Desert Camouflage Uniform

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General Richard B. Myers of the U.S. Air Force wears the Desert Camouflage Uniform during a December 2001 visit to the USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN-71).

The Desert Camouflage Uniform (DCU) is an arid camouflage uniform used by the United States Armed Forces. It is nearly identical to the U.S. military's Battle Dress Uniform (BDU) uniform, albeit featuring the three-color desert camouflage pattern of dark brown, mint green, and beige, as opposed to the pale green, dark/light brown, beige, and black and white rock spots of the Desert Battle Dress Uniform (DBDU).


First issued in 1989,[1][2] the DCU and its camouflage scheme, officially known as the Desert Camouflage Pattern, and also known as "coffee stain camouflage", was developed to replace the six-color desert camouflage "chocolate-chip camouflage" uniform, which was deemed unsuitable for most desert combat theaters. As opposed to the original six color DBDU, which was meant for a rockier and elevated desert battlefield that was often not encountered and replaced the former DBDU, the DCU was meant primarily for a lower, more open, and less rocky desert battlefield space which became a common sight throughout the Persian Gulf War. It was in heavy debate of issuing the DCU in conjunction with the woodland BDU to members in the United States Air Force Auxiliary, the Civil Air Patrol but was never issued.


U.S. Army[edit]

U.S. Army soldiers in May 2005 wearing the Army Combat Uniform, Desert Camouflage Uniform and a World War II-era uniform (left to right).

Starting in 2005, the DCU and the BDU started to be discontinued with the U.S. Army, being replaced with the Army Combat Uniform (ACU) by 2008.

U.S. Marine Corps[edit]

Starting in January 2002, the U.S. Marine Corps began replacing the BDU and DCU with the Marine Corps Combat Utility Uniform (MCCUU), completely replacing them in October 2004.[3]

U.S. Air Force[edit]

The U.S. Air Force officially replaced the BDU and DCU on November 1, 2011 with the Airman Battle Uniform (ABU).[4]

U.S. Navy[edit]

The DCU and BDU has been replaced to some extent in the U.S. Navy, supplanted by navy blue, woodland, and arid versions of the Navy Working Uniform (NWU). The U.S. Navy has authorized a replacement uniform of its own for the U.S. Navy SEALs while maintaining it for other NECC ground units.

U.S. Coast Guard[edit]

The DCU is also used by members of the U.S. Coast Guard when deployed to Southwest Asia.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ BowlofRice (August 30, 2013). "3-Color DCU Field jacket with 1989 date...WHAT!? Can someone explain!?". U.S. Militaria Forum. Retrieved September 19, 2013. 
  2. ^ all-bull (September 28, 2009). "Early Issue Tri-Color DCU?". U.S. Militaria Forum. Retrieved September 19, 2013. 
  3. ^ Commandant of the United States Marine Corps (September 22, 2004). "MARADMIN 412/04: MANDATORY POSSESSION DATES FOR THE MARINE CORPS COMBAT UTILITY UNIFORMS (MCCUU) AND MARINE CORPS COMBAT BOOTS (MCCB)". United States Marine Corps. United States Department of the Navy. Retrieved September 29, 2004. 
  4. ^ Headquarters, United States Air Force (July 18, 2011). 5. "UTILITY UNIFORMS". AFI 36-2903. Washington, D.C.: United States Department of the Air Force. p. 70. Retrieved September 19, 2013. "The mandatory phase in date for the ABU is 1 November 2011." 

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