Camouflage is the art of making something blend in with its surrounding. While camouflage has been used by armies since ancient times, camouflage uniforms did not become standard issue in the U.S. Army until after the Vietnam War. Since then, the Army has used a number of camouflaged uniforms. The most recent, introduced in 2005, is the Army Combat Uniform in "universal camouflage pattern." It is designed to offer camouflage in urban, woodlands or desert environments.

First Use of Camouflage

Even though camouflage uniforms did not become standard issue until the Battle Dress Uniform (BDU) was introduced in 1981, the U.S. Army started developing camouflage concepts during World War I. For most of the First World War, camouflage was used to hide equipment such as canons and firing positions, rather than individual soldiers.

First Use in Uniforms

The first use of camouflage by the U.S. Army came when, in 1942, General Douglass MacArthur ordered 150,000 frogskin-patterned camouflage uniforms for his troops in the Pacific Theater of World War II. Most of these uniforms went to the Marines, but a few Army units also received and wore them. The next regular use of camouflage by U.S. soldiers began in 1967, during the Vietnam War. Camouflage uniforms were generally limited to special forces and reconnaissance units. Camouflage uniforms continued to be used in special situations until the BDU phased out olive drab uniforms in the 1980s.