All soldiers in the U.S. Army will be issued a new camouflage-print Combat Cloth Face Covering (CCFC) as the military aims to curb the spread of COVID-19 in their ranks.
The new masks were approved by U.S. Army Chief of Staff Gen. James C. McConville over the summer to be provided to soldiers at Initial Entry Training as part of their clothing bag, following a recommendation from the Army Uniform Board.
In response to the pandemic, the Army has largely provided disposable or reusable solid color masks to soldiers.
Soldiers are currently authorized to wear neck gaiters and other cloth items, such as bandanas or scarves, as masks. Masks are prohibited from having any printed wording, profanity, racist, demeaning or derogatory logos, script or imagery.
During the board's 152nd meeting on Nov. 18, Army officials said the Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) will begin issuing two CCFCs to each new soldier during the second quarter of fiscal year 2021. The masks are expected to be available for purchase at Army & Air Force Exchange Service uniform stores in late 2021.
The CCFC was designed, developed and produced in an expedited timeline of less than a year. Normally, items take 18 to 24 months to become available for order once the technical description, design and components are submitted to and approved by the Defense Logistics Agency.
According to the latest figures from the Department of Defense, 94,644 members of the military have tested positive for the coronavirus, with at least 878 troops who have been hospitalized and 14 troops who have died due to COVID-19.
As of Wednesday, the Army currently leads as the branch with the highest total number of confirmed COVID-19 cases at 34,089, followed by the Navy at 19,773, the Air Force at 17,682, and the Marines at 11,380.