Destroying Your Sergeant Major’s Soul – The Rhino Den Guide to the New Army Uniforms
By Pablo James
With the Army beginning the transition from the gray and gray Army Combat Uniform, or ACU, to the new, cutting edge Universal Combat Pattern (UCP) Army Combat Uniform, or ACU, there has been a fair amount of media attention paid to how the new camouflage pattern and uniforms affect the daily lives of Soldiers (because that’s WAY more important than how the VA is coming in third behind glaciers and tectonic plates in the race to the finish line).
The Army Times even published a Q & A designed to answer Soldiers’ questions about the new uniforms. We here at the Rhino Den felt that these articles are lacking in some critical bits of information that Soldiers from young Privates to senior leaders want to know. So, in keeping with our time-honored tradition of not presenting a problem without a solution, we’ve prepared this guide to help fill in the blanks where other media outlets may have failed you.
Will I be permitted to put my hands in my pockets while wearing the new UCP uniforms?
- The new uniforms will follow the Army’s decade’s old policy of providing uniforms with pockets perfectly designed to comfortably place your hands in while still maintaining stringent, Nazi-like prohibitions against Soldiers using the pockets in a rational and natural manner. Soldiers are still encouraged to maintain a professional appearance in colder weather by hiking up the front of their uniform shirt and jamming their hands into the front of their trousers.
Prohibitions against placing hands in pockets will, as previously, not apply to Special Forces Soldiers.
Will Soldiers still need to wear a reflective belt across their torsos?
- You shut your filthy mouth!!! Just shut the hell up and put your Goddamned reflective belt on because…safety.
I’ve changed uniform styles several times since I joined. Is this the last uniform change I’ll have before I retire?
- Probably not, but who knows, right? It’s a little premature to begin talking about changing uniforms. First, we need to field the entire new stock of uniforms and phase out the old uniforms. This will allow our ACU patterned uniforms to take on a vintage look and make your obviously staged on your FOB Facebook pictures look more historic (See 2003-2004 Desert Camouflage Uniforms for reference). As an added benefit, pictures in green woodland camouflage look absolutely Vietnam-like today. Anyway, once the long, tedious, and expensive process of fielding the new pattern, an Apocalypse Now-like formation of Good Idea Fairies will swoop in to officers of senior leaders and we can begin the process again.
When hanging out at Myrtle Beach during a holiday weekend, will I be required to wear a UCP pattern hydration pack in my civilian clothes, or can I still use my ACU one?
- Off duty enlisted Soldiers are still encouraged to wear the standard off-duty uniform: cargo shorts, military or MMA themed t-shirt, PT shoes, and an operator cap with sexually inappropriate Velcro morale patch. Choice of camouflage pattern for hydration system is left up to the Soldier.
Some considerations to make when selecting a hydration system for off-duty wear include, but are limited to the following: A older camouflage patterns clearly demonstrate to the cherries in your unit and to any little hotties around (like that waitress from the last place we were at that was totally into you as evidenced by the hand drawn smiley face she put on the check…) that you aren’t some new cherry. At the same time, the newest, cutting edge camouflage patterns will tell everyone that you aren’t part of some POG unit and you’re probably SF or a Ranger or something.
My Platoon Leader proudly carried his ACU patterned daily planner binder. Will he be forced to get a new one in UCP?
- By the time these changes take effect, your Platoon Leader will have become an Executive Officer or a staff weenie and will carry one of the issued green leader books they have in Supply, so no. The changes will apply to new lieutenants trying to impress their troops and senior leaders with how cool they are.
Personally purchased camouflage leader books will still be prohibited for E-4s and below under the rules and guidelines of the E-4 Mafia (refer to page 7 of the chapter entitled, “What are you a fucking lifer or something?”).
Does this new uniform mean the Warrant Officers in my unit will have to do work?
What are some of the features Soldiers requested for the new uniform that are not available in the initial roll out?
- There were several features that were not included in the initial issue due to limitations of cost, available technology, and other issues. The Army is trying to be responsive to Soldiers’ needs and desires, so some of the requested features may become available in future versions of the UCP uniform. These include solar or motion-powered charging device that would allow Soldiers to charge their mobile phones or other small electronic devices without an external power source, a built in reflective belt that activates automatically upon sensing limited light situations, mounting brackets on the blouse and patrol cap for affixing Go-Pro cameras, elastic waistbands to accommodate weight gain during low intensity deployment situations and service in the Reserve or National Guard, and a portable Wi-Fi device to allow Soldiers to “check-in” or post selfies on social media platforms at their convenience.
Will drone operators be required to wear the new uniforms or will they still wear flight suits even though they aren’t, technically, actually flying?
- Drone, or Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV), operators will continue to wear the flight suit and perpetuate the illusion that they are actually flying in aircraft and in some level of physical danger. A spokesman from the UAV Command addressed the issue saying, “Fuck those grunts! They can find their own terrorists if they don’t like it! Assholes.”
Sources within the UAV community confirmed that non-pilot UAV operators find the flight suits allow them to “pull stupid trim” at levels comparable to their pilot rated colleagues.
Will I be able to use the new universal camouflage pattern on the cover of a book I’m writing about a high profile mission I had minimal involvement in?
- All questions regarding the publication of memoirs, tell-all books, scripts, novellas, fan fiction, comic books, graphic novels, Manga, or anime based on contemporary military operations should be directed to the Naval Special Warfare Command.
Given that the new pattern is barely discernible from the Crye Precision MultiCam pattern, is this really about Soldier readiness or just some weird Kabuki dance to pay someone else the windfall of money coming from a major logistical undertaking like this?
Umm…that was an actual question. Are you going to answer or just ignore me?
- Safety! Resilience! Err…Valor, yeah…valor! 1775 and heritage and…oh, shit, is it that late already. Ok, no more questions. Gotta run. Hey, thanks for your time and, uh, good luck with the movie thing you guys are doing! Peace!
So, there you have it. Everything you ever wanted to know about the newest Army combat uniform and all the guidance that goes with it. We hope this helps all of our readers and customers still in uniform make a smooth transition and avoid the deadly hellfire of senior NCOs everywhere. When in doubt, just avoid walking on the Sergeant Major’s grass.