The Marine Corps wants to field a new cold weather cap and gloves for Marines operating in Arctic-type climates.
In mid-January, Marine Corps Systems Command submitted two requests for information as part of a presolicitation for an intense-cold cap and gloves.
According to the RFI, the Marines want a cap that can handle temperatures as cold as 50 below zero. The hat needs to be water repellent, fast-dry capable, and include ear flaps and a brim for protection.
The Corps also wants the hat to fit with the Enhanced Combat Helmet, which is on track to be the standard helmet issued to all Marines.
The new intense-cold gloves also need to be water repellent and fast-dry capable, according to the RFI. The Marines also want the gloves to work with touchscreen devices.
The new gear request from SYSCOM comes as Marines continue to train and test Marine Corps equipment in cold-weather environments.
Not since the Battle of Chosin Reservoir during the Korean War have Marines fought in such freezing temperatures.
But near-peer competitors like Russia and recent provocations by North Korea means Marines may once again find themselves fighting in extreme-cold environments.
The Corps has been preparing itself for such possibilities throughout the past year. A second rotation of Marines has been in Norway since September conducting cold weather training with Norwegian counterparts.
And even the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit has been getting in on the cold-weather training action in Sweden.
Six Marines with the 26th MEU, mainly from Battalion Landing Team 2nd Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment are participating in the Basic Winter Warfare Course, which “focuses on personal skills in a cold environment and marching with skis,” said Capt. Natalie Poggemeyer, a spokeswoman for the 26th MEU.
“The course will develop the participants’ capability to apply his or her tactical skills at individual and squad level, and to lead smaller units in winter warfare in subarctic winter conditions.”
The Marines also are testing the Corps’ standard-issue cold weather gear, which includes USMC happy suits, overwhites and warming layers as well as issued MSR snowshoes, Poggemeyer said.
“We are taking advantage of an opportunity to train with our Swedish counterparts, as well as the other countries participating, to increase our proficiency in cold weather and mountain training in Arctic conditions,” she said.
Shawn Snow is the senior reporter for Marine Corps Times and a Marine Corps veteran.