Camo Patterns and Their Origins

Camo Patterns and Their Origins

Camouflage print is instantly recognizable as being part of a military uniform. This is true all around the world, as it is the best method for troops from any nation to blend into their surroundings. Nowadays, camo patterns are becoming increasingly popular, having spread to prom dresses, jewelry and even wedding gowns, but where did it all begin?

Origins of Camo Patterns

In America, camo patterns were first introduced to the military at the time of the First Frogskin Camo PatternWorld War. Initial designs copied from European militaries were supposed to resemble foliage, and one design was made specifically for hiding in trees. However, camo patterns were not widely used until the Second World War, around 20 years later.

When it was introduced on a much larger scale, the camo print was brought in very quickly. 150,000 uniforms were requested by General D. MacArthur, and they were distributed in August of 1942. Primarily used by the U.S. Marine Corps (as well as the U.S. Army, to a much lesser extent), the uniform was reversible, having a ‘jungle’ pattern on one side and brown ‘beach’ design on the other. A similar double sided camo pattern was also printed onto waterproof fabrics, to make ponchos.

There was limited use of a leaf print camo pattern in 1953, with some clothing being worn during the Vietnam War. It was commonly known as the ‘wine leaf’, or ‘vine leaf’, print, and was once again reversible – this time with a ‘cloud’ pattern in different shades of beige and brown. These patterns were used for shelter covers, as well as for helmets towards the end of the decade.

Development of Camo Patterns

The camo pattern which was developed in 1948, shelved and later reintroduced in the 1960s, gives us the first glimmer of the camo print which we know today. The pattern was made up of patches of grass and lime green, with brown shapes and black ‘branches’, Woodland Camo Patternand eventually earned the nickname of ‘flower power’ fatigues. It is still copied to this very day, and variations can be seen worn by militaries all over the world. A variation of this camo pattern was printed in mostly brown colors, which was most suitable for mountainous or rocky areas.

Once the war in Vietnam came to an end, the use of this camo pattern diminished, although the U.S. Marine Corps still used it. It was not until the late 1970s that camo patterns were reconsidered for military uniforms, so the ‘Hot Weather Uniform’ was born. It reused old camo print fabric with the last pattern, although the colors did change slightly while in production.

This pattern was developed further in 1981, to become the ‘Woodland Camouflage’ pattern that is still known and loved today. The pattern was 60% larger than before, although the colors remained pretty much the same as they had been – a combination of brown, black, light green and dark green. Initially the pattern was designated as the standard dress uniform for both combat and everyday wear for the U.S. Army and U.S. Marine Corps, but by the late 1980s it had been rolled out across all branches of the U.S. military.

When the operations known as Desert Shield and Desert Storm began in the early 1990s, for the first time there was a real need for the U.S. military to have a camo pattern suitable for desert wear, rather than just the ‘jungle’ pattern. The pattern that uniforms were made of comprised wave type shapes in sandy brown and beige tones.

Modern Era Camo Patterns

Digital camouflage is a relatively new invention, as it only came into existence less than 20 years ago. The Canadian government wanted its Marines to wear a distinctive uniform Multicam Camo Patternwhich was different from the other branches of the U.S. military, so they used computer algorithms to come up with a pixilated pattern. Three MARPAT designs were produced, so called because they are ‘MARine PATterns’.

In 2004, the U.S. Army brought out its version of the digital camouflage pattern, which was, in fact, just the same as the Canadian version, but in a different color. The idea behind it was to create a single camouflage pattern which could be worn by soldiers in any situation, regardless of the environment in which they were working: urban, desert, or jungle. However, this technique has not proved successful at all as it seems only just to be ‘adequate’ as a measure of camouflage in any one of those settings.

The MultiCam pattern is the camo print which is most widely used in the U.S. military today; it has been issued to various military personnel, including the U.S. Special Forces, and all ground troops who are deployed to Afghanistan. It was introduced just four years ago in 2010, and is copied all around the globe.

The U.S. Air Force and U.S. Navy also have their own designated uniforms, although it was only in 2002 and 2007, respectively, that these were introduced. The U.S. Air Force settled on a ‘Digital Tiger Stripe’ pattern, and five years later the U.S. Navy introduced a uniform which has come to be known as the Navy Working Uniform Type I, or NWU-1. The difference with the naval camo pattern in comparison to other branches of the military is that it is not intended to camouflage the person wearing it, but rather it is designed to hide oil spills, paint and stains, which are all part of the job.

