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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.


U.S. Army[]

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).

The DCU and the BDU was discontinued with the U.S. Army in 2005, being replaced by the Army Combat Uniform (ACU).

U.S. Marine Corps[]

The U.S. Marine Corps had replaced the BDU and DCU in 2003 with the Marine Corps Combat Utility Uniform (MCCUU).

U.S. Air Force[]

The U.S. Air Force officially replaced the BDU and DCU on November 1, 2011 with the Airman Battle Uniform (ABU).[3]

U.S. Navy[]

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[]

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

See also[]


  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. Headquarters, United States Air Force (July 18, 2011). "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." 

External links[]

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