Dude, seriously?

I mean I get it that the Joes put these things through the ringer. But didn’t we have these problems with the ACU introduction and the Army claimed it fixed them? According to PEO Soldier who sent us a statement on this, yes.

The new OCP uniforms are hot off the assembly line and made with Defender M flame-resistant fabrics. They’re heavy weight and seem tightly stitched.

But a source tells Kit Up! that the material just wasn’t holding up. This time it’s not the stitching or the crotch design, it’s the full-on fabric that’s the problem. PEO has recently completed a crash program to source a new fabric that’s about 40% stronger than current Defender M. They went outside the DLA track and are making about 100,000 uniforms until DLA can catch up.

After receiving feedback from the field that showed the recently-issued flame-resistant pants printed in the new Operation Enduring Freedom camo pattern weren’t holding up to the rigors of the Afghan environment, the Army quietly solicited samples from industry for fabrics that were strong enough to stand up the beating.

After a series of lab tests and field trials with Soldiers at Fort Bliss, the Army selected a rip-stop fabric made with Rayon from Union City, Ga.-based TenCate.

“We found that this was about 40 percent stronger on average than our current fabrics in the OCP uniforms,” said a defense official with knowledge of the program.

But don’t expect your new duds until at least October…gotta wait til the new fiscal year frees up some moolah.

Be sure the read the full story tomorrow morning at Military.com.

{ 35 comments… read them below or add one }

Frank August 31, 2011 at 1:38 pm

On my deployment in Afghanistan Nov.08-Jun.09 out of a platoon of over thirty infantry Marines over half of us had holes in are combat trousers, right at the crotch. Which sucked only because after not being able to take a shower for six months, the smell that vented from those holes was ungodly.


major.rod August 31, 2011 at 3:15 pm

I saw these pictures on Mike Yon's blog. He has others.

Frank, I'm curious. Where were the holes? Knees or along seams?

I'm sensing that this "problem" may be a combination of less than perfect equipment and some forgetting that combat environments are tough on gear. Back in the 80's the Nam vets would tell us that their uniforms (OG107 jungle fatigues) fell apart on them from extended use in the field. Unwashed uniforms will degrade quicker than washed ones because the dirt attacks the thread in the seams. I also remember after two weeks in the field we would use duct tape and whatever to repair our uniforms.

Our BDUs and chocolate chips didn't fair too well in the desert either after going a month without showers (even less water for washing uniforms).


Kris August 31, 2011 at 8:32 pm

I had a pair pants that were new( I took the tags off before the patrol) rip while climbing a wall and I am not the only one with a story like that. It is not due to poor maintenance but poor crotch design and materials.


Frank August 31, 2011 at 9:02 pm

you know the Crotch, right were Michael Jackson grabs with a simultaneous pelvic thrust and emphatic, falsetto, "Ooooooooooow!".


BUG August 31, 2011 at 4:24 pm

The Australian troops are suffering the same problems but seems the Crye made pants in particular are where the problem lies with seams splitting and cloth/fabric tearing. Quote from aquaintance over there:

"That sounds about right. I'm down to my last pair of wearable pants. It'll be back to DPCU soon."


Doc August 31, 2011 at 4:30 pm

Ok why the heck are these guys wearing the crotch flaps with the plate carrier I mean seriously wearing that thing on a dismount is completely pointless.


defensor fortissimo September 1, 2011 at 4:06 am

1: The article is about pant's coming apart, quite often at the crotch, those flaps cover a multitude of sins.
2: Let's face it, when it comes to the safety of your gonads, is it really posible to be to careful? Let's not give Jody any real reason to stick around


Jolly Green August 31, 2011 at 4:39 pm

Just like Tillman's death…********


Nick The Brit August 31, 2011 at 5:33 pm

Have had a problem with blowing either the crotch or ass out of all the pants I've worn, from BDU to ACU. It's a trade-off between light & breathable vs durablity.


bluedevil123 August 31, 2011 at 5:51 pm

What's up with the Tillman post? Random.

