Army BDU

From the Army Times:

10 BDU changes in the works

By Matthew Cox
Times staff writer

When soldiers in the Army’s first Stryker brigade deploy to Iraq next month, they will be outfitted in a unique new uniform.
The troops will be wearing the “Close Combat Uniform,” an experimental redesign of the Battle Dress Uniform aimed to better suit the needs of today’s combat soldiers.

The changes are intended to be practical, but several are a striking departure from the current BDU, including a mandarin-style collar, large pockets on the shoulders, built-in knee and elbow pads and a zip-up shirt.

Command Sgt. Major Mike Kelso drew a lot of attention when he modeled the prototype uniform at the 2003 Infantry Conference at Fort Benning, Ga., held Sept. 8 to 12.

“I’ve gotten a lot of comments on it,” said Kelso, the command sergeant major of the Infantry Center, after giving conference-goers a look at the new uniform, cut from the current BDU woodland pattern and made specifically for him. Kelso said he likes the many changes.

Each soldier in the Fort Lewis, Wash.-based 3rd Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division is being issued two sets of the redesigned uniform in the Army’s standard desert camouflage pattern, said Barry Hauck, assistant product manager for Product Manager Clothing and Individual Equipment.

Soldiers in that brigade offered a lot of input into potential changes needed in a new BDU, so when unit leaders requested sets to wear on deployment to Iraq with, uniform officials complied. But those soldiers will not be a formal part of the test process. That role goes to the second Stryker Brigade Combat Team, part of the 25th Infantry Division at Lewis, who will wear and test the new duds from November through February. They will be at the forefront of evaluations that will factor into whether the uniform one day could be issued Army-wide.

“The second Stryker brigade is our test vehicle,” Hauck said.

Uniform officials said that deploying the uniform with the first Stryker brigade will give them a chance to see how the proposed changes hold up in an operational environment over the long term.

The Stryker brigade testing the close-combat uniform at Fort Lewis will see versions of the BDU in two styles the Army is considering as the future camouflage pattern: a gray, tan and black “urban track” design, and a “scorpion” design that is a muted version of the current woodland pattern.

The testing is separate from Army evaluations of a possible wrinkle-free BDU.

Testing the close-combat uniform won’t cost the troops involved any cash, since the Army is issuing each soldier his or her BDUs. Troops in the first Stryker brigade will get two sets each, a total of about 8,400 sets, at a cost of about $100 a pop, Hauck said.

“It’s an opportunity to say ‘we heard what you had to say.’ We are demonstrating to soldiers that we are being responsive,” Hauck said.

Most soldiers who saw the new uniform at Fort Benning liked the new pockets and other added features. Kelso even had a few more ideas, saying the Army should think about adding zippers underneath the arms for venting. Another change he recommended is to make new side-opening breast pockets a little larger.

Once the test uniform has been out in the field, soldiers no doubt will have plenty of input on what works, what doesn’t and other changes they would like to see.

The redesign effort is the first step toward the Advanced Combat Uniform, a new type of battlefield attire designed specifically for the needs of soldiers in combat.

Over the long haul, the ACU is supposed to create a multi-layer uniform that eliminates the need for inclement weather gear and nuclear, biological and chemical protective garments.

But in the short term, the ACU includes a number of practical improvements to the BDU based on soldier suggestions, said Dave Nelson, deputy product manager for clothing and individual equipment.

“The key to the concept is it’s a combat uniform, not a garrison uniform,” said Dave Geringer, assistant product manager for Product Manager Clothing and Individual Equipment.

This will no doubt create challenges the Army will have to address, Nelson said. Some will be small, such as how soldiers will wear unit shoulder patches if shoulder pockets are added to the uniform.

Others will be more complex, such as the logistical challenges of having a uniform designed specifically for combat, Nelson said.

“There are cultural and logistical decisions that have to be carefully considered with just about every path we take,” Nelson said, adding that this is just one step in a long process.

“It is too early to say whether this is going to replace BDUs.”

Basic changes
Pockets on the shoulders, a feature liked by special operations soldiers. Uniform officials have yet to determine how rank insignia would be attached, but velcro strips similar to those used by Spec Ops soldiers is one possibility.
No more lower pockets on the front of the BDU shirt. The two pockets have often been criticized as impractical when wearing body armor and load-bearing gear, and have been removed.

Side openings on the remaining two front breast pockets so they are accessible from the side where body armor opens.

Knee and elbow pockets — added so soldiers can insert hard or soft protective padding.

No more rear trouser pockets.

Raised side cargo pockets to make them more accessible.

New pockets on the outer calf have been added to make small items easily reachable when in the kneeling position.

Comfort and appearance

The shirt has a zippered front instead of buttons, meant to be faster to take on and off, and better venting. A flap secured by Velcro folds over the zipper for concealment.

