The Enhanced Combat Helmet is a new helmet made of high-strength polyethylene with superior ballistic protection compared to previous Kevlar helmets. The ECH is being issued only to deployed units and will be turned in upon return and given to other combat units. Previous helmets like the LWH are being retained for training and noncombat use.
The Lightweight Helmet (LWH) can be used with the older sling suspension or a newer pad suspension to fit the helmet to the head,3 as well as a nape protection system to add ballistic protection to the rear of the head.4
The Improved Load Bearing Equipment (ILBE) is the latest load bearing equipment and pack to be issued to Marines. It replaced the MOLLE, was the first to be made in MARPAT (MARine PATtern), and greatly increases durability, comfort, and decreases complexity. It comes in a standard,12Recon (which adds two side pouches),13 and corpsman versions.14 The ILBE load equipment provides an improved load bearing vest and the associated pouches to carry ammunition, grenades, radios, and other items.
The USMC Pack is being developed to replace the ILBE.15 Because the ILBE was designed as a modified version of a commercial Arc'teryx product, it doesn't integrate well with body armor, which can cause stress and injury.1617 After the initial announcement of replacement in 2009,18 The Marine Corps finalized design requirements after testing and released a solicitation for prototypes in 2011,15 which resemble the Army's improved version of MOLLE.19
The standard canvas or nylon seabag, a militarized duffel bag, has been issued to servicemembers of all branches since before World War II. However, the increase in equipment issued to an individual Marine has made containing and transporting it all in a standard seabag difficult (a phenomenon nicknamed seabag drag), in addition to a tactical load-bearing pack. The Deployment Bag holds the same cubic footage, but rugged wheels allow it to roll much like a ruggedized version of commercial rolling luggage.20
A rubberized waterproofing bag liner has been provided to Marines for decades as a way to protect the contents of a tactical pack from water. Newer versions (known as the "stuff sack") have a purge valve to expel excess air to compress the sack.2122
All Purpose Environmental Clothing System (APECS): Rather than issue the 3rd generation Extended Cold Weather Clothing System (ECWCS), the Marine Corps has begun issuing the APECS, consisting of a MARPAT parka and pant.24 The APECS is structurally almost identical to ECWCS shell jacket and trousers.
The Lightweight Exposure Suit offers similar capabilities.25
The Combat Desert Jacket is a lighter suit to protect Marines from the harsh desert climate.26
The Extreme Cold Weather Parka & Trouser offer heavy protection from cold weather, and include overboots.27
The Snow Camouflage Uniform 28 is a winter MARPAT overgarment to camouflage Marines and their equipment in snow.
The Grid Fleece Midweight underwear includes a pullover and pants (in green and coyote brown). While the pullover is commonly issued as a warming layer in most locations, the pants are traditionally not issued unless the recipient is expected to face a cold weather environment.31 Flame-resistant versions are available.32
A cap made from microfleece is given to Marines in most environments.33
Cold weather socks and scarfs are also offered to Marines going to cold weather environments.
Mountain/Cold Weather Boots, later renamed Rugged All Terrain (RAT) Boots,34 and Extreme Cold Vapor Barrier Boots are given. The overboots are insulated with an air barrier, and include a valve to allow paratroopers to jump with them, while the RAT Boot is reinforced with chemically impregnated leather for durability and stability.35
Coveralls or jumpsuits are issued to vehicle crew, mechanics, and other Marines whose duties may render other uniforms unserviceable. They can have varying degrees of fire protection, and come in green and coyote brown to match the seasonal change of utilities from woodland to desert camouflage. Pilots and aircrew typically wear flight suits and flight jackets, as well as g-suit, pressure suits, and life vests as needed.
Various gloves are offered by the Corps. Often, most Marines receive simply a woolen liner and leather shell, however, those who require more specialized gloves are issued them (cold weather, hazmat, Mechanix brand, etc.).
The Marine Corps Combat Utility Uniform has built-in slots for knee and elbow pads, but many Marines prefer to purchase their own pads. The Commandant has authorized units to purchase knee and elbow pads for uniformity.
The Corps is also contracting to receive protective silk underwear in use by the British Army. While not designed for ballistic protection, the so-called "blast boxers" do provide wound mitigation to groin injuries.37
Individual Water Purification System allows Marines to purify water to potable standards.41 These can be compatible with the standard issue hydration pack, similar to CamelBak brand packs. Of course, plastic 1-quart canteens are issued as well, with a metal canteen cup and stand.
Several types of eye protection are offered, including ballistic goggles and sunglasses made by Eye Safety Systems, Inc. and Wiley X, and are available with prescription lens inserts.42
Ballistic Hearing Protection is a two-sided earplug that offers Marines protection from audio damage.43
All Marines usually receive a foam sleeping mat, a Modular Sleep System (with a light, heavy, and waterproof sleeping bags to allow the user to adapt to ambient conditions and a compression sack to hold them), and a tarpaulin or waterproof poncho and liner that doubles as an expedient blanket.
The Vietnam War-era olive drab plastic angle-head flashlight (running on D-cell batteries with colored lens filters) purchased at recruit training was deemed unsuitable for combat in 2007, and a replacement from Streamlight was fielded in 2009. The Sidewinder HandHeld FlashLight (HHFL) is lightweight with a head adjustable over 185° of movement, light-emitting diodes providing five intensities each of white, red, blue, and infrared light (including a strobe function), helmet mount, and runs on AA batteries.4445 Aside from providing illumination, this smaller and lighter flashlight can be used for signalling and detecting blood residue.
No standard tactical light exists, however, many Marines choose to purchase their own.
The Martial Arts Kit (MAK) allows units to train Marines in the Marine Corps Martial Arts Program. It contains all of the pads, gloves, props, and other safety aids that allow an instructor to successfully teach the program.46
The Mechanical Breacher's Kit (MBK) allows an assault breacher to breach a door or other obstacle.47
^McCullough, Amy; Curtis, Rob (December 14, 2009). "Replacing Your Pack: Corps to consider range of rucks for ease of use, better wear". Marine Corps Times. pp. 22–23.Cite uses deprecated parameters (help);|accessdate= requires |url= (help)
^Sanborn, James K. (May 9, 2011). "Your New Pack: Testing Finished for Unpopular ILBE's Replacement". Marine Corps Times. p. 16.|accessdate= requires |url= (help)