Remember playing hide and seek with your two-year-old niece? You’d stay on the couch and discuss how the game was gonna go down. And then, you ‘d start to count and she ‘d run to hide. She understood you were after her, and she was willing to tuck herself away somewhere, and fast.
The really cute thing about it was when you went looking. Even when she was “hiding,” you could walk into a room and see her outline against the window where she was standing behind the curtain. You may have found the little bump that was her underneath the covers on the bed, even though she was being sooooo sneaky.
Cute pigtails, wide grin, that contagious chuckle. The way her laughing eyes looked back at you as she went to base. Pretty much adorable, even if she wasn’t much for competition.
Play a game with her ten years later, though, and times will have changed. She’ll know what’s going on, and she’ll likely give you a run for your money … utilizing using secret spots in the house you never even knew existed. And you frankly might walk right past her in her hiding spot, repeatedly again, and not know it.
While safe games of seek and hide on a sunny Sunday afternoon are quite idyllic, there’s nothing about the hide-and-seek of military combat that’s funny or sweet or peaceful. But, this little analogy is quite similar to the story of the progression of military uniform. In the past, armies wore uniforms that didn’t hide them in any way. Much like your niece’s feet showing from under the bed and making her location clear, the uniforms made an army completely noticeable, bold colors loudly announcing their presence.
This was essentially a product of how armies came together to battle, back then. Historically, opposing armies often met up close, marching to face each other on the front lines. Nowadays, however, warfare often occurs from more of a distance, and military uniform is an attempt to render individuals inconspicuous, like playing with your older nephews and nieces, or participating in an all-adults seek and hide game in a huge park at night.
When the United States got serious about camouflage, they selected individuals that they called camofleurs, people whose job focused on coming up with a pattern that would help fit the uniform into the surrounding background. Gradually, the uniforms have become more sophisticated, designed for specific army operations and the locations where they take place (such as developing a uniform to blend into the sandy terrain and colors of the Middle East, for example). Today they employ digital camouflage patterns as well.
And uniforms aren’t the only things that are camouflaged in these times. Ships, buildings, military combat vehicles … every one of these are camouflaged at various times, too. As technology has evolved, military strategies have become more highly developed and researched, and this includes camouflage for uniform clothing and other things.
It’s a captivating story and if you ‘d like to read more and remember through some fascinating photos of the journey, explore these articles.
For a brief “picture essay” of various uniforms and helmets, this is a nice stop. http://www.foxnews.com/tech/slideshow/2015/11/10/history-camouflage-in-pictures.html#/slide/british-army-khaki.
For more pictures, including one of the ghillie suit, check out this link. http://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2011/06/a-brief-history-of-military-camouflage/240291/#slide5.
For a discussion about the development of the camouflage department of the military, camouflage patterns going mainstream and being worn by the general public, and the disguising of other things (buildings, equipment, etc.), this is a nice read by Time magazine. http://content.time.com/time/nation/article/0,8599,1906083,00.html.
For a timeline of camouflage development beginning in the late 1800s, go here. http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation-now/2014/08/01/history-camouflage-military-united-states/13485491/.
This article gives a history from back in the day (when solid color khaki was used) all the way to the technology and sophistication put in to today’s uniforms. http://www.foxnews.com/tech/2015/10/21/evolution-us-military-camouflage-from-basic-green-and-khaki-to-digital-patterns-and-beyond.html.
Knowing the background of something that has become commonplace to us is intriguing and gives a framework for where we stand in history.
The military uniform is a symbolic representation of sacrifice and devotion to country, and we are proud to transport the service men and women of our country. For any military transportation need that might occur, we are only a call away!