U.S. Army ACU Regulations Summarized

Army ACU
The Army Combat Uniform, or ACU, is currently the official battle uniform worn my members of the United States Army since it was officially launched in June 2004. U.S Army ACU regulations are meant to enhance battle-readiness and discipline through the evaluation, interpretation, revision, and development of acceptable military uniform and insignia dress codes, and personal grooming policies that will improve the image of soldiers and the U.S. Army in general.

An essential component of the U.S Army’s might and efficiency can be attributed to the honor and self-sacrifice that American soldiers contribute through their service by maintaining a consistent military image. Military commanders are therefore responsible for ensuring that personnel under their command present a proper and soldierly appearance at all times in accordance with ACU regulations.

Some of the ACU regulations that are concerned with the various components of a of a soldier’s military uniform include but are not limited to.

ACU Jacket

The embroidered rank insignia is 2 inches in height and 1 3/4 inches wide. It must always be worn centered between the front hook and loop-face pad of the ACU jacket for all U.S Army ranks. The rank insignia’s background may be either the universal camouflage pattern or just plain olive green, and must always match with the background of the name and the U.S Army tapes.

The U.S. flag must without exception always adorn the right shoulder pocket flap of the ACU jacket. Current ACU regulations also require that the Army jacket must never extend below the top of the cargo pocket or go higher than the bottom of the side pocket. Finally, the ACU jacket sleeves must strictly be worn down at all times.

ACU Trousers

The ACU recommended trouser is held up by a two-inch web belt that is made of nylon, and includes Velcro pouches for inserting knee pads. The trousers must always be tucked into the top of the boots or secured by drawing the string at their bottom ends. Trousers must never extend below the third eyelet from the boot’s top. Army Combat trousers manufactured using flame resistant materials are currently standard issue for soldiers being deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan.

ACU Headgear

The ACU typically includes the Advanced Combat Helmet, a cap for patrols, a fleece cap for cold weather, and boonie hat. Green, maroon, and tan berets may be worn in barracks by army special forces, paratroopers and Rangers, in that order. The green micro fleece cap is only allowed for use in the field and garrison outside of unit patrols while camouflage cover rank must always be sewn when worn although its use is limited because it is often obstructed by the night vision device mount.

ACU Undershirt 

ACU military uniforms must be worn with that a moisture wicking cotton tan t-shirt be worn underneath the coat and tucked inside the trousers at all times, while a foliage-green T-shirt made of pure cotton is authorized for wear by soldiers in special training environments or for those deployed in Korea, Afghanistan and Iraq. Black T-shirts are the standard issue for the uniforms worn by certain instructors on Army posts in areas like the Ranger School, Special Forces, Snipers, Jumpmaster, Airborne, Sapper, and Pathfinder.

ACU Combat Boots

Army combat boots for the ACU must be made from tan rough side out cattle hide leather that has a plain toe and tan rubber outsoles. The boots must at all times be diagonally laced using tan laces, with any extending lace neatly tucked into the top of the boot underneath the bloused trousers, or securely wound around the top of the boot.

There are no metallic cleats, side tabs, or zipper tacks that are either sewn or laced in allowed by the ACU regulators. The ACU must at all times be worn with the official tan Army Combat Boots and moisture wicking socks. There is also a Mountain Combat Boot that is provided to cater for tough terrain and Extreme Cold Vapor Barrier Boots for walking on snow and ice. An innovative Modular Boot System is in development to eventually replace the current Army Combat Boot in the near future.

The U.S Army is a uniformed service where a soldier’s discipline is partially dependent on the manner in which they wear their officially sanctioned uniforms, as well as by their personal grooming. A smart and well-groomed appearance by all soldiers is thus essential to a functional Army, and contributes fundamentally to the pride and spirit that are the major drivers of an effective military force.


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