|US Air Force Photo by Sr. Airman Stives|
An end of an era has arrived as effective today November 1st, the U.S. Air Force will no longer utilize the Battle Dress Uniform. The ABU will be worn by the majority of Airman including Air National Guard and Reserves.
Exceptions to the rule being those operating in Afghanistan where the MultiCam Camouflage pattern has been utilized for Operation Enduring Freedom as well as AFSOC.
Much debate has arisen to the effectiveness and comfort of the Airman Battle Uniform, which has already undergone improvements. However, it is now the go to choice for the Air Force which will not only replace the Woodland BDU, which encompassed all services at one time.
The U.S. Air Force reports that the Digital Tiger Stripe Pattern put an end to the Desert Combat Uniform as well. Essentially we are looking at another "Universal Camouflage" Scenario such as adopted by the US Army with UCP on the ACU. However, we can see how well that has worked out with both Branches jumping on the MultiCam Bandwagon in Afghanistan and dubbing it OCP for Operation Enduring Freedom Camouflage Pattern.
It will be especially be interesting to see how the Air Force moves as the Army goes through their final selection process for their Camouflage Improvement Effort. Will they just jump on board with the new patterns and colorway or perhaps take a page from history and simply snag a similar colorway with a "unique" pattern.
Obviously the BDU is not forgotten or lost to Military History. It is certainly a favorite of hunters and their are plenty of SWAT Teams and other related organizations. Many still appreciate the design as will as the time tested Woodland Camouflage that lasted into the 21st Century long after Digital Patterns made their way as the favorable choice for concealment.