USAF personnel deploying to Afghanistan in 2011 will receive a new uniform as part of their deployment gear beginning in March. This new uniform is not a matter of image or heritage but instead has resulted from a joint initiative that ensures all outside-the-wire deployers in Afghanistan, regardless of branch of service, have the best ground combat uniform in order to enhance combat effectiveness. The new uniform, called the Operation Enduring Freedom Camouflage Pattern, or OCP, is the same uniform recently fielded in Afghanistan to U.S. soldiers At first, Airmen receiving the (Airman Battle System-Ground, or ABS-G) uniforms with mission responsibilities outside the wire in Afghanistan will have priority for the OCP.
The plan is for the OCP uniform to eventually become the only ground-combat uniform worn by Airmen in Afghanistan both inside and outside the wire, she said. This also will minimize the number of bags Airmen will carry into and out of the theater.The material also contains a bug repellant.
Since the OCP is replacing the other uniforms, there also will be a savings that will come from not needing to store and supply both the ABS-G and ABU. This won't be the first time Airmen have worn this camouflage pattern in Afghanistan though.
Some Air Force personnel who are assigned to Army units were already issued the OCPs in the Army fielding initiative that began in August. These uniforms will be issued to individuals, and they won't be covered out-of-pocket by Airmen. Individual units won't even be authorized to purchase these uniforms for the foreseeable future.
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