Friday, March 4, 2011

Light the ABU on Fire and Shred It

These are some quite harsh words overheard from a deployed Air Force Captain. Apparently this is a common sentiment among U.S. Airman as noted in Air Force Times today. In what appears to be an unofficial poll of 40 Airmen, not one preferred the Airman Battle Uniform that they must wear when compared to other alternatives including the ACU. 

Air Force Airman (Pararescueman) in MultiCam ACU
Photo by US Air Force Sgt. Martinez
The overriding them of the article states that the move to MultiCam in Afghanistan is not only the right thing to do, but the ABU should be discarded altogether. This brings to question. What would it be replaced with? Well there is the ACU, which seems to be a suitable alternative for airmen that the author spoke to, due to its improved functionality in design, breathes better, and does not soil as easily. 

However, if the Army is looking to replace their current combat uniform due to lacking concealment properties, why even consider this? MultiCam is great for Afghanistan, but what happens when the Air Force needs to move to a new area of operation, where it does not function as well. A consensus on functionality, safety and cleanliness features, comfort, and concealment can provide a uniform that can carry both the Army and Air Force forward for many years. 

Perhaps a look back on the failures of choosing the previous options will allow them to not have to go through these changes and research costs, in another five years. The Marines seem to have a good thing going with their two MARPAT pattern, so the idea of 2 or 3 camouflage uniforms is not a crazy concept for multiple battle terrains. The idea to alter the ABU to Digital Tiger Stripe, simply to have a unique option for Airmen was also a bad judgement call. There are plenty of other ways that different branches can stand out from each other than a fashion show. Full article at Trash the ABU 

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