Posts Tagged ‘Afghanistan’

Sprinkle some water on your CAB . . . maybe it will grow into a CIB!

February 2, 2017

So said my endearing Senior Non-Commissioned Officer (NCO) with a huge grin, uponcib my pinning on my Combat Action Badge (CAB) in 2005 after my first Iraq deployment. So why the humor (other than standard NCO busting out an officer)? The CAB is a relatively new award initiated in 2001 where the Combat Infantryman Badge (CIB) has a much older lineage back to 1943 when it was initially referred to as the Combat Assault Badge. The name was changed that year to the CIB and stars added to indicate award of the badge in separate wars.

Award of the CAB is not limited by branch or military occupational specialty like the CIB; however, to receive the CAB, a Soldier must not be assigned or attached to a unit that would qualify the Soldier for the CIB – meaning I think that a soldier should not have both a CIB and a CAB?  “September 18, 2001, is the effective date for the new award, when President Bush signed Senate Joint Resolution 23, authorizing the use of military force against those responsible for the recent attacks launched against the United States.”

cab-miniThe CAB, whose design features both a bayonet and grenade, may be awarded to any Soldier performing assigned duties in an area where hostile fire pay or imminent danger pay is authorized, who is personally present and actively engaging or being engaged by the enemy, and performing satisfactorily in accordance with the prescribed rules of engagement, according to the specific eligibility requirements.

The requirements are laid out in a Department of the Army letter published on June 3 which lays out the documentation required to receive the CAB badge. This includes eyewitness detailed description of the engagement, the enemy forces, and the nature and consequences of the engagement.  This same letter also discusses changes to the Combat Infantryman Badge and the Combat Medic Badge. HQDA Ltr 600-05-1 and (See AR 670-1). The CAB is categorized as a Group 1 badge.

The CIB has a bar which is blue (color associated with the Infantry branch). The musket is adapted from the Infantry insignia of branch and represents the first official U.S. rifle (well really a musket – the 1795 model Springfield Arsenal musket). It was adopted as the official Infantry branch insignia in 1924. The oak symbolizes steadfastness, strength and loyalty.

Military Actions covered by the CIB: World War II:   Dec 7, 1941 – Sept 3, 1945 Korean afghan-expWar:   Jun 27, 1950 – July 27, 1953 Laos:   April 19, 1961 – Oct 6, 1962 Vietnam:   March 1, 1961 – March 29, 1973 Dominican Republic:   April 28, 1965 – Sept 1, 1966 Korea DMZ:   Jan 4, 1969 – but before Mar 31, 1994 El Salvador:   Jan 1, 1981 – Feb 1, 1992 Grenada:   Oct 23, 1983 – Nov 21, 1983 Panama:   Dec 20, 1989 – Jan 31, 1990 Persian Gulf War:   Jan 17, 1991 – April 11, 1991 Somalia:   June 5, 1993 – March 31,1994 Kosvo: Afghanistan: Iraq: The complete criteria for each area and inclusive dates are listed in Army Regulation 600-8-22.

iraq-expSo there is a little well intentioned ribbing between the “little CAB” who would and the “mighty CIB” but at the end of the day, both represent that the individual wearing the badge answered the call to defend our country when needed and moved toward the sound of the guns in the most demanding circumstances.

(shown Afghanistan Campaign Medal; Executive Order13363 on November 29, 2004 and Iraq Campaign Medal created by Executive Order 13363 on 29 November 2004)



New Army Combat Uniform – sort of

June 2, 2015

Comments and references to the in-depth article written by Kyle Jahner, Army Times Staff writer.

OCP shooter us army photo

As we read, the Army finally transitions to new Army Combat Uniform in July – well sort of. This is both a new garment design and a revised camouflage pattern. I say revised because if you follow Army camouflage since 2010 in particular and the Army Camouflage Study you are aware of the extensive process followed to select a more effective pattern than Universal Camouflage Pattern or UCP.  UCP may have moved along to selection at too fast a pace in response to the USMC digital and the quest for just one pattern for all or most environments. We thought the UCP pattern was the best at the time – we now know we missed the mark. We also thought that Velcro (hook and loop) was the best way to close pockets – well, again “yes and no.”

We need to congratulate the Army on is it’s willingness to change and modify what we thought was the best at that time and make it even better. As technology changes and enables improvements such as taking weight out of an item or making an item more durable or more protective for Solider, the Army is right there willing to evaluate these changes and continue to make gear and equipment better. Even in this environment of tight budgets, the Army continues to move forward and improve Soldier capabilities.

The two changes are (1) the selection and naming of Operational Camouflage Pattern as distinct from Scorpion or MultiCam — and (2) eight design changes to the garment design. According to the Army a four-year transitional phase designed is planned.

