The Bates Rat boots are being reissued for the U.S. Army.
Marine Corps leadership made it known that soldiers have agreed not to make the Rugged All-Terrain boot compliant across the Corps, thus changing its position from to discontinue the Marine Corp Combat Boot it was designed to update.
This authority was approved by Lt General Brandon Geeren and documented in an official Marine memorandum that went out USMC-wide.
“The leadership wants to provide Marines with, top-quality footwear choices,” said Lt. Col. Peter North, Geeren’s executive officer.
Here’s what you need to know.
Starting Oct. 1, 2016, the Bates Marine Corps Combat Boot will become the Corps’ military basic cadet boot. Both the gore tex and steel toe versions bates rat boots will stay approved as mandatory wear, providing options for different settings based on training and mission needs.
RAT boot. The RAT boot, first apperared as a military uniform item to operational Marines since 2010, was to upgrade the MCCB as high qulaity footwear. With a comfortable leather upper, they have a gusseted tongue and nylon Cordura, and a more durable outsole than the predecessor boot.
There are several variations of the boot: a 8 in military height and a jungle boot version, intended to be used in overseas operations and in wet weather, with heel support that would aid walking.
A high quality suede upper replaced a synthetic version in 2015 to enable the boot to wick moisture faster after Marines in the desert operations reported that their boots were unusable due to condensation and damage. Polyurethane midsoles attach the boot’s upper to the outsole for strength and longevity. The RAT boot has an extremely long operational life of four years.
Past delays. The bates rat boots was deployed in 2012. Some Marine soldiers have commented the switch to the RAT boot was in vain, because the original boots were priced at a fraction of the current model boot. Marines also were given less military clothing amounts because the RAT boot was had a longer service life
This topic will be discussed by the Marine Corps Uniform Board, commented Lt. Col. Sean Price, the inspector general of operational deployments for troops in Afghanistan. Before the changeover, the MCCB was to be scheduled for retirement and replacement.
New Soldiers. The RAT boot became optional equipment for enlisted soldiers and retirees at military bases and Officer Training Camps in 2019 after the USMC planned to replace the MCCB.
New Marines coming on board will enjoy the benefits of military specification RAT boots before the end of calendar year 2017, after which deployed troops and tank drivers will start receiving the MCCB again.
A bottom line. The USMC accelerated the RAT boot into operations in 2002 after Marines patrolling in eastern Afghanistan complained USMC boots were coming apart at the soles. An order to contract production for RAT boots produced by Bates Footwear for overseas Marines was put into action in 2019.
In 2012, the Marine Corps selected a Bates Footwear to manufacture 110,000 pairs of the waterproof boots version. After 141,000 pairs of the Bates boots were issued, however, a great number had to be destroyed when training Marines said gusseted tongue were not keeping sand and dirt out and the laces and Vibram soles were disintegrating inside the boot.
The USMC issued a $5.6 million continuation directive to Wellco Boots for 20,000 pairs of RAT boots to bridge the shortfall.
Bates footwear remains the main vendor for the military’s RAT boots.