Officials address uniform policy

By Staff Sgt. Monique Randolph: Secretary of the Air Force Public Affairs

WASHINGTON — Now that the airman battle uniform is on the shelves of some military clothing sales stores, Air Force uniform officials here released a revised ABU wear policy message Sept. 5 to ensure airmen are aware of the standards for the new uniform.

The message is a follow up to the wear policy message released in February.

“The first wear message was very much theater-oriented because only deployers, general officers and command chiefs had the ABU,” said Lt. Col. Shawna Morrill, the chief of the Air Force uniforms and recognition branch at the Pentagon. “Now that the uniform is becoming more available to airmen, it’s time to readdress the wear policy as well as talk about the winter items.”

Some items addressed in the new policy letter include:

* The mandatory wear date for the ABU is November 2011. The ABU or battle dress uniform can neither be mandated nor prohibited during this transition period.

* Desert tan, crew-neck T-shirts are the only T-shirts authorized for the wear with the ABU. Desert sand-colored turtlenecks are authorized for wear in cold weather.

* ABU sage green boots are authorized for wear with all utility uniforms. Desert tan boots are also authorized for wear with the ABU until the mandatory wear date.

* Only the ABU patrol cap is authorized for wear with the ABU outside of the area of responsibility, or AOR. Organizational caps are no longer authorized.

* Occupational badges are optional.

* No patches are authorized on the ABU.

Additionally, a clothing allowance increase will go into effect in October to help offset the increased cost of the uniform. Airmen who choose to buy the new uniforms before their anniversary date in fiscal year 2008 will absorb the cost difference until they receive their clothing allowance.

“The several-year transition to the ABU will not be without its challenges, but we’re confident that on-going communications and flexibility will ensure continued focus on mission and safety throughout this period,” Colonel Morrill said.