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How to Wear the Army ACU Uniform

Updated on June 19, 2012

The Army Combat Uniform (ACU) is the current uniform worn by the men and women in the United States Army. This new type of uniform became standard-issue for all deployed troops in 2005. The ACU's were made to work in all types of environments - Urban, Desert, and Woodland, and they are made out of 50% nylon and 50% cotton. They use a digital camofulage pattern in slate gray, desert sand and foliage green pixel pattern. These patterns become darker or lighter depending on the exposure to sunlight.

Before I go into the wearing of the Army Combat Uniform (ACU) I wanted to show you the different parts of the uniform. There are 5 main parts (not including socks and undergarments) and each part has "special features".

Patrol Cap

  • Constructed with a double thick bill.
  • Hook and loop tape (Velcro) in the back.
  • Map pocket on the inside.

Tan T-Shirt

  • Moisture-wicking tan T-shirt

ACU Jacket

  • Mandarin collar worn in the down position.
  • Slanted pockets on left and right breast with Hook and loop tape for easy access.
  • Hook and loop tape shoulder pockets that allow for the wearing of unit patches, skill tabs and recognition devices.
  • Elbow pouch with hook and loop tape closure for internal elbow pad inserts.
  • Shoulder Pockets - for maximized storage, easily accessible on the left and right shoulders.
  • Integrated blouse bellows for increased upper body mobility.
  • Three-slot pen pockets for easy access.
  • Slide fastener (zipper) front closure reinforced with hook and loop tape.

ACU Trousers

  • Easy access slanted cargo pockets.
  • Knee pouch with hook and loop tape closure for internal knee pad inserts.
  • Bellowed calf storage pocket with hook and loop tape closure on the left and right legs.

Tan Boots

  • Moisture-wicking inside.
  • Removable insoles.
  • 4 eyelets and 4 speed hooks on each eyestay for quick lacing.
  • Reliable durability for miles of on-foot travel.

How to wear ACU's

1. Put on the tan T-shirt, ACU pants, green boot socks and tan boots

2. Tuck your ACU pants into your boots.

My husbands ACU jacket with all patches
My husbands ACU jacket with all patches | Source

3. Before putting on your ACU top there are several things it needs to have before it can be worn.

  • Rank - Worn in the center of the chest
  • Name Tape - Contains your last name only and is worn above the top of the right breast pocket
  • US Army Name Tape - Worn above the top of the left breast pocket
  • Unit Patch - Left shoulder gets the patch for the unit to which you are currently assigned. The right shoulder gets the unit patch of any unit with which you served in a combat zone.
  • Skill Patch - These are "special" patches such as Ranger or Special Forces - They go on the left shoulder above the unit patch.
  • US Flag - The US Flag goes on our right shoulder pocket flap right above the unit patch.
  • Any Qualificaiton Badges

4. Put on your ACU jacket.

5. Put on your patrol cap.

If you have any questions you can search for your answer in the Army Regulation 670-1.

Kid Uniforms

They also make ACU's to fit the special little kids in your life.


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    • CassyLu1981 profile image

      CassyLu1981 5 years ago from Spring Lake, NC

      lindacee - Yup, like everything these days, they are so much easier to take care of! Makes my Army wife a lot easier since I don't have to help iron and shine boots anymore, but I do miss it :( Thanks for the votes!!!

    • lindacee profile image

      lindacee 5 years ago from Arizona

      Wow, there are a lot of components that go into an army combat uniform. I'm glad to hear they are making them with lighter weight, moisture-wicking and easy care materials. Voted up and interesting!

    • CassyLu1981 profile image

      CassyLu1981 5 years ago from Spring Lake, NC

      teaches12345 - I completely understand what you mean. Thanks for reading and the comment :)

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 5 years ago

      Didn't know there was so much detail to this Army uniform. I see lots of people wearing this type of clothing every day. It sometimes makes me sad because I honor the uniform for what it represents. Interesting hub topic and well written.

    • CassyLu1981 profile image

      CassyLu1981 5 years ago from Spring Lake, NC

      You used to have to iron them and sine the boots and all that fun stuff and now it's all wash and wear and the desert boots so you don't even have to shine them any more. Kind of makes me sad how it has become so easy these days but I guess that's what happens with time. They try to make everything "easier". Thanks Simone for the comment :)

    • Simone Smith profile image

      Simone Haruko Smith 5 years ago from San Francisco

      It's cool to know where everything goes. Military uniforms have become much more simple over the past 2000 years or so, but there is clearly still some nuance to wearing them correctly!

    • CassyLu1981 profile image

      CassyLu1981 5 years ago from Spring Lake, NC

      leahlefler - I haven't broken down and gotten my kids the little uniforms yet but I know many MANY people who have! They like to use them for halloween costumes :) Thanks for stopping by and the comment!

    • leahlefler profile image

      Leah Lefler 5 years ago from Western New York

      This is very interesting - there are a lot of steps to the ACU Uniform - the kids' uniforms are so adorable!