The 20 major changes made to the Army Combat Uniform - ACU for short - are functional rather than cosmetic, the Army says. Buttons have been replaced by zippers; chest pockets have been moved to shoulders, to be accessible under body armor; patches are now Velcro attached rather than sewn in place; the camouflage pattern is a pixilated mix of green, tan and gray without the eye-attracting black element in previous camo designs. And regulation boots? They are now tan, no-polish suede desert models, minus the stiffness and maintenance of those that slogged through European theaters and Vietnamese jungles.
All the changes are meant to facilitate the movement, safety or visual integration of soldiers into woodland, urban and desert environments, the combat scenarios of today. The promised ease of wear and care speak of a more focused fighting force, centered on combat conditions rather than ceremony or mindless details of dress.
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