I agree with the Brit although I am not sure why a Brit is wearing ACU's? – I have had issues with every pair of pants I have worn in combat. The terrain is so steep in areas around Jalalabad and Khowst, you have to slide on your ass to get down it. I don't care what kind of pants you're wearing – they are going to get torn up. I wore a brand new pair of DCU pants that I had never worn while working on my roof last summer. There were holes in the knees and butt after 4 hours on the roof. Should I take them back (after sitting in my attic for twelve and a half years)? Chalk it up to rough conditions.


chaos0xomega September 1, 2011 at 5:08 am

An acquaintance of mine recently back from his first deployment told me a wonderful story about his first day in the AO (outside the wire), long story short his unit was conducting a humanitarian mission in a remote Afghani village. They had to be brought in by helo, as soon as he gets out of the chopper and takes a knee, his pants rips from the crotch down to the knee on the right side of his pants. Well, his First Sargent had advised him not to wear underwear on the op for whatever reason… So there he is, 2LT Newbie shaking hands and trying to win hearts and minds and drinking Chai Tea… Its real hard to win hearts and minds with your 'gun' flappin' in the wind for all to see… There is more to the story, but we won't go there…


Bear September 1, 2011 at 7:31 am

The Tops always have to take care of the Butter Bars.

Bear Honorary CSM 9th Inf. Regiment


Eric September 1, 2011 at 6:22 am

This happened to two of my pairs of pants in the first month. They reinforced the seems but now just the fabric itself tears next to the seems…. Right at the crotch and all the way down. It makes for a nice vent in the hot months… but your balls are hanging out. Crotch seem reinforced garrison ACUs do the same thing, the fabric tears next to the seem after it's re-in-forced. I

I ended up taking my last two pairs of pants to the sew shop and had enforcing patches sewn on the inside and outside right where the rips start. Did that with my replacement pants and have not had an issue since.

Pretty shitty though that you have to do that at all though. I think it is more of a design issue with the pants themselves and not so much the fabric.


William September 1, 2011 at 6:30 am

Does anyone know how the new fabric compares to the old in terms of weight and breathability?


neiljo September 1, 2011 at 8:30 am

i think that it would come down to a widely known fact that nothing is made in the good ole USA any more.While the supplier may be US the actual fabric is probably not made here.but made in a sweat shop in gheng'du or a gutter in tiauana. lets face it the bean counters and congress only want the best for themselves.


Tiger One September 1, 2011 at 12:31 pm

I don't believe it my BDU in the closet have a tag that says they were assembled in Honduras! Perhaps if they had been made in AMERICA, by AMERICAN'S, they'd be better quality, than those assembled in other third world countries! {:-(}


Riceball September 1, 2011 at 1:22 pm

What do your old BDUs have to do with Army ACUs ripping? BDUs are not the same thing as ACUs not only in cut, camo pattern, and material but they're also all made in the US now due to the Berry Amendment.


Lance September 1, 2011 at 1:58 pm

Just be easier for the Army to adopt OCP uniforms as standard issue and get ride of those horrible grey uniforms.


Sgt A September 1, 2011 at 5:36 pm

Even our FROG uniforms had this problem terribly. It's bad when we can go out on one patrol and come back with 20% of our pants torn apart, and others ready to come loose. Not sure if more fabric and more stitching may help, but just to extend the lifetime.


Scout September 1, 2011 at 5:49 pm

This is pure irony.. I mean with all the 'fuss', engineering, fancy names of fabrics, and research , testing, and $$$ that makes it all go, our fathers and grandfathers are laughing at us from the grave. They fought through all sorts of hell wearing various wool, cotton, and cotton/poly blends that were all 'good nuff'. The whole camo thing is mostly bad science crafted to make money and promote the 'coolness factor' of soldiering to the youth – and this obsession with tech-fabric has gone well beyond sane materials engineering, and into "silly land". The dang'd things were probably ripped by the ghost of David Hackworth. Give these guys some 50-50 rip stop and they will be fine. Let's focus on learning how to think, shoot, and fight, and get off the combat fashion trip. Make it tough, sensible and put the pockets in the right spots and you will be gtg.


Mike September 2, 2011 at 4:02 am

The fabric is actually made is South Cartolina. Berry Amendment, google it.


