New Army Uniform (Updated)

UPDATE (Feb. 20): The Army is asking for more input from officers on this survey (only accessible by Common Access Card)

You can purchase new ASU items from Marlow White here.  (Not an official Army source)

After much research, many surveys, design options; the Army announced the new Army Service Uniform about two weeks ago.  Now there is a slick new website with a variety of photos illustrating the new Army Service Uniform.  This pictorial timeline of Army uniforms is interesting and worth taking a look–though it claims in “2006 all of U.S. Army transition to blue service uniform.” (I’m sure someone will correct the error)

U.S. Army Service Uniform

U.S. Army Service Uniform

There are many frequently asked questions about the transition to the new uniform.  The Army has done a good job of consolidating them here.

A few interesting facts:

o The Green Class A is the only authorized uniform for DA Photos until 4th Quarter FY ’09 (a year from now)

o There are three different variations of the ACU (camoflague uniform): Ceremonial, Garrison, and Utility/Field

o  Prices are not currently set for the new uniform.  However, it’s estimated to cost between $200-400.  I previously suggested that the Army should give a uniform voucher to Majors to help with retention.

The uniform debate has generated many spirited and funny blog posts/comments.  Look at few here, here, and here.

It’s good to know that Soldier’s input was considered in the decision.  In ten years, half the Army will have never even worn the current Green Class A’s and we will still be fighting and winning the Nation’s wars.  Change is a good.  I look forward to wearing the new uniform proudly.  Army Strong!

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7 Responses to New Army Uniform (Updated)

  1. Mike Vanover says:

    OMG! These things are just awful! What happened to the gray shirts? What happened to jr enlisted wearing the beret and NCOs wearing the bus driver cap? Why did they remove the traditonal service stripes that are on the Blues? The combat patch on the right pocket of the shirt is just plain goofy looking. Maybe they should drop back and punt and start all over.

  2. John says:

    As I look at photos of the new Army “Class A” uniform and say “Ugh!” for the ten thousandth time, I wonder how we so lost our way when it comes to the concept of a Service Uniform.

    Since I have been in the Army, neigh these 19 years or so, I have never understood the institutional aversion to wearing a service uniform. Always seen as something to be avoided more than a trip to the dentist, we as an institution have de-institutionalized the concept of a service dress uniform.

    Back in the day (pre 9/11) service uniforms were the province of official photos (always a headache), payday activity formations (to be accompanied with much grousing by the troops), and the Military District of Washington (MDW). With the latter being eliminated by the previous Chief of Staff of the Army, there are no reasons to wear your service dress uniform that are not associated with pain of some kind (except perhaps for the odd promotion ceremony).

    Things look even drearier for service uniforms in the future (if that is possible). After the less than popular institution of the black beret, one would think the Army has had enough of giving us uniforms that are universally disliked. Let me state for the record that my own non-scientific survey of asking people whether they like the new blue uniform has yielded the answer that 0% of respondents, and there have been many, like the blue uniform. Furthermore, 100% of said respondents affirm that they have yet to speak to anyone who does like the uniform. While the Army is a big institution and I would guess there are some who think the blue uniform is a good one, I firmly believe the percentage is pretty low outside those actively engaged in bringing it to us.

    How did we get here? The wear of a uniform is a symbol of pride and esprit that goes back centuries. Why have we bread it out of our system is a mystery to me. Gone are the days when a troop or young officer proudly wears his service uniform home on leave, to church or to public gatherings such as weddings or parades. Given what I would look like riding the Metro, let alone walking down the street in my hometown, wearing the new blue uniform, it seems we have actively written service uniforms out of our future.

    I see this as part of an unfortunate utilitarian trend in Army philosophy we have adopted since the 90’s. No longer are do we exhort young people on the intrinsic value in being a soldier, as in “Be All You Can Be” (a philosophy I have carried with me since I was a cadet). Instead, we have made the Army a means to an end, enticing people to join in order to get money for college, learn a marketable skill, etc…

    The big selling point of the blue uniform is that it is a “uniform reduction” somehow costing personnel less in the long run. While the logic in this claim utterly escapes me, the fact that it exists as an argument is a continuation of a philosophy that saving a few bucks is of more benefit than having a uniform someone would actually be excited to wear.

    One only has to look to those merchants of esprit and masters of PR, the Marines, to see what we are missing. Marines take pride in their service uniforms and, so it seems to me, look at wearing them to be less a burden or thing to be avoided than a privilege and a declaration that they are a part of something worth being a part of.

    We could have this too if we simply did two things. One, integrate service uniforms into our daily lives such as wearing it in the MDW, COCOM headquarters, and other places where soldiers are not engaged in tactical activities and will likely have a chance to go home and change before they might need to go to war. Two, come up with a classic uniform that one can wear in public without looking like a “living history” exhibit or weekend reinactor. Note – just because something is old (like a Civil War era uniform) does not make it a classic, which is why we are not wearing three-cornered hats and powdered wigs. “Pinks and Greens,” “Ike Jackets,” or something entirely new could fit the bill.

    Just my three or four cents – we as in institution will persevere no matter what the case.

