AMC civilians to test new uniforms in combat zones
July 3, 2008
FORT BELVOIR, Va. -- The Army Materiel Command is expected to begin a one-year pilot program early next year to determine whether the Army should develop a standard issue uniform for deployed civilians.
In the pilot, deploying AMC civilians will wear a solid tan-colored version of the Army Combat Uniform with insignia that identifies them as civilians. The majority of currently deployed AMC civilians wear the Desert Combat Uniform, while a few wear office work attire or even the ACU when deployed with certain units. The new uniform would standardize the way AMC civilians dress and help commanders more easily identify them as Army civilians.
"AMC Commanding General Gen. [Benjamin S.] Griffin initiated this program after talking with Gen. Petraeus [commanding general, Multi-National Force-Iraq] and other leadership while traveling in theater. He was seeking a way for AMC to better identify our civilians with standard attire while deployed," said Clyde Cargill, chief of the Logistics Assistance Program/Contractors on the Battlefield branch of AMC's deputy chief of staff G-3/5 office.
AMC pulled together personnel from several of its staff sections including command counsel, command contracting, and the AMC command sergeant major, and the Program Executive Office Soldier to develop the proposed uniform.
AMC decided to leverage the already existing ACU program as a way to quickly develop a standard uniform with features similar to the ACU which would provide its civilians with the same level of protection as Soldiers. The Natick Research, Development and Engineering Center, Natick, Mass., worked with PEO Soldier to create the prototype uniform using the raw materials from the ACU pattern and made it a solid tan color.
"After AMC developed a prototype uniform, Gen. Griffin took it to theater and showed it to the Army leadership and they agreed it would be the right thing to do," said Cargill.
During the pilot, deployed AMC civilians will be issued solid tan-color uniform trousers, uniform coats, a patrol cap and a sun hat. They would also get the extended extreme cold-weather clothing system Gen II parka and helmet cover without communications flap. Tan boots, tan t-shirts and rigger belts are already issued to deploying civilians.
"AMC will go through a formal evaluation process to see how the tan color holds up to stains, and see if the uniform demonstrates an orderly and disciplined appearance. To do this, AMC will talk with civilians wearing it and get opinions from AMC and non-AMC leadership in theater to ensure it is meeting the intent," said Marcia Enyart, a contractor supporting the AMC G-3/5.
The next step is to award the contract for the new uniforms, which will include enough for each AMC civilian to be issued four sets. Once stock levels are sufficient with a variety of sizes, which is expected early next year, the uniforms will be stored in a warehouse at the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' Unit Deployment Center - known as the UDC - in Winchester, Va.
Uniforms will be issued to AMC civilians who attend their pre-deployment training at the UDC, while civilians who attend their training at the Continental United States Replacement Center at Fort Benning, Ga., will receive the uniform by mail during the seven-day training session.
"AMC will not retrofit the uniform to civilians already in theater - it will be given to civilians who are deploying at the time the command starts to issue them," said Enyart.
If the program is successful, uniforms could be issued as organizational clothing and individual equipment to all Army civilians who deploy.