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Army’s Fashion Fatigue
New York Times ^ | October 5, 2006 | LILY BURANA

Posted on 10/05/2006 12:20:43 PM PDT by 68skylark

West Point, N.Y. IT would be shallow to say that I fell in love with the soldier I married because of his uniform, but it would also be partly true. It’s Cupid’s oldest trick: dress a man for war and love walks in.

Every girl who’s had her head turned by a uniform has her favorite, and for me there is nothing quite like the command of camouflage. A fitted, heavily starched long jacket and bloused trousers in a dark green, black and brown woodland pattern over polished black boots, the Battle Dress Uniform, to me, is the American soldier.

But the B.D.U. is being phased out. Soldiers have been ordered to purchase two sets of the newer Army Combat Uniforms by next May, and soon, like the brown leather boots of the early cold war, the Vietnam-era pickle suit and the chocolate chip Desert Storm camo, the B.D.U. will be history. And I will miss it.

My husband and I are, in the eyes of many, an oddly matched Mr. and Mrs., an Army intelligence officer and a pop-culture-obsessed writer. To paraphrase an old recruiting slogan, ours is not just a marriage, it’s an adventure, a two-person cultural exchange program. Because of him, I can identify a Blackhawk, Apache or Chinook helicopter by the sound of the blades slicing the air overhead. Because of me, he exfoliates.

In the beginning, I favored the B.D.U. because it acutely highlighted the differences between us as individuals, but over time, it has also come to underscore the contrast in our roles.

Spouses don’t experience firsthand the bombs-and-bullets Army — we see only the ceremonial ribbons-and-medals Army, the workaday pack-and-move-every-few-years Army — and my husband’s B.D.U.’s were my connection to the viscera of soldierdom. They were honest....

(Excerpt) Read more at ...

TOPICS: Culture/Society; Government
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To: brazzaville
Too French (not exactly TS, but all I could find):
As seen on
61 posted on 10/05/2006 1:28:57 PM PDT by MeanWestTexan (Kol Hakavod Lezahal)
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To: Al Gator

Second for both comments.

62 posted on 10/05/2006 1:29:17 PM PDT by norton
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To: 68skylark

The East German uniforms were better looking, but I preferred ours better :-)
63 posted on 10/05/2006 1:29:55 PM PDT by struwwelpeter
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To: 68skylark

64 posted on 10/05/2006 1:30:22 PM PDT by Notwithstanding (OEF vet says: I love my German shepherd - Benedict XVI reigns!)
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To: Al Gator
"...Him and his cronies are all in their 60s... And another guy I just read about is either 70 or pushing it. Last month's issue."

I just retired, wonder if they need any creaky spooks?

65 posted on 10/05/2006 1:32:38 PM PDT by norton
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To: mystery-ak; Cyber Liberty; WhyisaTexasgirlinPA; CholeraJoe; AFPhys



Yeah.... My grandkid had a couple little toy "weapons" like that. Complete with the red cap and blanks!) 8<)

Now, you want to talk real weapons ...

By the way, I have to ask Whydoesatexasgirllikehermarinewithnouniformonatall?

66 posted on 10/05/2006 1:33:54 PM PDT by Robert A Cook PE (I can only donate monthly, but Hillary's ABBCNNBCBS continue to lie every day!)
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To: Al Gator
Good afternoon.

Throw on a locally made tiger beret and the girls go crazy.

Of course you still have to buy them some tea, eh.

Michael Frazier
67 posted on 10/05/2006 1:34:24 PM PDT by brazzaville (no surrender no retreat, well, maybe retreat's ok)
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To: mystery-ak

Did you take that picture at the Denver Fed Center. It looks familiar.

68 posted on 10/05/2006 1:34:57 PM PDT by art_rocks
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To: MeanWestTexan

LOL! Now, that's hilarious.

69 posted on 10/05/2006 1:37:36 PM PDT by demnomo
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To: sean327

God bless your son and keep him safe....

70 posted on 10/05/2006 1:41:20 PM PDT by Kimmers
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To: 2banana

I personally believe Marines in most any uniform look good. My hubby looks quite hot in his blues, however, his bdu's are my favorites.

71 posted on 10/05/2006 1:41:36 PM PDT by Millicent_Hornswaggle (Retired US Marine wife)
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To: art_rocks

Fort Dix NJ.....he's now in Iraq...

72 posted on 10/05/2006 1:42:44 PM PDT by mystery-ak (My Son, My Soldier, My Hero........God Speed Jonathan......)
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To: Octar

Okay, diet coke all over the screen. That's a good one, although I will say, when I call Terminix, I am generally very happy to see him when he gets here. My oldest son wants to be an entomologist and I just want to squash any bug I see in or near my home. He wants to pick it up, play with it and study it. I thought it was cute when he was 3, now he's 14 and really into it.

73 posted on 10/05/2006 1:43:56 PM PDT by Millicent_Hornswaggle (Retired US Marine wife)
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To: Notwithstanding

Nice old photo!
Have you ever noticed that in some of the really old West Point group photos,
circa the Civil War/War Between the States, some of the cadets are holding hands?
So what's up with the `ring-knockers'?

