The ECWCS Parka

In 1985, the Natick Textile Laboratory completed development of a new system of clothing for the Army, Marines and Air Force. The ECWCS (Extended Cold Weather Clothing System) system was comprised of multiple uniform components, including a parka, trousers, liners, and undergarments. It was designed around the idea of layers and giving soldiers different pieces that could be added or removed depending on the climate in which they were located. Instead of having many specialized garments, the new system allowed one set of uniform components to be used by multiple branches of the military in a wide variety of weather conditions.

In 1986, Alpha Industries was awarded its first contracts to make the newly developed ECWCS parka. The parka replaced the NYCO M-65 field coat that had been in use since 1965. It was made of Gore-Tex, a high-tech windproof and waterproof fabric developed by the W. L. Gore Company. The Woodland Camouflage ECWCS parka also featured a double storm flap with hidden map pocket, underarm zippers for additional ventilation, and a front insignia tab for servicemen to attach their rank. Alpha also produced the matching Gore-Tex trousers for the military.

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