It’s a long way from the steamy jungles of the Laotian border, but when you’ve got a quasi-guerrilla unit on your side, sometimes it’s best to just go totally Old School.

We did some missions with a couple operators from the Afghan National Defense Service — their equivalent of the CIA — during our embed, and I saw one of the officers wearing new-school Tiger Stripe cammies and thought it was a one-off.

Well, it looks as if it might be part of the issued gear of this shadowy force, based on some shots I found on the ISAF web site. You don’t have to be a photosimulation engineer to recognize that this pattern might not exactly be the most optimal for the NDS’s operational environment. The new versions of the Tiger vary widely, but this one is clearly way too dark for anything other than the deepest, most shadowy jungle battlefields.

But there is, of course, the “cool” factor in all this. Tigers look mean (except, of course, the Air Force version) and even with the myriad camo patterns floating around Afghan security forces, these are very different from their counterparts. And besides, trading on a little bit of the Vietnam MACV-SOG mystique might play well even in the most remote qalats.

{ 24 comments… read them below or add one }

James June 7, 2010 at 10:43 am

I think it would be helpful to the readers if the article images were linked to the (if available) high-res originals, especially in a case like this where the embedded image is essential to the article.


Bob June 7, 2010 at 1:18 pm

The increase in moral and esprite furnished by a good looking STRAK uniform is worth more than, its ability to completely blend in with terrain. Tiger stripe looks good and historically has been worn by some of the greatest Special Ops, and light fighters the world has ever known. Sometimes the old timely and proven stuff is better than the latest gee-whizz stuff dreamed up by the eggheads.


Chuck June 7, 2010 at 4:51 pm

I got my hands on a set of tiger stripe cammies and boonie hat off e bay when I was training Iraqi swat teams last year in Babylon province, I think it took 3 months to get to me. They looked cool but I heated up like a TV dinner in the sun so it was back to boring tan 511 gear after one day.


Garry Owen June 8, 2010 at 4:41 am

When I was in Viet Nam with the First Cav we were not allowed to wear tiger stripes.


Ted June 8, 2010 at 4:41 am

They DO make those guys look like ultimate bad-asses. I always liked that tiger stripe pattern.


@UncleWillie June 8, 2010 at 5:53 am

Looking cool, or at least not looking like a dork, is a big part of morale.

I jumped into Northern Iraq with the 173rd Airborne, and our commander at the time had us apply camo face paint before we jumped, and then after we landed any time we went outside of the compound we had to put it on as well. We looked ridiculous. We were wearing DCUs with loam and green face camo, patrolling in towns, cities, or deserts. His intent, I guess, was to impress upon the local population that we were serious soldiers. The actual effect was to get us laughed at by the local population, and to put a pretty big dent in our morale.

If the ANDS are doing missions where camouflage isn't really practical do to the terrain or operations tempo, I can understand why they choose form over function. No one wants to engage the enemy looking like a dork.


Stormcharger June 8, 2010 at 7:45 am

LOL. I just have to point out that it's not very likely that these guys operate heavily during the day. Tiger Stripes are very good at breaking up the human siloette in low light and darker conditions. Unless the enemy is now making heavy use of night vision gear, most would not know these guys made a midnight visit in the bad guys back yard.


Infidel4LIFE June 8, 2010 at 8:48 am

during the Vietnam War, there was talk of taking the white eagle off the 101st uniform, but it was thought HAVING that rocker on thier shoulders meant too much to be taken off. I AGREE..


Shay June 8, 2010 at 9:30 am

Seriously…they could at least upgrade to the desert color TS's and be a little better camo'd. It just makes good common sense.


Bluesman9600 June 8, 2010 at 9:56 am

I always thought the point of Camo gear was to blend into the environment for concealment? Am i missing something here with the Tiger Stripes?


bullet6 June 8, 2010 at 11:42 am

Morale and esprit de corps are better served with equipment that promotes a longer lifespan, than with material unsuited for the environment or operation. NCO's need to put a halt to this kind of Rambo crap by informing their troops of what works and why it works.


glebur June 8, 2010 at 12:18 pm

"Real" 60's pattern Tiger Stripe has a LOT more light streaks in it than the pattern pictured. The pattern pictured is the current commercial version of tiger strip without the white tones. It is not the U.S. milspec pattern of that era, although there are so many variations made in country at the time to the point that there was no ARVN standard.


Infidel4LIFE June 8, 2010 at 12:45 pm

yeah, they look mean, but damn i'll take multi-cam anyday. not the Army ACU, not for a-stan. multi-cam…


Cowboy50 June 8, 2010 at 12:54 pm

I think that what ever works for anyone should be used and who cares what you look like, you're not over there to make any kind of fashion statement and I sure didn't when I was in Vietnam or Iraq I just wanted to make it home and see guys in my outfit done the same. It sound s like all of these comments are from are from a bunch of sissies worrying about whether or not they have their make up on right and are wearing the right clothes. I'll bet a lot of these people never seen any combat!! Your time is over in the military and let the higher ups, NCOs not them whining officers that spend all their time in the rear drinking coffee and eating bon-bons stay out of what to wear and not to wear.


Lem June 8, 2010 at 8:13 pm

I wore the golden tiger stripe in A-stan back in 03. They work great but the orignal ??


TTe June 9, 2010 at 2:05 am

Pardon,I think you gave your comment in the wrong forum!


bodybagger June 9, 2010 at 9:50 am

I used tiger stripes in Afganistan in the 70's while acting as a 'civilian' observer helping the Afgans fight the Russians. We wanted to be BAD ASS in look and it fit the bill. I think anything that freaks out the insurgents is a "GO" with me.


Trex June 9, 2010 at 12:33 pm

Sporting goods stores sell some really good cami gear for deer hunters, some of the sand/ brown/grays look like it might actually work in the desert environment. Cant be much worse than some of the 'stuff' we use now.


Andrew June 11, 2010 at 4:55 pm

You're right on the money buddy. People still talk about all that MACV SOG stuff. Give 'em something of our genoration's war to uggle over.


Andrew June 11, 2010 at 9:05 pm

Wny not just wear a solid flat tan combat uniform? or the OD 107 jungle fatigues again. they were great. Long enough to where your gear didn't block the lower pockets and the fabric breathed well. all this cammo is cool in all but really, K.I S. Keep It Simple


samir May 9, 2011 at 11:58 am

we are proud of you tigers


joshua May 22, 2011 at 1:23 am

ACU's are garbage and ill argue that point to the desk jockey that dreamed up this stupid design till there gone. multi came finally somone is thinking and knows what we need so glad i got my issue of them. make s me miss my BDU's but still look good and function.


cecil October 25, 2011 at 4:15 am

i love the tiger striped camo my father wore it in vietnam


bodybaggerBAGGER March 1, 2012 at 12:50 pm

You're a ******* joke..I can always sniff out the 2-5 posers on ANY stick out like an infected ****!! Seriously..get a ******* life. "A-stan in the to fight russians..youre a ******* TWATWAFFLE! Let me guess..after that you went back to being black ops, general deputy comander,special agent in charge of rambo-navy seals kill squad viper command one?? **** you!


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