A new uniform item is coming to the US army – the Combat Cloth Face Covering (CCFC) or, in civilian terms, a camouflage face mask. More than a year on since the Coronavirus swept the globe the US Army has finally moved to standardise a general issue mask. Starting next year, every new soldier can expect to receive a pair of masks, the army announced on Wednesday.

Current regulations regarding face covering are rather liberal:

Soldiers are authorized to wear the neck gaiter and other cloth items, such as bandanas and scarves, as face masks. […] Soldiers will not wear masks that have printed wording, profanity, racist, demeaning or derogatory logos, script or imagery. Soldiers must not attempt to cut up clothing materials such as army combat uniforms to use for face masks as these may have been treated with chemicals. If available, cloth colors should be subdued and conform to the uniform.

A US soldier using a regulations-conforming face covering – the issue neck gaiter (US Army)

In other words, almost anything goes. Considering that rolling out the new item will take some time, it is reasonable to expect that similar standards will remain in place.

The new masks come in response to a recommendation made by the Army Uniform Board over the summer. Development and production of the “Army-designed, -tested, and -refined face mask” was apparently expediated, although cynics will note that designing and manufacturing a camouflage-imprinted piece of “combat” cloth is not something one would expect to take multiple months.

U.S. Army Maj. Ronovan Ottenbacher, deputy joint force surgeon, Combined Joint Task Force – Horn of Africa (CJTF-HOA), teaches a Battlefield Acupuncture class to Task Force Bayonet Soldiers at Camp Lemonnier Djibouti, Dec. 14, 2020 – while all present are masked (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Dana J. Cable)

In its official release announcing the CCFC roll out, the Army also gave updates on a number of other upcoming exciting uniform items: Improved Hot Weather Combat Uniform-Female (IHWCU-F), Hot Weather Army Combat Boot-Improved (HW ACB-I), Black Athletic Socks, and Army Physical Fitness Uniform-Maternity (APFU-M). These are expected to be rolled out in 2021 and 2022.

The most perplexing among these items is undoubtedly the “Black Athletic Socks”. How come these aren’t known as “Army Physical Fitness Combat Athlete Black Stockings Short (APF-CABSS)”, or something similar, is a question that continues to mystify even the greatest scientists and philosophers amongst us.


This article was written by Jakub Wozniak and originally published over on TFB’s sister site, OvertDefense.com. Check out OVD for the latest defense news and updates.



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