Marines go to the Web, select pixel pattern for new fatigues

Marines go to the Web, select pixel pattern for new fatigues


The Marines Corps went high-tech in its design for new camouflage fatigues. The uniforms, which will be ready for Marines to buy by the end of the year, were designed by computer and feature a pixel pattern that resembles computer chips.

An Internet poll of Marines helped determine which pattern to use out of more than 100 proposed designs. 'A lot of teamwork went into this combat utilities program,' said Capt. Burrell Parmer, a spokesman for Marine Corps Systems Command in Quantico, Va. 'It was for Marines and decided by Marines.'

The pixel design on the new Marine camouflage uniform helps the wearer blend more quickly into the background.
After the Marine Corps Uniform Board narrowed the proposed designs down to three, the Corps took the matter to the Web. The board posted an opinion survey and was surprised by the response.

'The initial survey targeted a response from 10 percent of the active-duty forces,' Capt. Daniel Dukes, secretary-recorder of the uniform board, told the Marine Corps News. 'However, we received a reply from about 15 percent of the active-duty force, which was far more than we expected.'

More than 23,000 users'active, reserve, retired and former Marines'took part in the New Utility Survey to rate the designs.

The pixel design proved to be an overwhelming favorite, said Maj. Gabriel Patricio, head of the Combat Utility Uniform Project.

Marines liked its uniqueness from other service branches, Patricio said. The uniform includes angled chest pockets with Velcro fasteners, new infantry combat boots and jungle and desert boots.

Gen. James Jones, commandant of the Marine Corps, finalized the plan early last month to field the new uniforms.

'Ultimately, the pixel computer-generated pattern was selected,' Patricio said, because it 'blended very well with a variety of surroundings under a variety of conditions.'

RothTech International, an Australian company, helped the Marines design the digital pattern by using proprietary software to prepare printing screens. Marines'including snipers who rely on camouflage for survival'worked on different versions of the print to enhance its appearance and performance.

The new design blends into backgrounds more quickly than the Corps' current camouflage pattern of black, brown and green, Marine officials said.

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