Republic of Gambia
Officially, this nation is the Republic of the Gambia (or simply The Gambia). The region was tributary to the Mali Empire by the 14th century, and many of its people had been converted to Islam by Arab traders seeking gold, ivory and slaves. Great Britain obtained exclusive trade rights to most of the territory in 1588, but vied with the French for exclusive control which was not achieved until 1856. This region was heavily depopulated by the transatlatic slave trade, many of whom ended up in the West Indies and North America. Although Britain outlawed slavery in 1807, it continued amongst the dominant local tribes for the remainder of the 19th century. The Gambia officially became a British Crown Colony in 1889, and was granted self-governance in 1962. In February of 1965, the Gambia achieved full independence as a constitutional monarchy within the Commonwealth of Nations. Five years later it became a republic.
After seeking military assistance from neighboring Senegal in 1981 following a failed coup attempt, Gambia joined briefly with its neighbor to form the Senegambia Confederation, which combined the armed forces and currencies of the two nations and lasted until 1989. In 1994, the Armed Forces Provisional Ruling Council (AFPRC) deposed the legitimately elected government and banned opposition political activity, but announced shortly thereafter a plan to return to democratic civilian government. Finally in December 2001, a new president took the oath of office.
The Gambian armed forces consist of the Army, National Guard, a small Navy and the National Police, with approximately 2300 active duty personnel. During the Liberian civil war, members of the Gambian Armed Forces participated in the ECOMOG effort to stabilize the nation in 1990.
Gambian Camouflage Patterns
- Historically the armed forces have worn solid olive green combat uniforms, but in the present era the ground forces adopted a variation of British DPM having black, brown & blue- green disruptive shapes on a golden-khaki background.
- Some personnel of the armed forces have also been documented wearing a copy of the US m81 woodland camouflage pattern. Based on the small number of photographs that have emerged, we must conclude this was a short-lived adoption.
- Members of the Republican National Guard have been documented wearing a copy of the Multicam pattern in recent years. Whether this will remain in circulation remains to be seen.
- A pixelated camouflage design appeared circa 2012 within the Gambian Armed Forces, and appears to be replacing earlier issued camouflage designs as a general issue pattern. Interestingly, the letters "FTGAF" have been embedded into the design.
- The Gambian Navy has also recently issued a four-color pixelated design with a blue colorway, seen here. This pattern also has the letters "FTGAF" embedded into its design.
- The Presidential Guards also has its own pixelated camouflage design with a blue colorway, this one bearing strong similarities to the former US Navy Working Uniform (NWU-1) design.