The Marine Corps continues to dial up jungle operations, with thousands of troops rotating through places like Australia, Guatemala and Japan each year. Marines have been quick to embrace the change of scenery from the deserts of Iraq and Afghanistan, but one big hurdle remains: Their existing uniforms are ill-suited for unrelenting humidity, heavy rains and perpetual sogginess.
The Marine Corps teamed up with the Army to find new uniforms and boots that can hold up in hot, tropical climates. About 400 members of the Hawaii-based 3rd Marine Regiment are testing four tropical combat boots and several tropical utility uniforms at the Corps’ Jungle Warfare Training Center in Japan this summer. Soldiers in Hawaii are also testing the new gear.
The uniforms feature lighter fabrics that dry quickly, vents in the sleeves and mesh tuck-ins on the trousers, among other changes. The Army is testing a cooling combat shirt and both services are trying out several variants of new lightweight boots.
The hope is to finalize a new tropical wardrobe by 2018 that is lightweight, quick-drying, comfortable and durable. Marines testing the gear have seen some immediate benefits, but say some serious improvements are needed if the items are expected to hold up in real-world operations. Here’s a look at how the uniform tests are going, and what could make it into your next tropical wardrobe.
Read more at Marine Corps Times
Image courtesy of Lance Cpl. Tyler Ngiraswei/Marine Corps