first published on September 30, 2019 by Funker
The United States Army is officially retiring the Universal Camouflage Pattern (UCP) on October 1, 2019, much to the relief of soldiers and veterans everywhere.
The Universal Camouflage Pattern, which is often mistakenly called ACU, the name of the Army Combat Uniform the pattern was printed on, made its debut in 2004 as a one size fits all camouflage that would be equally effective in an urban, dessert, and woodland environments.
The consensus ended up being the the Army adopted a pattern that was equally ineffective anywhere… a jack of all trades, master of none type situation.
The problem wasn’t the digital pattern. The Marines’ MARPAT is highly effective, and they stole the pattern from the Canadian military’s Canadian Disruptive Pattern (CADPAT), which has also proven to be effective in its intended environments. The UCP’s downfall was the color scheme.
Gray can certainly be an effective color addition to a camouflage pattern. Depending on the shade of gray, it can be very neutral and insignificant to catch little attention from a watchful eye… Yet, the gray shade chosen for UCP was just as much blue as it was gray, making it “pop” in many settings.
In all fairness though, UCP did alright in the urban environments of Iraq. It wasn’t terrible. I think it actually did pretty well in the mountainous regions of Afghanistan as well, especially after a couple of weeks worth of filth saturated the fabric. Let’s look at a few examples of UCP not totally sucking from some of my deployment pics:
However, we all know the environment in which UCP offered the wearer total indectibility. That environment was the day-room couch, and the wearer is any SPC/E-4. Although trained and proficient in all warrior tasks and drills, the Army Specialist is also a master of concealment allowing him to evade any such tasks.
Universal Pattern allows the Army Specialist to avoid detection and getting picked for any details. The UCP offers the added benefit of couch camouflage, causing the sham artist to fly under the radar of most NCO’s, thus allowing him to concentrate on hand-to-hand combat techniques demonstrated in mid-day television marathons of NCIS.