Discontinued Camo Patterns

Over the years there have been several rather unusual camo patterns used by the U.S. Night Desert Camo Pattermilitary, such as the ‘chocolate chip’ pattern which was designed in 1971. Intended for use in rocky climates, it was made up of brown shapes over a tan colored background, with a sprinkling of small shapes in black and white which were supposed to look like rocks. Another unusual pattern was the ‘Night Desert’ print, which was created around the time of the Vietnam War. It consisted of a green-grey grid with several small green spots arranged on top and was supposed to camouflage wearers from special Soviet night vision equipment. However, it failed miserably and was short lived as the night vision technology was far too advanced.

Of course, while camo patterns have been developed, there have been several designs which the military experimented with, but were dismissed along the way. Some of these include patchy brown and khaki fabric covered with well-defined green spots, a very simple pattern mostly in grey (termed the ‘urban MOUT pattern’), and a tiger stripe pattern for the U.S. Air Force, which was predominantly blue in color.

Although the fundamentals of U.S. military camo patterns have remained the same since they began around 100 years ago, the designs themselves have gone through quite a number of changes and developments. As technology is improving and we are constantly finding new ways to keep troops safe and hidden from threats, who knows what the next camo pattern will be?

Father’s Day for a Military Dad

Father’s Day for a Military Dad

When someone joins the military, it is not just that individual who takes on the military lifestyle, the whole family is affected. There is a huge strain on families who spend so much time apart, especially the children who may be too young to understand why their parents have to leave. That’s why It is so important to make the most of Father’s Day. It is an opportunity for kids to show their dads how they feel, so that they can strengthen their relationship.

It is an all too common sight for military families to have the dad deployed over Father’s Day. This means that not only do the dads and children already feel distanced, but it is even more difficult for the kids to show their fathers love and appreciation, as they’re so far away. It can be an incredibly lonely time for all members of the family. N oone likes to miss those big holidays.

However, It is important to make the most of what you can. Even the smallest of home comforts can make deployments easier for military dads. By sending a special Father’s Day care package, there’s no reason why a deployed soldier can’t experience some Father’s Day love! Pack in special treats from home or homemade gifts from the kids to make it all that more meaningful.

It is true that it may not always be possible to buy the biggest, fanciest gifts for military dads on Father’s Day, especially if they’re deployed. However, it shouldn’t matter. The media tries to make everything so commercial and pushes us into buying meaningless gifts for our dads, that sometimes we forget the real reason for the occasion. Military dads might be away, or they might have to travel a lot, but isn’t that the perfect way to make it really personal? Sure, you might not be able to send some expensive gift like society expects you to, but sending and receiving small, well thought out, handmade gifts will mean so much more to both dads and kids.

For those military dads who are lucky enough to be at home for Father’s Day, feel blessed. Being able to spend quality time together is so special, and it is just amplified on Father’s Day. This is definitely an opportunity to make the most of. Kids, shower your dads with love and appreciation, as that will keep him going while he’s away. Dads, take this chance to make sure your children know how much you love them!

Spending time with family is one of the biggest sacrifices that military dads have to make. They don’t get to spend nearly enough time with their children. Despite this, it is still a time to be embraced and celebrated by all military children, no matter where around the world their dads are. Father’s Day (which falls on Sunday June 15 this year), should be a reminder for military dads that their children love them no matter what. It is been said about lovers and it applies to children and their dads, too. Love knows no bounds.



Happy Birthday, Air Force!

Air Force PatchToday, the Air Force celebrates it’s 65th birthday and we have to say – 65 never looked so good.

The United States Air Force (USAF) was formed as a separate branch of the military on September 18, 1947 under the National Security Act of 1947. That’s right. It wasn’t until after World War II this military branch was formed. The air force was actually part of the the U.S. Army at first and was called by several different names since man was first able to take to the sky:

  • From 1907 to 1914, it was the Aeronautical Division, Signal Corps
  • From 1914 to 1918, it was the Aviation Section, Signal Corps
  • In 1918 for only a few days, it was called the Division of Military Aeronautics
  • From 1918 to 1926, it was the U.S. Army Air Service
  • From 1926 to 1941, it was the U.S. Army Air Corps
  • From 1941 to 1947, it was the U.S. Army Air Forces

The AAF controlled all parts of military aviation from 1941 to 1947 and at its peaks, included more than 2.4 million men and women in service, nearly 80,000 aircraft, and 783 domestic bases. By VE Day, it had 1.25 million men stationed overseas and operated from more than 1,600 airfields worldwide.

