New Army recruits will now join soldiers already wearing the Army Combat Uniform in the Operational Camouflage Pattern thanks to Defense Logistics Agency Troop Support.
Approximately 91,000 coats and pants have been provided to the Army’s four recruit training centers since Dec. 28 in support of nearly 20,000 recruits, Monique Williams, C&T Army recruit cell branch chief said.
Each recruit receives four sets of coats and pants, in addition to uniform accessory items, including underwear, socks and boots. The camouflage pattern change to OCP also included some updated design elements, in addition to slight color changes in t-shirts, boots and belts, Williams said.
The Army initially released the updated uniform in select military clothing sales stores around the globe in July. C&T has been working with the Army and other stakeholders for nearly two years planning the OCP rollout, Dave Farrell, C&T plans and integration division chief, said.
The supply chain overcame several hurdles to successfully position uniform stock at RTCs in time for the transition date, including holiday-timing challenges and vendor production capacity, Steven Merch, field clothing division chief, said.
“There was a juggling of capacity for the vendors as we had them produce both the legacy uniform and the new uniform for the rollout,” Merch said. “Plus these vendors also produce the (fire retardant) version of the [ACU].”
Recruits who were issued Operation Enduring Freedom camouflage pattern replacement uniforms prior to the RTC rollout will receive replacement uniforms in the same pattern they were initially issued. Therefore, vendors are still producing reduced quantities of uniforms in the legacy uniform pattern, Merch said.
C&T’s small industrial base also continues to produce uniform items for all of the other military services while adhering to necessary production line changes for the Army uniform items, Thomas Holtz, recruit training division chief said.
“We still have a small, finite industrial base that has to produce all of those uniforms,” Holtz said.
C&T planners are watching uniform item demands closely and are working with customers to fill them accordingly, Williams said. Planners are manually filling stock at the RTCs until the demand patterns stabilize, which is typical of new item introductions, she added.
The updated uniform transition also required removing excess material from the RTCs to store OCP uniforms.
“Trucks were pulling up, dropping off OCP (uniforms), and loading up (legacy uniforms) and taking them out,” Holtz said.
At the Army RTC at Fort Benning, Georgia, 1,300 recruits have been issued the fiscal 2016 clothing bag, which includes OCP ACUs and accessories, Gary Glenn, Fort Benning’s chief of supply services division, said.
Glenn’s team stores and issues uniforms to recruits at Fort Benning. And they’ve been positive about the new uniform in comparison to legacy uniforms, noting their increased durability, he said. Approximately 26,000 recruits are estimated to report to the base for basic combat training and one-station unit training in 2016.
The successful rollout of the OCP uniform so far is due to the team effort in which C&T has worked with the Army program office, Army G-4 Logistics, Army Training and Doctrine Command, Army and Air Force Exchange Service and the Army Clothing Service Office, Williams said.
Farrell said C&T is “well ahead” of outfitting the Army in OCP uniforms before the mandatory possession date, Oct. 1, 2019.