  3. Dave says:

    The reason Soldiers hated wearing their service uniforms (greens) are because they were ugly as sin! The decline began in the 1950’s and really picked up steam in the 1970’s when the mint shirt became mandatory. Mint green shirts with green polyester material and a 1950’s business suit cut? There is a winning combo if I ever saw one! Also there was enough bling to make a Mexican General blush! Your damn right we hated wearing those things. Then some have the nerve to say the blues are ugly? What the old green or even older Olive drabe Ike jackets are sharper???? Please!!!! I for one have had the opposite results when showing the uniforms to soldiers in my unit. Most of the Soldiers (9 out of 10) who I have shown the Blue Class A’s too like em. There is some grumbling in regards to the Class B’s though. But overall most Soldiers like the change.
    As for the Marines…The reason the Marines embrace wearing their uniforms is not because of their history, it’s because they look sharp. From their belted green service uniforms to their winter and summer dress blues. Soldiers in the US Army had no equivalent to a summer dress blue uniform like the Marines I might add. Their uniforms look more martial (belted jackets, high colors and fancy dress belts and hats) and you could never get their uniforms confused with a civilian jacket and trousers like the other services. Do I think the new blues are perfect? Hell no! But they can be tweaked over time!

    My solutions:

    *Add a sew on d. blue cloth belt! Also add belt loops so a Soldier can slide a ceremonial belt through. Be nice not having to worry about that belt sliding down the jacket. ! Open face buckle as well. It would be similar to the old pinks and greens jacket. Pleat the bottom pockets on the jacket and add dark blue piping on the bottom and front opening of the jacket.

    *Remove all the extra bling and keep the name plates for Soldiers who wear the thing every day! Drop the combat SSI badge! Drop the DUI! Put the unit citations onto left side like the other branches do! Uniformity on both sleeves! Either combat hashes on both sides or service stripes.

    *Dark blue trousers for every day wear. Would look good (if that is possible) with jump boots.

    *Service caps for all. Keep the beret for the ACU garrison or get rid of them all together.

    *Short sleeve shirt color? I have no clue what to do there. The Air Force has blue and Marines and Navy have khaki. What color do you choose? Dark blue? White may be the only choice….

    Or

    We could bring back the old uniforms.

    Class A’s: Pinks and greens
    Class B’s: Khakis
    Dress Blues: 1902 dress blues (bring back the high collars)
    New summer dress blue uniform: Dark blue or white SS shirts with blue trousers

    nuff said

  4. Jo says:

    I think the new uniforms look about as good as the old ones. However, as a Reservist who will have to buy it and wear it only a handful of times, I think the new uniform is a complete waste of money. With an approximate price tag of $200-$400, there is no doubt in my mind that that money could be put to much better use elsewhere. Give us a break.

  5. Carl Crisp says:

    You want to see the sharpest service uniform the Army ever had? Take a trip to College Station, Texas and check out the Texas A&M Corps of Cadets. Their khaki “Bs” and ‘midnight pink-n-green’ “As” are straight from the glory days of WWII. Perfect.

  6. Currently_Serving11B says:

    If I wanted a Marine style uniform, I would’ve joined the Marines.
    All of the decorations on the front make us look like a Christmas Tree, the beret is hideous and unprofessional, the single unit patch on the front takes away from the people who have deployed to a combat zone, and the “Less is More” theory is great when considering that the unit patch, skill badges, and tabs are worn on the front.
    The service cap is out of proportion and appalling.
    We defined ourselves as a military branch during WWII, and that’s the uniform that we should keep.
    I almost considered on changing military branches or getting out. I love serving my country, but the new Army Service Uniform is embarrassing.
    I graduated BCT with dress Greens and I was proud to wear the same uniform that my mom and my brother wore when they served.
    If you want to keep it traditional, then stop changing uniforms.
    It should remain Navy whites, Air Force Blues, Marine browns, and ARMY GREEN.
    You want tradition? Keep the uniform as Army Greens.

    • USArmyVetE5 says:

      Currently Serving, I am in total agreement with you. I am an honorably discharged Army Veteran. I served from May 83 to August 89 in the Active Army and Reserves. Spent most of that time period on active duty at Fort Sill, and Fort Ord. I was a 13B20, Gunner with the rank of Sergeant/E5. Because I was in combat arms, I did not get many chances to wear my Class B uniform, let alone the Class A Army Green Uniform. I enjoyed wearing my greens, and always did so with pride. As an Army Vet, General Peter Shoomaker screwed up royally when he decided to get rid of the greens in favor of the Army Service Uniform. I can honestly say that I HATE the ASU. It looks like crap! Our soldiers bear more of a resemblance to mall guards than members of the United States Army. I’ll take the mint green Army shirt over the white shirt worn with the ASU anytime. Did it ever occur to the idiots who implemented this change that white soils easily? And the light blue trousers are also easily soiled. Keep the Blues for dress occasions only, and bring back the greens or something similar. I find it hard to believe that the soldiers prefer the crappy ASU to the greens. Shoomaker deserves a no go for his rather questionable decision.

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