Marines in Japan will put new tropical uniforms and boots through the rigors this summer as they trudge through double-canopy jungles and murky waterways in peak humidity.
As Marines’ deployments to tropical locales heat up, the Corps is on the hunt for lightweight, breathable boots and utes that dry quickly in rainy, humid climates. About 400 leathernecks from the Hawaii-based 3rd Marine Regiment will wear the tropical uniform prototype along with four pairs of combat boots for a three-week wear test at the Jungle Warfare Training Center in Japan.
Lt. Col. Rob Bailey, product manager for infantry combat equipment at Marine Corps Systems Command, said the wear tests will be conducted during scheduled training. Marines at the Jungle Warfare Training Center rappel from steep cliffs, carry mock casualties through fields of mud, trek through brown waters, cross rope bridges and complete endurance courses — all while the jungle canopy sends humidity levels soaring.
“The operationally realistic training in a challenging environment will provide good feedback on the effectiveness, durability and other characteristics of the boots, and will help to inform the development of performance specifications,” Bailey said.
Tropical utility uniforms
ReadyOne, a military garment manufacturer based in El Paso, Texas, provided the uniforms for the wear test. The company used various combinations of nine materials for different utility uniforms. Marines will test them all to determine which is lightest, quickest to dry, and able to withstand the rigors of jungle operations.
The Marine Corps teamed with the Army when asking companies to identify a lighter uniform fabric that improves moisture management and reduces dry time without sacrificing durability and protection. The tropical utilities will have permethrin treatments that helps repel insects before they are issued, which typically last for 50 washings. Officials also looking into flame resistance treatment.
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