The shirt is shorter, in order to cut down on bulk when soldiers tuck it in during field operations.

A mandarin-style collar. Solders proposed this change for better protection from weather and when soldiers are participating in air-assault missions. The collar is held closed with a Velcro tab. The collar can be folded down and affixed with a rank insignia device.
What the devil is a mandarin style collar?

Thank you for the information, by the way, Sir, I had no idea this was even in the works.
They are making it easier for the patch bde to collect more and more on their BDUs. Pretty soon the Army will be like the girl scouts, we'll just issue everyone a sash to put their (merit)badges on. Zippers, that's going to feel good after 20 mins in the heat and the time comes to go prone. And we all know how fun zippers are when they break/jam.
And the velcro of course, a brilliant idea on tactical uniforms instead of buttons. So when you're patrolling in the woods, moving silently with your team, and you stop for a quick map check. On the hand signal for a short security halt, the team fans out and quietly takes up positions facing out in 360 degrees. You kneel in the middle of the perimeter, reach up to open your chest pocket and RIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIP! The separating Velcro shatters the silence. Oops. :roll:

Redneck, it means the collar will stand up, usually only an inch to an inch and a half.
Hopefully they'll introduce some new velcro combat boots, too, I'm sick of all these knots.
I don't really like the sash idea, Sir, I think the Girl Scouts badge vest would look a lot snazzier, but I believe the DoA has already made their decision:

So a mandarin collar is kind of like a banded collar, Sir? I'm not really sure how exactly that is supposed to improve anything. :?
Redneck said:

Hey! What are you trying to serve us here...??
The webfilter at work blocks this one as "sexual content".. :lol:
Redleg said:
Hey! What are you trying to serve us here...??
The webfilter at work blocks this one as "sexual content".. :lol:

It's the new kinder, gentler Army, we're going to be winning the enemy's hearts and minds with techno music and short skirts.
Redleg said:
Redneck said:

Hey! What are you trying to serve us here...??
The webfilter at work blocks this one as "sexual content".. :lol:
I couldn't see the picture at first, which btw is a very funny picture, and then I found myself on this page. This is one funny guy!
Here's another article and a better picture that should answer the collar question.


According to the first story, the new collar is supposed to help with the chaffing caused by body armor - but I think it will only make the uniform hotter - has everyone forgotten how the Romans dealt with the chaffing caused by the Lorica Segmetata? They used a focale or scarf, not a new collar!

I think this thing is a mess - it looks like a combination of ideas that have been rattling around the Army for the last 20+ years (particularly the brown boot idea!) with no success.

At $88+ per set, this is going to cost plenty and since Commissioned and Warrant Officers have to buy their own uniforms, I am not anxious for this thing to be fielded any time soon (not that I have to worry in this unit - we're pretty much at the bottom of the stack for equipment :( )
New to the forum

Hi. Just browsing and just wanted to put some rumors to rest. Being in the 1st Stryker Brigade Combat Team. 3BDE 2ID we were issued the CCU's. And i gotta say they are the best things to happen to us. Everywhere i look over here you see a soldier wearing CCU's instead of the old DCU's. From talking to all my friends and my own preference its because they are simply much more comfortable. the only thing is the velcro if you were in a tactical situation. but other then that nothing is really bad. one guy said the zipper would get hot . actually it doesnt because its hidden behind a piece of velcroed cloth and the kimono collar is really nice you get no chafing wearing body armor and its really not any hotter then DCU/BDU's they have a pen holder on the arm and the placement of all the pocket is ingenious. they only thing is you cant wear pin on rank because where our unit wears the rank is over our nameplates. and they dig into your skin when you where body armor but the new ones can be viewed at the stars and stripes website and they have a good solution for it. Velcroed on rank. Ok well just wanted to say that and i'll look around this pretty interesting forum.
Thanks for the information there, trivash. Have you heard anything about what they plan to do about the velcro? And are yours that godawful gray? :lol:
Redneck said:
Thanks for the information there, trivash. Have you heard anything about what they plan to do about the velcro? And are yours that godawful gray? :lol:

I havent heard anything about the Velcro. But i really dont see a problem because it will probably be like the BDU's where the S.F. guys will just use their own. As for the color of mine they are printed in the Desert Tan pattern but these are only the test models are will never be issued out to the general army. I think, but dont quote me on it, that 1BDE 25th ID has the same ones as ours but in the Woodland Green Print.
since everything is velcro u can be in the forest and something can snatch off i think they should leave the original bdus cause they had more of a better connection with the enviroment
trivash said:
I havent heard anything about the Velcro. But i really dont see a problem because it will probably be like the BDU's where the S.F. guys will just use their own.

I'm not worried about the SF guys, I'm worried about me guys. :lol: