U.S. Army Transitions New Combat Uniform - U.S. Department of Defense Transformation Story Email This Story Print This Story

The Army is adapting its uniform standards to meet the needs of soldiers transitioning to the new Army Combat Uniform (ACU).

With a new camouflage pattern and features designed for field and deployment use – including a wash-and-wear fabric that precludes the need for starch – the ACU seems destined to be a soldier-pleaser.
The new uniform has been talked about for some time now, but is is now closer than ever. Sporting some 20 changes!
A total of 20 changes were made to the newly-issued Army Combat Uniform. The new ACU represents the biggest change to the Army uniform since the early 1980s. The uniform changes include:

1. Mandarin collar that can be worn up or down
2. Rank insignia centered on the front of the blouse
3. Velcro for wearing unit patch, skill tabs and recognition devices
4. Zippered front closure
5. Elbow pouch for internal elbow pad inserts
6. Knee pouch for internal knee pad inserts
7. Draw string leg cuff
8. Tilted chest pockets with Velcro closure
9. Three-slot pen pocket on bottom of sleeve
10. Velcro sleeve cuff closure
11. Shoulder pockets with Velcro
12. Forward tilted cargo pockets
13. Integrated blouse bellows for increased upper body mobility
14. Integrated Friend or Foe Identification Square on both left and right shoulder pocket flap
15. Bellowed calf storage pocket on left and right leg
16. Moisture-wicking desert tan t-shirt
17. Patrol Cap with double thick bill and internal pocket
18. Improved hot-weather desert boot or temperate-weather desert boot
19. Two-inch, black nylon web belt
20. Moisture-wicking socks
These changes sound like big improvements over previous uniforms and they still want more improvements down the road.

Read the full story.

posted at 15:27:43 on 07/26/05 - Category: Army

Article Opinions

amber Leblanc wrote:

From the wife of Sergent LeBlanc, the new uniforms were a horriable idea.although they may seem like the new "hot" item of the military you are sadly wrong, when I wash my husbands ACU's they ball up and get tangled on each other I then have to peel the things apart the patches look horriable I feel ashamed every time I see my husband walking around with an AMERICAN FLAG that looks like its been on his arm for a life time and passed down. The pen holders that are anywhere and everywhere amongst the uniform those are just great as all of my husbands new ACU's are stained in ink because of the spots that have never been there before and never botherd any of us before cause us wive's to spend more time in the laundry room trying to play hind n seek with these pens. Upon my husband going to Iraq we have asked some of the returning soliders we know from other companys what there opnions on these uniformswere in a combat zone were like. Sadly dissapproval and anger with how many pairs they had to sew and throw. As a family of 3 I dont have the time nor the money to be washing, peeling, sewing and buying all these so called new ACU's
Amber LeBlanc
Ft.wainwright alaksa
Posted on 08/04/05 13:46:47

Spc Saing wrote:

My tops always come out darker than my bottoms. Other than that, I don't mind the uniforms. Any suggestions?
Posted on 11/01/05 05:43:31

kyle wrote:

wow i can to this site loong for information on the new acu's and all i find is a bunch of people trying to sell their crap. how can the admin allow this
Posted on 01/22/06 00:50:37

fred wrote:

quick hint on acu washing, pull the patches off and turn the tops inside out.
Posted on 03/01/06 06:02:44

WIll wrote:

As for the ink on the ACUs, take the pens out before you wash them. I have four sets and none of mine seem to ever have any ink on them.
Posted on 04/01/06 15:44:28

CPT King wrote:

Hmmm... I guess I am a better trained husband. I take responsibility for my own pens and patches. ;o)

Amber, have your husband follow these simple instructions in a step-by-step fashion...

1. Remove pens.
2. Remove patches.
3. Turn coat inside out.
4. Place in laundry basket.

Wash the ACU in cold water with detergent that does NOT contain phosphorus, optical brighteners, or ''color safe'' bleach. These ingredients will fade the ACU.

Remove the ACU from the washer, smooth the fabric, and place right side out on a plastic hanger to dry. This should make them appear almost as neat as if they were pressed. This takes far less time than running to the dry cleaners to pick up starched BDUs every week, and certainly a LOT less time than hand pressing and starching at home.

It takes me about 1 minute to properly reattach everything when I pull the coat off the hanger. Patches stay new looking, and I have no ink stains. Too easy!
Posted on 04/08/06 12:34:10

MSG Wallace wrote:

CPT King said it all!
Leblanc family of 4 should appreciate all the money saved at the cleaners and the alteration shop for sewing on patches.

I always wash my ACU's seperate from other laundry, turning them inside out saves them sticking together. Removing the patches keeps them looking new and should out last several uniforms. (that's why I only have 2 sets of patches)
And yes the user should be responsible for removing the patches and the pens and anything else in the pockets - be considerate if someone elsef is doing your laundry!

After 26 years in service - and several uniforms later - you learn to appreciate the improvements with the latest uniform and how to work around the flaws.
Posted on 04/25/06 16:32:34

Danny wrote:

thats awsome cool
Posted on 06/05/06 09:51:29

MSG Devarie wrote:

My kudos to CPT King, I just learned from him some extra tip, being a dual military family anything we can learn will help labor and in the pocket. We like these uniforms very much so far.
Posted on 07/16/06 10:03:01

Liz wrote:

Is this valid information? I read it on a web site that sells detergent that is free of optical brighteners which supposedly glow under UV light. ***Begin Quote:*** For many years our company, Atsko Inc., has been making products for the outdoorsmen that include Optical Brightener Free Detergents and Ultraviolet Killer products. UV Brighteners are of grave concern to Hunters because they gather UV energy and release it in a bright band of blue at the peak of sensitivity of game animals. The Military has restricted the use of Optical Brighteners in the manufacturing of uniforms since 1984 because of how brightly they show up.
People come to us for answers because we are the leading maker of UV control items for the Hunting industry for the last 20 years. People have been asking about safe detergents for the new ACU uniforms. So we went to “The “Army Times” and on “The Patriette” website and found the following detergents listed as safe: Bold Powder, Cheer Liquid, Cheer Powder, All Powder, Surf Powder, and Woolite. THEY ARE NOT SAFE FOR ACU’s or BDU’s, they are full of Optical Brighteners. ***End Quote*** The photos indicate Woolite Original glows under UV light, but Woolite Improved and Woolite Hand and Machine do not glow. All, All Free and Clean, Cheer with Bleach, and Cheer Color Guard also glow. Bold and Surf are not pictured.
Posted on 09/18/06 21:16:24

Post script wrote:

Correction to above post: Surf is pictured and does glow also.
Posted on 09/18/06 21:26:48

India wrote:

Does anyone know how to get ink stains out of BDU's?
Posted on 10/15/06 15:22:28

SFC Greg Anderson wrote:

When laundered according to the directives as per the army regulations guide supplied by my supply sergeant with the issue of the uniforms they come out just fine. Turning them inside out when washing, and ALWAYS cleaning out the pockets. they come out just fine... no ironing.
Posted on 12/02/06 15:48:46

pfc roberts wrote:

is there a special kind of soap we can use on the uniforms
Posted on 12/21/06 20:21:50

pfc roberts wrote:

what kind of fabric softner can i use on the acu's
Posted on 12/21/06 20:29:04

Dan Gutting wrote:

If you wash them in Sport-Wash you will never need fabric softener.
Posted on 02/03/07 16:21:44

Joe wrote:

Why does the U.S.A always get it wrong for its brave troops!

First it was with the lousy M16-- why not simply make a hybrid based on the German HK series of assault rifles!!!

You had fine designers once, recall the 1917 Springfield, or the Garand for that matter...

Chuck the M16, swallow your pride, American troops are dying, adopt the HK416.

Now it is this new combat uniform which is just like those cutie but lousy M16s!!

Design better fighting threads for your brave people in the field!!
Posted on 02/12/07 08:40:01

ssg rivera wrote:

when you have pens on the three slots on the acu top, do they have to be all the way in or they can be showing. what milper message is it
Posted on 03/30/07 04:07:41

Barb wrote:

I have 3 adult children in the Army. I visited my daughter and her family after the change of uniforms. The people that have to wear them have the say, but they look cheap and all the world loves velcro. The Army acu uniforms before looked great washed great and they always appeared as if the person wearing it cared about it. What didthey do, take a computer screen and used the pixel method of camoflouge?
Posted on 06/13/07 12:57:11

steveH wrote:

no matter wat the hook and pile tape aka velcro is no combat effective u get it over in the sandbox and at turns to crap
Posted on 08/28/07 05:35:02

Frank White wrote:

Umm the uniform makes no sense. We went to a no-iron fabric but took away the buttons..that were only a problem when the BDU was pressed. Buttons are easily replaceable and longer lasting than the cheap ass velcro that wears out in a matter f months. If that isnt retarded enough..there are buttons on the trousers...but a zipper on the jacket... The flimsy elasticity on the pockets is a shame. Do a side by side comparison of the USMC uniform and the Army's and you will see a gigantic difference in quality. Who is the official at DoD that signed off on all these different and not equal unfiorms?? The camouflage patterns, design and manufacturer should be standard across the board.
Posted on 10/08/07 02:11:16

FREDDY B wrote:

Posted on 10/08/07 02:16:38


Posted on 10/08/07 02:19:59

Lee wrote:

Is this uniform in use already? What is the fabric make-up? Is there a site where a person can view the old and new one to compare the differences?
Posted on 10/15/07 00:52:47

Eneplewaw wrote:

Where I can find good quality films?
Can anyone help me?
Posted on 11/09/07 01:14:03

nicole wrote:

the acus arent that bad just the velcro sticking part sucks other then that i like the technology knowing that they absorb radiated body heat because it makes it seem safer to me that my husband has this technology but thats just me
Posted on 12/23/07 15:37:28

TS wrote:

The velcro is very flimsy on these, they seem much hotter than the BDUs, the cut is sloppier, & they are much more expensive. I agree with Jimmy Scott that these don't make any sense. Coming from someone who has worn the uniform for 15 years, the BDU was a much better uniform.
Posted on 03/24/08 12:10:15


The army acu is the worst thing to come out of the higher level REMFs since the stryker (which doesn't fulfill its original mission either), black berets for everyone and plastic frame rucks. The Army's new trend in buying and issuing shit equipment does more damage than soldiers realize. Recruiters have even gotten grief from civilians that think the new uniforms are ridiculous. From a soldier's standpoint they do suck. Whos brilliant idea was it to use a zipper and velcro? The pin-on awards was obviously the brain child of a soldier never awarded a skill badge who wanted an equal playing field when throwing their nuts on the table. This whole thing reaks of POAG. Last week in the field under moonlight I looked at all of my personally issued multicam gear compared to my Army issued ACU crap and I wondered if the guys at Natick even bothered to test this shit. I might as well break a chemlight and squirt some glow juice all over me. Thanks guys for the indirect death warrant!
Posted on 04/28/08 17:28:23

Military Common Sense wrote:

If anyone cares to see what the Army could have bought soldiers rather than the ACU, check out cryeprecision.com and think about the difference a few dollars more makes. Take away the velcro and you've got the best there could be
Posted on 04/28/08 17:33:04

ACUs SUCK wrote:

The ACU is terrible and should be replaced as soon as possible. Zippers, velcro=BAD, pattern=BAD. From top to bottom it is a lacking design. Crye had it right and the whole DOD fucked it up with their "personalized" digi-designs that will prove ineffective over time.
Posted on 06/21/08 00:37:10

rangersleadtheway wrote:

I think the ACU's suck. The velcro and zippers make me feel like I am three and have trouble with buttons. And for all those gung-ho elites with CIB, EIB, Master Parachutist, HALO jumpmaster...etc. can't show it without the stupid pin on subdued. I HATE PIN ONS!! And the pattern is just a rip off of the marines (I am in no way saying that marines are better, I just think we need to think of our own pattern) and the pattern is a "multipurpose" pattern meaning that an actual strictly desert or woodland uniform would work better in that enviornment. The pattern needs to change, both in color and design. Personally I like tiger stripes. The only good thing about this uniform is the slanted pockets.
Posted on 07/22/08 01:01:24

rangersleadtheway wrote:

Another thing, where does Shinseki get off taking the black beret from the Rangers! Shinseki only did that because he dislikes special ops guys (and no one pull that "shinseki has a ranger tab" shit on me. People go to ranger school for promotions) he would've taken the Green Beret but that was a presidential unit citation so he took the next best thing. If you ask me, the beret needs to be reserved for the elite!
Posted on 07/22/08 01:08:21

safasfd wrote:

yea how come all the US Army guys look all ate up, everyone looks different either their army uniform makes them look fat when they really arent fat or look like the shape of an egg, and alos ACU's fade, we sohuldnt have to buy different type of detergent we should be able to wash them with anything, the velcrow is useless, they just wear out then you have to buy NEW uniforms which cost about 100 bucks for one pair, id rather go back to BDU's
Posted on 08/05/08 00:50:54

dfgfsdd wrote:

WE NEED TO BE ABLE TO ROLL UP UR SLEEVES, and it will make everything better, doesnt even cost money, just let us doo it! anyone who is up their like 23432 star general CMON
Posted on 08/05/08 00:55:51

McSGT wrote:

I remember everyone bitchin about how terrible it was to press and starch BDU's and spit shine boots. I sure did, and now that the ACU's are standard issue, I want BDU's back! Not for the reasons stated above though. As an NCO it was easy to tell who was squared away and who wasnt, and if the squared away start showing up with chocolate bars on thier feet, and wrinkles in the uniform, it was a huge indicator that somthing was up with that soldier. Also, we are soldiers, taking pride and taking care of our equipment is basic discipline. It taught us to pay attention to detail, and not take short cuts, and be proud of the work we had done to achieve the standard. I miss that Army, an Army with good order and discipline. The Beret is just impractical...black felt sucks in the heat of summer. and yes, rolling the sleeves up would be great!
Posted on 08/09/08 22:00:03

B12G wrote:

The Army brass has made numerous mistakes, uniform wise in the recent past. The black beret, the Rangers should have kept it. Now the ACU/UCP. The cut, etc. of the uniform isn't a real problem, if you get the right size, it's not that much different from a BDU, but quality varies a lot from maker to maker. The pattern, I won't call it camouflage, 'cause it's not, truly sucks. There are numerous patterns that are far more effective, in numerous environements. Multicam is one example. The ACU's "Atariflage" sucks, plain and simple.
Posted on 08/13/08 23:03:00

mac-daddy-oif 06-08 wrote:

I think you all would bitch if they hung you with a new rope........get over it wear the damn uniform, and move on, we are soldiers not cry babies
Posted on 08/14/08 01:22:59

at easy wrote:

the army needs a woodland envirment pattern of uniforms the ACU's dose not blind in woodland green envirments so if we get in a war in a woodland envirment then the enemy will see you then you are in deep shit and many U.S. soldiers will die. the army just needs to make better ACU's. this is not a comeplant this is a consiren to those that wear the uniform and serve our country.
Posted on 10/19/09 14:19:59

Stuart wrote:

The new uniforms are perfect and people the government wouldnt change it if it didnt work. They could always just change the color and the pattern to make a woodland pattern.
Posted on 11/04/09 10:54:53

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