Matt(B4) September 2, 2011 at 6:22 am

Its been no differant here with the ACU's made out of the same material, the last set of FRACU"s that I got (circa 08-09) held up fine and our mission set was a lot more demanding so I don't really know what is up with the fabric. The only difference between the set's I was issued last year and the this deployment has been the integration of the Promethren (spelling?) bug repellent in the fabric from the assembly. Thats the only thing. I have not really ever had an issue iwth ripped uniforms and fabric until this year. The normal ACU's have worked just fine for me. I have seen quite a few guys rip those as well however.


Go Navy! September 2, 2011 at 8:53 am

This is sad how we can't even have proper military equipment for our troops. This is due to cost cutting. They have to find the cheapest fabric and cheapest thread to make these uniforms. If we stop sending unnecessary funds supporting on countries that don't even like America. Maybe we can have some proper uniform and weapons. (Bring back the BDU and M14)


Lance September 2, 2011 at 10:56 am

Im with you on this no problems with BDUs at all wasn't till the pentagon switched to there own service uniforms did all these problems come to be. M-14 have made a BIG comeback in the last 10 years and while the Navy still uses classic M-14s the Army is using the modular EBR which is a great DMR.


Guest September 2, 2011 at 1:12 pm

At the risk of sounding like an airsoft fanboy, I think the OCP pattern is far better than both the UCP and BDU. Digital patterns are fine, but it was the UCP's color choice that ruined it.


Nick The Brit September 2, 2011 at 10:12 am

Former Brit… Now US Army – maybe I should change my handle!


Matt(B4) September 2, 2011 at 11:45 am

Lance… dont get me started on the M14. Pile of shit and a completely stop gap measure to say the least. I loath that thing. And yes, I've used it.


Tom September 2, 2011 at 2:59 pm

Christian – Just to second the first commenter on this thread. My Marines and I had this problem with every pair of FROG trousers that were issued us in Helmand. It was not uncommon to see 1/2 of a 30 man patrol with splits from their crotch to their calf (hearts and minds right?). The S4 eventually got replacements, but they would rip just within a week. I think that it was a combination of walking through really silty water and then drying out (and repeating and repeating etc) and generally poor design.


ChrisBlackwell September 3, 2011 at 2:54 pm

Nothing new is it? In Vietnam I had holes in my pants in the seat and the only reason that I got replacements was the colonel got tired of seeing so much of my ass. We always figured that most of our supplies were going to the Viet Cong. As for the M14, well I found it to be a dependable weapon, far more so than the early M16.


arm82 September 5, 2011 at 7:35 am

The article is grossly misleading. No company can provide any supply that does not fit the military's set standard. Period. So, if something is not performing, the company making it can't make a change until the govt changes their standard.
The pants have been ripping for a long time; this is nothing new. Defender M material performed the best among all fabrics tested based on the previous standards of flame resistance, durability, weight, and breathability.
When the government finally decided to change the standards, all of the vendors got to submit their options. The Improved Defender M fabric is the only one that met all of the new requirements for performance. It should be noted that fabric standards were not the only updated spec as a result of the ripping pants – those for the stitching thread and construction design were as well.


arm82 September 5, 2011 at 7:35 am

So while this article would love for you to think that this is a case of an evil money grubbing corporation taking advantage of our troops by sending crappy materials to save a buck, in reality, it's much less movie-plot-worthy. Instead, it's just the government realizing that their old standards no longer worked, and all involved stepping up to the plate to fix the problem.
And no, I do not work for any of the people making any of these decisions, I just happen to know a bit about this particular situation. Don't villainize companies that work hard to protect our troops because it makes your story sound more exciting. Not everything is a conspiracy.


arm82 September 5, 2011 at 7:39 am

New fabric will be comparable in weight and breathability


arm82 September 5, 2011 at 7:40 am

the fabric is made in Union City, GA, and has been for years.


Jason245 July 24, 2012 at 2:19 pm

The Multicam pants seem better sewed at the seams, but the material itself gets thinner around the crotch, knees and backside after a few weeks hard use. My grandmother used to call it "threadbare", when the fabric got like that. I've had to use my own money to get my few pairs of pants sewn up here at our FOB in between missions, and it's ******* me off.


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