Warning

 

Close

Confirm Action

Are you sure you wish to do this?

Confirm Cancel
Member Login
Arrow Left Previous Page
Page / 2
Posted: 2/14/2006 7:08:05 PM EDT
February 20, 2006

Into the blue
Army considers a new uniform

By Matthew Cox
Times staff writer

The Army’s top enlisted solider is overseeing an effort that could change the Class A uniform from Army green to a color reminiscent of an era when commanders on horseback led troops into battle.

At the midsummer request of Army Chief of Staff Gen. Peter Schoomaker, Sgt. Maj. of the Army Kenneth Preston began working on a plan that could replace the standard dress green uniform with a version of the service’s dress blue uniform.

Preston mentioned the plan to soldiers in October at the Association of the United States Army’s annual meeting. Beyond that, the sergeant major has had little to say about the effort. He turned down several Army Times interview requests but offered a written statement.

“Just as it was with the Army Combat Uniform, there is some early speculation as to what our plans are for our dress uniforms,” he said in the statement. “Currently the Army has not decided to change any of the dress uniforms, but as always is experimenting with ideas to ensure each uniform is relevant.”

Uniform officials at Program Executive Office Soldier are also tight-lipped about the effort. But interviews with individuals familiar with the project revealed the Army is working on several prototypes of a blue Class A uniform, with separate versions for junior enlisted, senior enlisted and commissioned officers.

The prototypes borrow the dark blue color and some other features of the current dress blue uniform — which is now considered optional military dress for formal and ceremonial occasions.

But other characteristics of the preliminary designs include elements of the dress green uniform, such as unit shoulder patches and skill tabs.

New styles for a new era

Since the beginning of the 21st century, the Army has made some bold changes to the appearance of soldiers: first the decision to adopt the black beret in 2000, then the move in 2004 to replace the battle dress and desert camouflage uniforms with the digitized Army Combat Uniform.

At the AUSA meeting, Preston shared hints of a possible Class A makeover with enlisted soldiers and junior noncommissioned officers. “I’m looking at the dress uniform as the next thing to change — to make it better,” he said.

He then asked the soldiers if they were familiar with the Army dress blue uniform. He followed that with the question: “If you had a choice between the blues or the greens, which one would you choose?”

A handful of soldiers spoke up and said they preferred the blues.

Then one soldier bellowed out this light-hearted response: “Green, sergeant major! Blue is for the Air Force!”

Acknowledging the comments, Preston responded, “I’m not saying it’s going to change, but we are going to look at some options.”

The next day, Preston and a group of senior sergeants major did just that. In a closed-door session, soldiers modeled some early concepts for a blue Class A. An Army source familiar with what is being considered said design options included a dark navy blue jacket with gold buttons and dark navy blue trousers.

The dark blue trousers would be made of a more durable fabric than the traditional tropical wool blend used in the current dress blue uniform’s light blue trousers.

The dark blue trousers would be intended for soldiers who wear their Class A on a regular basis, the Army source said. Soldiers might have the choice of wearing the current dress blue trousers that sport a gold stripe, depending on the occasion, the source said.

The new dark blue trousers could have a colored stripe running down the outer seam of the leg. Shades for that stripe being considered are light blue, gold and black, the source said.

Other possibilities under consideration:

• The current white shirt on the dress blues could be changed to a light gray.

• Skill tabs, such as the Ranger tab, could be sewn on the shoulder, as they are with the dress greens, instead of the pin-on style worn on the current dress blues.

• The uniform jacket could feature a tailored or more athletic cut than the current Class A jacket.

Sgt. Maj. Raymond Arnold, who has not seen the prototypes, said he favors a more athletic cut to the dress uniform.

Encouraging physical fitness?

“I hate to admit it, but the Marine Corps dress uniforms look good,” said the 25th Infantry Division sergeant major. “Look at the Marines’ [uniform]; look how good it fits them. That’s going to push a lot of individuals to work on their midsection.”

Sgt. Maj. Bardrick McGuire isn’t so sure, saying he doesn’t think dark blue makes people think of soldiers.

“I’d keep the Army greens, because green is more associated with the Army,” said McGuire, a sergeant major in the XVIII Corps at Fort Bragg, N.C.

