US Marines deployed to Japan will be testing new fast-drying tropical uniforms and boots, testing their ability to handle adverse jungle conditions during a brutal training exercise.
According to the Marine Corps Times, around 400 Marines based out of Hawaii’s 3rd Marine Regiment will test the uniforms as they conduct a scheduled three-week training exercise at the Jungle Warfare Training Center in Japan.
Product Manager for infantry combat equipment at Marine Corps Systems Command Lieutenant Colonel Rob Bailey said that the wear tests will be conducted during the training- where Marines will deal with wet, humid conditions as they traverse cliffs, mud, brown water and endurance courses.
“The operationally realistic training in a challenging environment will provide good feedback on the effectiveness, durability and other characteristics of the boots, and will help to inform the development of performance specifications,” Bailey said.
The uniforms are made by ReadyOne -a Texas-based manufacturer of military clothing- and feature a combination of nine materials for different types of uniforms, which the Marines will test to see which is better suited for jungle operations. In addition to testing for ruggedness, the evaluation will also see which uniform is lightest and quickest to dry in wet conditions.
The new uniform prototypes range from fire-resistant cotton to a polytetrafluoroethylene blend, according to company spokesman Pat O’Connor. The uniforms will retain the proprietary USMC MARPAT woodland camouflage pattern and be treated with permethrin treatments that repel insects for at least 50 washings of the garment.
Just as important as the new uniforms, new boots will be evaluated as well. The Marines bought 100 pairs of each of the four new prototype boots from manufacturers Original Footwear, Belleville, and Rocky, respectively.
The new boots will be tested for durability and quick-drying ability, which will cut down on foot injuries related to dreaded diseases like “jungle rot.”
The request for the new uniforms comes as US Forces find themselves being deployed more frequently to the Asia Pacific region, with the US Marines and Army making more frequent stops in places ranging from the Philippines to Australia.
Also interested in the fabric is the US Navy, who worked with companies for 24 months to create the Lightweight Navy Working Uniform, which is considered about 1/3 lighter than the blue digital uniform. Sailors in select locales were able to get the new uniform earlier this year, and all recruits should expect them as standard issue around October.
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