Iowa National Guard soldiers on their way to Afghanistan will be wearing new uniforms designed to make their mission safer. Jason Jager, one of the Iowa soldiers training for the deployment, says the uniforms feature a camouflage pattern that will make the troops less obvious in the terrain of Afghanistan.

“You don’t want to be walking around with an orange hunting vest. That’s what these uniforms will do. They’ll blend us in with the surroundings a lot better,” Jager said. Command Sergeant Major Steve Wayman says the Iowa National Guard soldiers will be the first to sport the new uniforms.

“It’s a great matter of pride because, traditionally, over the past couple of decades, the National Guard has sometimes been the last to be fielded new equipment,” Wayman said. The older style of uniform blended in well in Iraq and many other parts of the world, but stood out in Afghanistan, according to Wayman.

The soldiers are getting different boots, too, that are better suited to the mountainous country. “You want to make sure you take really good care of your feet because your feet take care of you,” Jager said. “You’re always on ’em. You don’t want to end up with blisters.”

About 3,000 Iowa National Guard Soldiers will have their boots on the ground in Afghanistan by Thanksgiving. Right now, the soldiers are training at Camp Shelby, Mississippi.

By Mark Geary, KCRG-TV, Cedar Rapids