The Air Force announced yesterday the first unit of Airmen donning uniforms in the ever-popular MultiCam/Operation Enduring Freedom (OCP) camouflage pattern.
More than 180 joint expeditionary tasking Airmen assigned to provincial reconstruction teams are wearing the OEF Camouflage Pattern or "multi-cams," as their everyday uniform during their nearly year-long deployment to Afghanistan this summer.We know Lt. Col. McGowan well and she's been closely following with the initiatives of PEO Soldier -- both for gear and for camo. If it's working, she's going to do her level best to get the right kit to the Airmen in the fight.
While many individual Airmen already have been issued the Joint Service Solution Uniform, the Airmen in PRTs are the first Air Force personnel to don the OCPs. The uniform gives Airmen unique benefits and features that the Airman Battle System-Ground and Airman Battle Uniform cannot deliver. These features are important to PRT JET Airmen due to the high number of "outside the wire" tasks they perform to support the International Security Assistance Force mission to bring security, governance, agricultural support, reconstruction and development to Afghanistan and its people.
"OCPs have a more advanced camouflage pattern that blends in with the Afghan terrain, making our Airmen safer and more effective on the battlefield," said Lt. Col. Shawna McGowan, the Air Force future programs branch chief. "The material is also flame resistant, lighter weight than the ABS-G or ABU, and contains a pre-applied bug repellant."
One thing she said in the quote above surprises me a little -- and please anyone out there who can set us straight let us know -- but McGowan says the new JSSU is lighter than the ABS-G. I haven't worn an ABS-G uniform but I picked all over one last year in The Stan. And one of the things I liked best about it was the lightness of the fabric -- and one of the things I can't stand about the OCP getup is how ungodly heavy the material seems. Is the Air Force JSSU made out of the same blend as the ABS-G? Unclear...
Anyway, it's a step in the right direction over that disastrous "tactical Hawaiian shirt" pattern the Air Force is wearing now.