What is an Army ACU uniform?

An Army Combat Uniform (ACU) is the current uniform worn in combat by soldiers in the United States Army. The ACU uses a camouflage pattern called the Universal Camouflage Pattern (UCP) which blends the colors tan, green, and grey to look naturally occurring in all environments like desert and wooded territories. The ACU is usually worn in combination with either a black beret, or a patrol cap in UCP. The uniform usually consists of a moisture wicking tan t-shirt under the ACU jacket and trousers. The uniform is composed of 50% cotton, and 50% nylon making it both breathable and easy to clean.

Army Combat Uniform Standards:

Army regulation 670-1 requires all soldiers to wear an ACU according to certain standards. The condition of the uniform must be free of rips, holes, or tears. It must also be clean, and stain free. A soldiers current unit patch must be attached on the hook-and-pile fastener on the left sleeve, while a soldier may choose which combat patch he has earned to display on the hook-and-pile fastener of the right sleeve. A soldier's name patch must be fastened to the right chest's hook-and-pile fastener, while his branch affiliate tape must be fastened on the left. All soldiers must wear a tan t-shirt under the ACU blouse unless they are fuel handlers in which case they may wear a green undershirt. Soldiers are required to wear green or black knee-high socks under eight inch desert combat books. Soldiers serving outside the continental US are required to wear identification tags (dog tags) at all times.

Where to buy ACU uniforms:

There are a number of online retailers that provide discounts on ACUs. Be careful however to make sure that the online retailer specifies that they are selling a government specified production of the uniform. Look for phrases like "army approved" or "gov't spec FQ/PD 04-05A" to be sure that what you are ordering is legitimate. You may be given a clothing allowance to help subsidize the cost of purchasing and maintaining your uniform. Be sure to verify that the ACU you are purchasing meet all allowance requirements before expecting compensation.

If you are on base, usually the best option is to purchase your uniform from the Army and Air Force Exchange Service (AAFES) store. You will not be charged sales tax, and you are guaranteed to get a quality uniform. If the budget is extremely tight, you can also save money by visiting your local army-navy surplus store, or even look for deals at garage sales.