After 6 years of complaints, the United States Army is finally agreeing with their soldiers that Velcro is not the answer.
From “The Telegraph” comes this:
The US Army has decided to ditch Velcro from it’s uniforms in Afghanistan, opting to use buttons to keep pockets closed instead.
The space-age fabric became a casualty of war because it got easily clogged with dirt and sand in the Afghan desert, rendering it useless.
An army spokesman told USA Today that soldiers had complained that Velcro no longer suited their needs.
The army will begin issuing new trousers, fitted with buttons, to soldiers heading to Afghanistan in August.
“When concerns surfaced in surveys that the hook-and-pile tape was not holding under the weight of full pocket loads, the Army evaluated several solutions,” Debi Dawson said. Velcro has been part of the latest Army combat uniform since it was introduced in 2004.
Soldiers had been advised to use a small weapons cleaning brush to dislodge dust and dirt in the Velcro, but the process was time consuming.
Sgt. Kenny Hatten, writing on an army website, said: “Get rid of the pocket flap Velcro and give us back our buttons,” Hatten wrote. “Buttons are silent, easy to replace in the field, work just fine in the mud, do not clog up with dirt and do not fray and disintegrate with repeated laundering.”
A survey of soldiers found that 60 per cent preferred buttons and just 11 per cent wanted to keep Velcro.
For anyone who has had to use Velcro as a fastener on a field uniform, this comes as welcome news. I had them on parts of my flight suit, and they were okay in that regard, but as the normal method of closure for combat uniforms, it leaves a lot to be desired. Not only does sand and grit diminish the effectiveness of the material, but repeated washings and some normal materials in daily use have weakened the attachment seams, and caused no amount of curling.
Velcro has it’s uses, but, as the Army has discovered (and soldiers already knew) it doesn’t cut it in extended field use.
Point of Interest: Velcro is a composition of Velvet & Crochet, an apt description of the two-parts of the system.
More on Velcro here.