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Friday, October 23, 2015
The evolution of US military camouflage: From basic green and khaki to digital patterns and beyond
Last summer, the U.S. Army confirmed that soldiers will begin wearing the new Army Combat Uniform (ACU) that bears the Operational Camouflage Pattern (OCP) – also known as Scorpion W2. They are now being issued, and soldiers are expected to retire their prior uniforms by summer 2018. This means it’s the end of the line for the Universal Camouflage Pattern (UCP), which was known for its digital-like appearance. Camouflage has undergone numerous changes in the past decade, and the new OCP is just the latest effort by the U.S. military to develop the "perfect camouflage."
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"The uniform consisted of a dust colored smock that closely matched the local soil. It was thus named after the soil’s color using the Persian word "khaki," meaning ash-colored."
Uh... close, but close only counts in the game of horsehoes and hand grenades.
Check out the similar sounding words to "khaki" in Basque and Gaelic, probably because they share the same root from Proto-Indo-European:
Then again, the English word "dirt" is derived from the Old Norse word "drit":
Words can share the same root and have dramatically different meanings. Khak means dirt (and, sometimes, filth) in Persian, but that doesn't mean khaki means filth-colored. On the other hand, it is also significant to note that, for whatever reasons, ashes don't have the same implications of purity and sterilization in many Middle Eastern cultures that they have in some other cultures (this may have to do with differences in how different cultures traditionally extinguished small utility fires on a regular basis, affected by both how fires were used and what was readily available to extinguish them).
Europeans, like many northern peoples, think of ash-colored as some shade of gray, Persians think ashes are khaki.
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