Following the lead of Big Army, the Marine Corps has set into motion a program forcommanders in Helmand and other AOs where leathernecks are fighting topick from their desert MarPat cammies or their woodland variants depending on the foliage and season.
Regimental Combat Team commander Col. Randy Newman said during an interview yesterday with military bloggers that in certain areas of Helmand he'd wished his Marines could have worn the woodland threads to blend in better.
There were some areas of the 'green zone' in the springtime where we were wondering whether we needed to be in our green MarPat. We've got the right options, it's just making sure the commanders have the latitude to utilize the right options when they see that it's appropriate. There were some areas of the green zone where the green MarPat might be a better camouflage pattern for us to use.
Newman explained that because of how the Marine task groups travel -- light and fast -- his units only had the desert version of their uniforms in country.
The problem is when we deploy, we deploy with two or three sets of one pattern of camouflage because you need that much for a deployment. We do not have guys deployed with both types of MarPat because its difficult for the men, as dispersed as they are, to carry both.But the solution Newman came up with as he was leaving Afghanistan in October at the end of a year-long deployment was to stock up woodland MarPat supplies at HQ for each battalion and send them out to the FOBs as needed.
We were having them deploy with one [camo] and as I left were then working on having for unit stocks availablity to outfit them with the other during the course of their deployment as they needed to. ... We were working on making sure the Marines had both options available to them in some locations in Afghanistan and I think RCT-1 was continuing to make sure they had that option available to them.This brings up an interesting dilemma for the Army as it examines the whole "family" of patterns theory. Many of you have mentioned the cost associated with outfitting an 800,000 troop force with three different uniform options. And yes, the Army does travel heavier, but as we've seen with the delays in supplying Joes already deployed to Afghanistan with the new OCP threads, it's hard getting all this gear where it needs to go. So would this mean Joe deploys with three pairs of two different uniforms to a war zone?...or more?
But on the flip side, I can see why the Army might want to examine all options before they make a call on one or more. As an insider told me, the Army is definitely in favor of a "universal" camo for its troops, they just haven't seen one yet.
Well, at least Newman's plan will keep Marines from hand dying their cammies like the Brits had to do...ugh...