Even though the Air Force is the youngest branch in our military, it does not lack in either experience or ability. It is the world’s largest and most technologically advanced air force in the world with a focus on a variety of core areas. According to the branch’s 2010 Posture Statement, the USAF is focused on several core functions, including:

  • Nuclear Deterrence Operations
  • Special Operations
  • Air Superiority
  • Rapid Global Mobility
  • Agile Combat Support
  • Cyberspace Superiority
  • Personnel Recovery
  • Global Precision Attack
  • Space Superiority
  • Building Partnerships

According to Air Force Magazine, as of 2009, the USAF operates more than 5,500 manned aircraft in service under the USAF, Air National Guard, and Air Force Reserve. Additionally, as of 2009, it has 450 intercontinental ballistic missles, more than 330,000 men and women on active duty, 2,130 air-lauched cruise missles, and 180 unmanned combat air vehicles. It employs more than 150,000 civilians and the Civil Air Patrol, under the USAF, has over 60,000 auxiliary members. This makes the USAF the largest air force in the world – and it has one heck of a history.

Since its first inception, the Air Force has performed an integral role in the American military force during World War I, as Aviation Section, U.S. Signal Corps; World War II, as United States Army Air Forces; Cold War, Korean War, Vietnam War, Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm, Operation Enduring Freedom , and Operations Iraqi Freedom and New Dawn, to name a few.

The USAF has also taken in part in a number of humanitarian operations, including the Berlin Airlift (Operation Vittles), Operation Safe Haven, Operation Unifed Assitance, Operation Unified Response, and Operations Babylift, New Life, Frequent Wind, and New Arrivals.

Today, take time to celebrate the contributions, the history, and the bravery of the USAF. Write a letter to a military family who has a son or daughter that serves in this branch. Say “thank you” to a member of the USAF when you see him or her on the street. Display pride for this branch by hanging a USAF flag on your porch or by wearing an Air Force hoodie, Air Force hat, or Air Force t-shirt. Support injured veterans by making a donation or purchasing Oscar Mike Foundation apparel. Take a moment of silence to honor those who gave the ultimate sacrifice in service of our country.


Airman to be Awarded Air Force Cross

Air ForceAir Force Staff Sgt. Robert Gutierrez will receive the highest award an Airman can receive outside the Medal of Honor in late October. To us, that’s an amazing feat – but waits until you hear his story.

On October 5, 2009, Sgt. Gutierrez was assigned to the Pope Air Force Base’s 21st Special Tactics Squadron. He was with a team of Green Berets from the 7th Special Forces Group inside a building in the Heart province of Afghanistan. They were pinned inside, outnumbered by Taliban fighters. There was no escape route.

As combat controller, it was Sgt. Gutierrez’s duty to call in and direct air support during the attack. A gunshot wound to his chest had collapsed a lung while narrowly missing his heart, rendering him barely able to talk. But despite his injuries, he kept fighting, using his M-4 rifle to fend off enemy fighters. He refused to give up his radio.

“Throughout the four-hour battle, Sgt. Gutierrez’s valorous actions, at great risk to his own life, helped save the lives of his teammates and dealt a crushing blow to the regional Taliban network,” says a citation that will accompany Gutierrez’s medal. “Through his extraordinary heroism, superb airmanship, and aggressiveness in the face of the enemy, Sgt. Gutierrez reflected the highest credit upon himself and the United States Air Force.”

After a team medic treated his injuries and inflated his collapsed lung, Sgt. Gutierrez was able to cal in three runs from a A-10 Warthog, allowing the team to make it out alive while demolishing the enemy.

“I refused to give up on that soil,” Sgt. Gutierrez said in a recent media interview. “If I did, I would be a burden to my team and that was unacceptable. So I just drove on.”

A gunshot wound, a collapsed lung, two broken ribs, and multiple infections and blood transfusions later, it’s clear that Gutierrez is a fighter in the clearest sense of the word.

Sgt. Gutierrez will receive his cross sometime in October during a ceremony at Hurlburt Field, Florida, where he is currently assigned. The 31 year-old will be the second living Air Force Special Operations Soldier to receive the Air Force Cross and one of only five total, according to Air Force Special Operations Command. Since the medal’s start back in 1964, fewer than 200 awards have been given.

Sgt. Gutierrez, we salute you.