Col. Robert Mortlock, Army Program Manager of Soldier Protection and Individual Equipment, stressed the Army’s “fiscally responsible” integration of the new ACUs.indicated that “We’re going to transition over time.”  According to Army Times writers, Mortlock praised the new OCP as the product of years of operational tests, developmental tests and photo simulations across a wide spectrum of environments. The Army tested several competing patterns including commercial submissions like such as MultiCam, Kryptek, Hyperstealth and others.

Starting next month, through 2019, there will be three different uniforms authorized for wear for soldiers in garriso, (1) ACUs with the gray-green Universal Camouflage Pattern, (2) Flame-resistant ACUs using MultiCam (issued to deploying soldiers since 2010), and (3) ACUs with the new OCP pattern.

Its interesting tThe new Army Combat Boot is coyote brown.hat the Army policy is to allow Soldiers to fall out in 3 different uniforms during this four year transition. Not sure how that will play out at the unit level.  At the same time, the Army is introducing new coyote brown boots featuring 100% Solution Dyed Nylon Cordura fabric.

The uniform rollout will consist of three phases.

July: 19 installations, including Fort Bragg, North Carolina; Fort Campbell, Kentucky; Fort Lewis, Washington; Fort Stewart, Georgia; Fort Benning, Georgia; Schofield Barracks, Hawaii; Fort Hood, Texas; Fort Drum, New York; Fort Carson, Colorado; and South Korea.

Sept: 28 installations, including National Capital Region (including the Pentagon); Fort Bliss, Texas; Fort Riley, Kansas; Fort Knox, Kentucky; and Germany.

Nov: 63 installations, including Fort Gordon, Georgia; Fort Sill, Oklahoma; Fort Sam Houston, Texas; Fort Jackson, South Carolina; Fort Lee, Virginia; and Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri.

UPDATE: Uniforms and equipment in the Operational Camouflage Pattern will be available for U.S. Army National Guard, U.S. Army Reserve, and Senior Reserve Officer Training Corps during summer 2016.  

The uniforms will become standard issue in clothing bags in January.  When asked if the OCP and MulitCam are the same patterns the Program Office answered this way:  “They are different patterns. But they perform very similarly in providing that concealment to soldiers.”  OCP uses a similar color palette of greens, browns and beige as MultiCam OCP seems to have a less intricate pattern, lacks MultiCam’s vertical elements, and has colors that are slightly more green.

A full ACU currently costs $102.04, according to the Army. That includes coat ($41.86), trousers ($42.43), patrol cap ($7.41), riggers belt ($3.73), T-shirt ($4.48) and drawers ($2.13).

Design changes

According to the Army Times article this is what is new from a garment design:

  • Mandarin Collar: A new fold-down design eliminates the hook-and-loop closure and the flap extension.
  • Upper Sleeve Pocket: A zipper replaces the hook-and-loop closure. The Infrared Identification Friend or Foe Tab will be covered with a nylon tap on both sleeves. The pocket will be longer by one inch.
  • Elbow Patch: Internal pads removed along with the hook-and-loop; double fabric reinforcement retained.
  • Sleeve Pen Pocket: Two pen pocket channels instead of three.
  • Trouser Waistband: No longer includes drawstring.
  • Cargo Pocket: No longer includes cord-and-barrel lock.
  • Knee Patch: As with elbow pads, no more internal pads or hook-and-lock, double-fabric reinforcement remains.
  • Lower Leg Pocket Flap: Button Closure added as another hook-and-loop closure disappears.

Gear and accessoriesMOLLE

The Army will also issue organizational clothing and individual equipment in the OCP pattern. That means rucks, body armor and helmets will eventually be covered in OCP material.  While uniforms can mix camouflage patterns, UCP uniforms cannot be worn when using OCP or MultiCam gear. Another note of interest is that the Army decided not to follow the Marine Corps in issuing coyote-brown color equipment.  According to the Army Times, “Our testing indicates that it’s better for concealment if OCIE camouflage pattern matches your uniform. That’s going to provide better concealment,” Mortlock said.

Desert and woodland variants

Getting back to the Army study, the original intent was to have three camouflage patterns: desert, jungle, and transitional. The OCP pattern is a transitional pattern. It’s unclear whether the Army will eventually issue desert and jungle variants of the uniform.

US Army Photo

US Army Photo

The long road from UCP to OCP we all know was started way back when with Future Force Warrior and before and navigated through Scorpion to UCP to MultiCam and finally OCP. For those interested in reliving how we came to be where we are today, please review the complete article at  For another even more in-depth analysis check out