history of camo

This July we are celebrating all things Camo thru our Camo with a Cause giveaway - so why not take an abbreviated look at America's history in camo?


The first camo uniforms were issued to Army soldiers during during World War II, though one could argue these Herringbone Twill Uniforms - or HBTs - were little more than a slightly patterned.

These simple, patterned uniforms or some slight variant of them continued through the Korean War until the introduction of Mitchell Leaf CamouflageThe origins of this pattern are complex, with some citing an adaptation from tents. As the name suggests, it mimics actual leaves.

In 1965, the first glimpse of modern day camo was introduced. The Tigerstripe was created for the dense jungle conditions of Vietnam.

The EDRL pattern hit the scene in 1967 for special operation units. It was named after its place of development, Army's  Engineer Research & Development Laboratories. 

In 1981, the EDRL was issued as the Woodland Pattern and it became the Battle Dress Uniform or BTU until 2006. This pattern has been used by all four branches - and is still in use by the Navy today.

The Desert Battle Dress Uniform or DBDU was introduced in 1982 and was used by the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines. It is no longer used by American soldiers.

A three color desert pattern hit the scene in 1990 as a Desert Combat Uniform for the Navy. It gained wider spread use in 1992, when the other three branches began using it.


Army: The current Army Combat Uniforms, or ACUs, are in the familiar, yet controversial, Universal Camouflage Pattern. This digital camo is what comprises our Camo with a Cause line. As you click thru this photo gallery of combat uniforms, the first image is a striking composition of the camouflage at work. The MultiCam is in limited use by special forces and other special units.

Navy: The Navy Working Uniform is a ringer for the Army Combat Uniforms - in blue... Introduced in 2009, it is used today.

Air Force: In 2007 the Air Force introduced the Airman Battle Uniform. It is currently in use today.

Marines: The Marine Pattern, or MARPAT, was introduced in 2002. It comes in either a woodland or desert color and closely resembles the woodland pattern first introduced in 1981.


In May, the Military Times reported the Army plans to replace the current ACU pattern with the Scorpion W2 pattern at a cost of $4 billion. Wow! Word on the street is it will happen somewhere around 2018.

Share & Win!

Which patterns are you most familiar with? Which were used when you or someone you love served?

Leave a comment and let me know, then click over to our Camo Contest page and enter to win camo in your color. It's as easy as uploading a photo and letting people vote! Share your camo, share a patriotic photo, share something that exudes your love of country.

By entering, or sharing this post via the social share buttons below, you bring awareness to Team Red, White & Blue! Thank you!