Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Beau Brummell

Hello Danny. Come and play with us.
Come and play with us, Danny.

Forever... and ever... and ever

--The Shining

Wars are not over when the shooting stops

--Max Cleland

His uniform jacket was old and tight,
He had polished each button, shiny and bright
--It's the Soldier, Charles Province

[Hi everyone -- thanks for checking in. Ranger's back, and will be starting up with some sundry thoughts from the road, ramping up to regular schedule slowly but surely.]

In August, the Army began issuing new uniforms printed with a camouflage pattern called MultiCam -- "designed to blend in better with the varied landscapes of the country's mountainous terrain" (Military Sees It's Time for a Change.)

The change will cost between $200 - $270 million, says Lt. Col. Mike Sloane,
product manager for soldier clothing and individual equipment for Army's Program Executive Office Soldier. "He said the switch to MultiCam was ramped up after soldiers complained that their camouflage uniforms were ineffective in Afghanistan"

Forgive Ranger, but imagine that -- a camo committee called the
Program Executive Officer Soldier! When was the last time an Executive Officer Soldier got his shit blown away? Nonetheless, USA Today begins brightly, "Soon, when soldiers stalk the enemy in Afghanistan, they may be harder to see."

This is a misleading statement, for who is stalking whom in this little game of cat-and-mouse?

The change in pattern strikes Ranger as essentially weird. The Allied Forces (both of them) are fighting an adversary in tennis shoes with rags wrapped around their heads and dressed in Afghan mufti, with a few AK's, machine guns, RPG's and assorted other ammo thrown into the mix. The amount the U.S. is dedicating to a uniform switchover probably exceeds their operational budget for many years. Alas, this argument is academic since the U.S. taxpayer is funding al-Qaeda indirectly through our aid to Pakistan.

"Capt. Joe Corsentino, an aviator, told the
Army Times that the current combat uniform 'stands out like a sore thumb' in Afghanistan." However, since most of our casualties come from IED's it doesn't seem to matter a hill of beans what the troops are wearing.

When your tactics are wrong and strategy weak, uniform pattern is immaterial.
A bullseye sewn on the back would be as sensible in this monumental goat screw we call a war.

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Anonymous Juan Moment said...

Glad to see you two are back in business, my jogs around the blogs are just not the same without RAW.

On the subject, you are dead right, to spend a quarter of a billion dollars on new uniforms at a time when food stamp programs at home are being cut coz the gov ain't got no cash, is about as retarded as it gets. Especially since it'll make no difference to the ones planting IEDs or drive a suicide truck into a clearly marked army building or convoy.

At the same time, I am surprised US forces don't have those uniforms yet. The US army has been operating in dessert like and mountainous areas for close to a hundred years, I would have thought that by now they had created various uniform designs and colour themes for the widely varying operational environments the troops find themselves in.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010 at 1:04:00 AM GMT-5  
Anonymous Grant said...

They DID... I was issued woodland camo (BDUs) which was varying shades of green with some black on it. To deploy the first time, I got issued DCUs, desert camo.

In the name of being jack of all trades, master of none, the US army came out with ACU camo which was supposed to work everywhere. The second time I deployed I got that stuff. It seemed to work reasonably well as we moved from palm groves into cities. But now they say it doesn't work in Afghanistan, so we need to spend more money.

It's just more stupidity from a stupid organization run by stupid people. Goatscrew doesn't even begin to describe it.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010 at 10:34:00 AM GMT-5  
Blogger Underground Carpenter said...

Hi Jim and Lisa,

Welcome back!

Carpenter concurs with all you write and nods his head sadly.


Wednesday, September 8, 2010 at 7:41:00 PM GMT-5  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

When I was in the Canadian Army in the 1980s, no one had camouflage except a few guys in the Airborne (and they used a pattern similar to British DPM). We had a plain medium green field uniform that just seemed to pick up whatever background was there. It even worked well in semi-desert, as it picked up dust in the weave and became part of the landscape, so to speak.

Now the Canadian Forces has something called CADPAT, a digital jaggy-looking combination of green, brown and black. Seems to stand out a lot more.

Thursday, September 9, 2010 at 3:05:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger FDChief said...

My understanding from the original camo research done by the U.S. Army back in the late 1940s and 1950s (the U.S. had encountered Germans wearing camoflauge uniforms - my memory seems to be reminding me that most of the wearers were Waffen SS, who went in for the cool camo unis in the 43-45 period - and since it seems that the late 40s and 50s were a time for the U.S. Army to adopt German ideas immediately began experimenting with them) was that the test group found that camo uniforms were typically harder to see when the wearers were motionless. The pattern broke up the outline and made it generally less "people-like". But that a single-color uniform was slightly less visible when the wearer was moving. Kinda makes sense to me; the camo pattern would seem to make you more visible, what with all those moving shapes and colors.

Bottom line, tho, is that no camo pattern will be a perfect fit for every grid square. That green-brown-black that works in the woodline will stand out like an ink blot at the edge of a plowed field. The tan-brown desert pattern will jump out in a village street, or along the grass in the bottom of a wadi.

What this does make me think of is the U.S. Army's fixation on "stuff" over the past 20 years or so. We don't do people or strategy or ideas...what we do is things. Sometime I think we substitute stuff for actual thinking.

Friday, September 10, 2010 at 10:43:00 PM GMT-5  

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