Army Finally Ditching Velcro

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.

More herehere,  and here

Point of Interest: Velcro is a composition of Velvet & Crochet, an apt description of the two-parts of the system.

More on Velcro here.

Soviet-era Velcro. Sometimes ideas just don't translate well.



8 Responses to “Army Finally Ditching Velcro”

  1. 1 SCOTT the BADGER
    June 17, 2010 at 02:35

    Hard to open Velcro quietly, too.

  2. 3 ewok40k
    June 17, 2010 at 05:18

    older than tv/electricitiy/print/writing > space age
    how many times we can witness that in the battlefields?

    • June 17, 2010 at 06:19


      My friend, here where I live in Maine, there’s an old saying: “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”.

      The Army tried to “fix” things with Velcro and it came back to bite them. Buttons are silent and reliable. They’ve been dependable for several thousand years. Velcro certainly has it’s place, but as a pocket and basic fastener for combat uniforms, it isn’t proper.

      I had Velcro tabs on the wrists and waist of my flight suit to tighten it up for best fit. That was fine. All the pockets, however, had zippers, and that was an excellent choice. I had buttons on the pockets of my dungaree uniform, both the pants and the blouse, and that was an excellent choice. The Army should have stayed with buttons too.


  3. 5 ewok40k
    June 17, 2010 at 08:05

    Well, to hand justice to the inventions, once in a decade or two they really DO revolutionize warfare… think: repeating rifle (goodbye columns and lines), machine gun (goodbye mass assault), radio – tank – aircraft triad (hello combined arms), nuke, ballistic missile, nuke sub, laser guided karma (aka PGM)… But for the most part tried and tested approach seems to be best.

  4. 6 Scott "Scooter Pie" Cochran, AW1 Retired
    June 17, 2010 at 13:21

    Glad to see that someone finally listened to “the troops”. Wish they had asked and/or listened to “the troops” when it came to replacing the P-3 with the P-8. A serious mistake on their part which they will finally realize but will be too late if we ever have to go back to “real ASW”.

    • June 17, 2010 at 15:12

      I think so to. Considering what’s been spent already on the P-8, LockMart could have already reopened the lione and had new aircraft entering the fleet. Instead, we have one demonstrator model that is at Pax River, and no firm date on when the first production models will hit the squadrons.

      What’s especially grievous to me is that the Navy stripped millions OUT of the P-8 program to give to the over-budget, yet-to-be-built DDG-1000.

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