DoD fields ‘Brown Star Cluster’ flare for when mission goes to shit
WASHINGTON — After two years of development and testing, the Department of Defense recently released its newest technological advancement in ground pyrotechnics—the brown star cluster—intended to notify others on the battlefield that the mission has gone entirely to shit.
Dr. Michael D. Griffin, the Under Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering, was very excited when the project initially came across his desk.
“For too long we’ve only had the standard collection of cluster flares: red, green, and white,” Griffin said. “What is this—Christmas?”
“But when the project synopsis for the brown star cluster was briefed, I knew this was something good that I could take complete and total credit for.”
But it was a difficult road from proof-of-concept to field implementation. Infighting between the services began when disagreements about the shade of brown to be used emerged. Officials from the Air Force and Navy were finally able to agree on Pantone 19-0912 (Chocolate Brown) after they both realized extending the discussion would eat into nap time.
The Army originally wouldn’t budge from its preferred choice of traditional Olive Drab, Pantone 18-0622, until they were told that if that’s what it looked like every time they took a shit they should talk to the medic on duty.
Unfortunately, Marine Corps officials refused to participate in the initial development of the new emergency flare at all, stating, “Yeah, we won’t be needing those.”
However, the Marines were more than helpful once the flare moved into the testing phase. Developers were able to accurately determine what not to do with the flares when several Lance Corporals were injured in an impromptu game of “dodge-flare.”
‘It’s been a long road but this is what we all signed up for when we decided to enter the high-stakes environment of DoD project development,” says Daniel Greene, a pyrotechnics engineer with the development team, “To know that one of my creations is going to be used on the battlefield to notify some first lieutenant that his assault plan was garbage—well, all that makes my $200k yearly salary truly worthwhile.”
The brown star cluster has completed field testing and is already being included in the standard inventory for all deploying units, with the U.S. Army placing the largest order—1.5 million units.