"The Army & Air Force Exchange Service has been temporarily authorized by the Army Clothing Services Office (CSO) to offer the Operational Camouflage Pattern Army Combat Uniform and related accessories to Army National Guardsmen and Army Reservists -- regardless of rank or active-duty status -- at ShopMyExchange.com," according to a recent AAFES press release.
The authorization comes a little more than a year before the Oct. 1, 2019, deadline when all soldiers must wear the OCP uniform.
"This temporary exception allows the exchange to bring the convenience of online uniform shopping to Guardsmen and Reservists," Air Force Chief Master Sgt. Luis Reyes, the exchange senior enlisted adviser, said in the press release.
The Army announced its plan to field the new camouflage pattern, which is very similar to MultiCam, in June 2015 after a multi-year effort to find a more effective pattern than the digital Universal Camouflage Pattern, or UCP, which soldiers criticized for being ineffective in war zones.
The new OCP uniforms became available in military clothing stores in July 2015, and the Army began issuing the uniforms to new recruits in early 2016.
In addition to the OCP blouse and trousers, the uniform includes a 499 tan T-shirt and belt and coyote brown boots. Soldiers are authorized to wear the desert sand T-shirt, belt and boots -- designed for the Universal Camouflage Pattern uniform -- with the OCP until Sept. 30, 2019.
The Army's pattern has proven so effective that the Air Force announced in May that it is also adopting the OCP and plans to have all airmen wearing the uniform by April 2021.
-- Matthew Cox can be reached firstname.lastname@example.org.