exceptionally positive feedback. One wearer even remarked that the jacket “feels like I’m wearing a second skin.”
GORE® PYRAD® Fabric Technology
Finally, Gore will debut new jackets and trousers featuring GORE® PYRAD® fabric technology. Designed for combat, this flame-resistant clothing protects members of the armed forces from the risk of flash fire incidents. These new jackets and trousers are already in use by members of various forces and have proven to be especially resistant to flames when compared to similar combat uniforms. Gore has also developed GORE-TEX rain suits in addition to its combat clothing. Rain suits featuring GORE® PYRAD® fabric technology are compact, light, flame-resistant, and keep rain from penetrating wearers’ garments.
Visit Gore at IWA Outdoor Classics 2019
IWA visitors will be able to view a range of uniforms, clothing concepts, gloves, and new footwear styles from Gore partners, which can be found below. These new products and technologies provide both comfort and protection during everyday wear and critical situations. Stop by Stand 326 in Hall 9 from March 8-11 at IWA Outdoor Classics 2019 to learn more.
When surveyed, about 50 percent of soldiers would prefer to buy their own commercial boots than wear the ones they receive from the service itself.
The survey results are part of what is driving the Army Research, Development and Engineering Command Soldier Center in Natick, Massachusetts to develop a boot that is lighter, more comfortable, and more durable than the current standard issue general purpose boot.
The first to field test the new prototypes will be new 800 new recruits in Basic Training at Fort Leonard Wood, MO, and Fort Jackson, SC. In addition to new recruits, 800 infantry soldiers in Fort Bliss, TX will also receive prototypes.
The Soldier Center is “evaluating new types of leather and some man-made materials” that are more flexible than the materials used in the current boots. The Center will also be testing for durability, water resistance, flexibility, traction, and more.
The prototypes, which will be built by Altama, Belleville Boot Company, and McRae Footwear, will feature upgraded leathers and lighter materials to “provide greater flexibility and reduce weight,” according to service spokesman David Accetta.
Boots will be fitted to soldiers by a Soldier Center team through the end of January, and will return to collect feedback in March and April. Both soldier feedback and test results from the Soldier Center will play a part in the final design of the updated combat boots.
In addition to improving the general purpose boot, Army developers have also made improvements to the Jungle Combat Boot. A final version of the boot is expected to begin production this year.
After conducting a survey of 14,000 soldiers, the Army Research, Development and Engineering Command Soldier Center in Natick, Mass. found that approximately 50 percent of soldiers prefer to buy commercial boots on their own than wear the boots they are issued.
In order to increase adoption of Army-issued boots, the service’s footwear experts have begun to field test several new styles of combat boots. In recent years, improvements have been made to jungle, mountain, and cold-weather combat boots, but not those used for general wear.
Contracts were awarded to Altama, Belleville Boot Company, and McRae Footwear to design the prototypes. They will feature improved leather and lighter materials for “more flexibility and reduced weight,” according to spokesman David Accetta.
The Army will issue the new boot prototypes to recruits in Basic Training at Fort Leonard Wood, MO., and Fort Jackson, SC., along with soldiers stationed in Fort Bliss, TX. Fort Leonard Wood and Fort Jackson will receive one hundred pairs of each, and Fort Bliss will receive 200 pairs.
Soldiers will wear test the boots throughout training and evaluate them for breathability, durability, break-in period, water resistance, and more. After feedback has been collected, recommendations will be provided to Project Manager Soldier Protection and Individual Equipment for further development.
The U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command Soldier Center has developed prototypes of new combat boots for soldiers to wear over the next four months at both basic training and active duty locations.
800 newly recruited soldiers at Fort Leonard Wood, Mo. and Fort Jackson, S.C. will receive new boots for field testing purposes, along with 900 infantry soldiers at Fort Bliss, Texas.
The new combat boots were designed and developed to compete with other commercial brands soldiers favor for their comfort and lightness. They feature flexible leather with lighter outsoles, making them “1.5 pounds lighter per pair than those issued today.”
Improvements have been made to the service’s specific jungle, mountain, and cold weather boots, but there have yet to be any significant changes made to the general purpose boots “almost 30 years.”
After a poll of 14,000 soldiers, the Army found that almost 50 percent of soldiers would choose more comfortable, sneaker-like options over those issued by the Army. The goal is to “bridge the comfort gap while maintaining durability and protection,” but deciding whether it has been met will be up to the soldiers themselves.
In May, the U.S. Air Force announced that “the service will ditch the Airman Battle Uniform,” or ABU, in favor of the Army’s Operational Camouflage Pattern uniform (OCP) instead.
In addition to switching to the OCP, the service also announced that it was considering making changes to its dress blues uniform so that it – and the jacket in particular – further reflected the 70-year history of the service.
Last August, Chief Master Sergeant, Kaleth O. Wright said that results regarding the updated blues uniform were “expected in the near future,” but as of recently, that has all changed, because there are now “other matters that officials are looking to accomplish in the coming months.”
According to Wright, the service is trying to improve how it develops, evaluates, and promotes its enlisted force – and plans to put the focus on these initiatives in 2019.
One of the first changes it hopes to make is to the Weighted Airman Promotion System – which may include ditching it altogether. It also plans to implement a new tenure policy to extend the service of senior airmen and staff sergeants.
As far as uniforms go, Wright ensures that no changes will be made “without giving our airmen time to adjust.”
Back in October, the United States Navy Exchange began stocking a revamped safety boot, which is currently called the “I Boot-4.” The revamped boot was designed with the intention of enhancing comfort in four primary areas: the collar, the lining, the upper, and the rubber compound used in the sole of the boot.
However, even given its improved design, the I Boot-4 has only sold 924 pairs since December 30th, according to the Navy Exchange Service Command spokeswoman, Courtney Williams.
Shortly after the I Boot-4 was announced via a NavAdmin message, it “was buried inside a string of other uniform updates,” which may partially explain the boot’s low number of sales.
Currently, the I Boot-4 is only available for purchase from eight different locations: Norfolk, San Diego, Jacksonville, Yokosuka, Sasebo, Great Lakes, Newport, and Pearl Harbor. Another possible barrier could be the boot’s price. It costs over $70 more than the standard issue replacement, which means that in order to purchase it, enlisted sailors will have to go above their allocated budget – if they even have access to it, that is.
Finally, the specifications for boots worn by sailors at sea are stringent, which can limit what’s available.
And unfortunately, while the I Boot-4 improves on some of the features of other safety boots, it doesn’t meet all of the Navy’s needs. Due to tread patterns on the I Boot-4, it’s unable to be worn on flight decks because “the soles can pick up and spread small objects onto the surface,” and the resulting debris can damage aircraft engines.
The Navy continues to work on other options, though, with testing for an “I Boot-5” version which began in 2018 drawing “rave reviews,” even though an official release date has yet to be announced.
On Veterans Day, the U.S. Army announced that it would be adopting a new service uniform for 2019.
While there are no photos of the official uniform, we do know that it will feature “a belted jacket, foldable garrison cover and brown leather shoes,” and both uniforms will have “long ties and pants.”
Starting this summer, the Army Greens will begin their rollout, with recruiters receiving the new uniform before anyone else. Then, at a public event in June, around 500 soldiers will debut the Army Greens.
The rest of the army will continue to wear the current Army Service Uniform until it expires in 2028 and is upgraded to a more formal dress uniform.