74 posted on 10/05/2006 1:50:17 PM PDT by tumblindice ( 7.62X39=dirt cheap)
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To: 68skylark

My husband in his uniform is the sexiest man ever. I could care less if it's the ACU or the BDU. Actually, I prefer the dress blues if given a choice. My favorite military uniform is the Marine dress blues, however I wouldn't want my husband in them! :)

75 posted on 10/05/2006 1:51:54 PM PDT by Kaylee Frye
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To: 91B
I wonder why so many Marines seem to feel the need to run down the other services so often.

It's just their culture. I ignore it.

76 posted on 10/05/2006 2:04:26 PM PDT by 68skylark
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To: sean327

I grew up as a Navy brat. I remember all the Jarheads in Subic and Yokosuka. I tended to look at them, even as a dependent, with a slight air of...not contempt, but...we used to call other kids Jarheads as an insult. When they stood watch at the head of the gangways, stock still at attention, we used to go up and hassle them. Poked them in the stomach. Tried to make them move. But they wouldn't. We would throw firecrackers near them to see them jump. (As a dumbass kid...I did not know exactly the effect that might have on some of them who might not be that far out of a war zone...)

When I joined the Navy myself, I still maintained a bit of that...there has ALWAYS been the "Squid versus Jarhead" thing going on.

I remember being on the flight deck once, and watching a bunch of Marines in full combat gear running across the flight deck into the waiting chopper. They must have been taking part in a timed exercise, because they were running their asses off, a couple of them had their pots kind of going down over their eyes because they didn't seem to have them secured correctly while they ran like hell.

I watched this with some detached interest. As I looked to my left, I noticed there was a Marine standing in the catwalk with a camera, taking a picture of the guys running. He had a vaguely goofy look, and as our eyes met, he said "Uhh...uhh...uhh...Marines..." as he pointed at them.

I rolled my eyes and thought to myself..."Typical brainless Jarhead..." For some reason, that image stuck with me for years, to this day.

However, now, with a few more years behind me, and a lot more in my head (relatively speaking) I view this vision I had much differently.

Since then, I have become a military history buff, and have read extensively on military campaigns, mostly from WWII onwards.

I read about how the Marines fought on Guadalcanal, hand on throat, with a hand on their own throat, against a vicious, tenacious, resourceful and intelligent enemy who could match our troops plane for plane, ship for ship and man for man.

I read about Peleliu, Tarawa, and the unbelievable bloody, bloody caranage of Iwo Jima.

I read about the retreat from the Chosin Reservoir, how the Marines saved the day, against greater than 10 to 1 odds in unbelievable, freezing weather with inadequate equipment and supplies. How they made shelters out of the frozen bodies of their foes. How, after the most horrible privations, fought their way out of a trap on all sides, and marched their way into the stunned presence of their fellow Americans in step, to cadence, heads held up. Just unbelievable. Somehow, many Americans just do not know about this.

How in Vietnam, the Marines punished the enemy, repeatedly, over and over again, only to hear how the war was lost. The vicious battle in Hue, and the astounding siege at Khe Sanh. (with a little bit of help from the USAF...:)

Now, when I think of those young men, long ago on the flight deck of the USS JFK, running out to that helicopter, I don't think of brawny, doofus Jarheads. I think of young men who provide the spine of America. They have certainly provided the blood. Any time I see someone or talk to someone who is in, or has been in the US Marines, I shake their hand (as I do with all Vets and Military personnel) and say thanks. But for Marines, there is a little more in that handshake.

I believe it was Hemingway who said it best: "I would rather have a good Marine, even a ruined one, than anything in the world when there are chips down."

Semper Fi to all you Marines out there from a Squid.

77 posted on 10/05/2006 2:10:02 PM PDT by rlmorel (Islamofacism: It is all fun and games until someone puts an eye out. Or chops off a head.)
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To: 2banana
You want to pick up chicks? - wear the dress blues with all the fruit salad.

I don't have much fruit salad on mine. But when I do I'll keep your advice in mind!

I'm actually looking forward to wearing the dress blues more in the future, as the dress greens get phased out.

78 posted on 10/05/2006 2:18:19 PM PDT by 68skylark
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To: B-Chan
Those blue dungarees don't exactly show up real well at night when you're floating in the middle of the South Pacific watching your ship disappear over the horizon.

That's true, but you don't want to make it worse. I always thought blue and the darker navy blue were specified for those colors because blue dyes are the cheapest and most permanent dye color available, or were back when that color was first used.

79 posted on 10/05/2006 3:06:47 PM PDT by FreedomCalls (It's the "Statue of Liberty," not the "Statue of Security.")
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To: 68skylark
I got back in after a 15-20 year break in service, and now I think I'm the Army's oldest 1LT!

You might be oldest, but I had over 8 years time in grade as a 1LT, and not nearly enough break in service to account for that. It had to do with the differences between promotions for those on extended active duty and people in the reserve and guard. I put on the silver bar in June of '75, put on the rail road tracks in '84, but back dated to early '83. I was a reservist and guardsman from Dec '75 on, with a break in active reserve from mid '78 to November of '82.

80 posted on 10/05/2006 3:14:13 PM PDT by El Gato
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