Other senior soldiers said they liked the dress blues concept, since the Army wore versions of it dating back to the earliest days of the republic.

Today, the polished appearance of the dress blue uniform is mostly associated with soldiers in the 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment, the Old Guard — the unit responsible for performing memorial services at Arlington Cemetery and maintaining a 24-hour guard post at the Tomb of the Unknowns.

If adopted, the new Class A uniform could feature separate versions for junior enlisted, senior enlisted and commissioned officers, including warrant officers. The idea would be that once soldiers make the rank of sergeant first class, they would wear the senior enlisted version. That version would likely include features such as gold piping at the end of each sleeve and as a border on the epaulettes, an Army source said.

Staff sergeants and below would not be required to spend the extra money having these items sewn on their uniform.

Other details that remain unclear are what the new uniforms would cost, if approved, and when soldiers would be required to begin wearing them.

New recruits are issued Class A uniforms upon entering service. Enlisted soldiers and sergeants receive an annual clothing allowance to buy uniforms; officers receive a one-time clothing allowance when commissioned.

It’s also unclear whether soldiers would continue to wear the black beret with the new uniform or be required to wear the traditional male and female service caps currently worn with the dress blue uniform.

When the effort began over the summer, uniform officials looked at several different colors and styles of dress uniforms. In addition to the blues, they looked at World War II-style “pinks and greens” and a version with the “Ike” jacket, an Army source said. Belted and nonbelted versions were also considered.

In the end, the Army’s senior leadership decided the best option would be to consider blending the green Class A’s and the dress blues into one uniform, an Army source said.

The current green Class A uniform, with its distinctive “Army Green shade 44” color, was adopted in 1954. The matching green jacket and trousers on the enlisted and officer versions have long been criticized for looking more like a business suit than a military uniform.

In 2001, Army Times polled its readers and found that a surprising number of soldiers strongly criticized the uniform for not looking military enough, for its polyester fabric — and for its distinctive green color.

Back to the future

Army Times commissioned New York fashion designer Stan Herman, well known for his work on uniforms, to take a crack at the Class A’s.

Herman delivered 12 designs that were featured in the July 30, 2001, issue. Most had a World War II flair, and Army Times readers reacted favorably.

An online poll conducted after the story to which 1,400 readers responded showed that an overwhelming majority wanted a new Class A.

Twenty-seven percent said they favored a blue uniform. Thirty-five percent preferred a neutral-colored, two-toned uniform reminiscent of the World War II “pinks and greens.” Even more — 38 percent — said they wanted to keep the current Class A.

On Nov. 18, 2001, then Army Chief of Staff Gen. Eric Shinseki directed the Army Uniform Board to look at a totally new design and new color for the Class A. But in March 2003, he rejected several proposals, including one that featured a blue design that would have combined the Class A and the dress blues into a single uniform.

As for this latest effort, there is no guarantee that anything about the Class A will change, according to Sgt. Maj. Katrina Easley, the Army’s uniform policy sergeant major.

Reiterating Preston’s point, Easley said, “This is just a concept. The Army hasn’t made a decision on whether or not it is going to change the uniform,” she said.

Army Times showed Army Secretary Francis Harvey an artist’s rendering of the proposed changes at a Feb. 7 interview and asked the secretary how he liked it.

“How do soldiers like it?” he asked. “In all seriousness, the soldiers have got to like it,” Harvey said. “This will be vetted; this will be worked out just like, I think, the ACUs were worked out and, you know, it was worked out through the sergeant majors.”

And in fact, Preston wrote, “If a decision is made to move forward with changes, soldiers and leaders will be asked to provide input. Much like the Army Combat Uniform, which was designed by soldiers, for soldiers, any changes to our dress uniforms will be made by the soldiers who will stand proudly in them.”

What do you think?
Is it easy being green, or do you like the change to the Army Class A’s that the Army is considering?

Which option would you prefer, or do you have an idea of your own?

Tell us what you think.

Send an email, with “Dress Blues” in the subject line, to armylet@atpco.com.


Link Posted: 2/14/2006 7:09:18 PM EDT
Link Posted: 2/14/2006 7:10:21 PM EDT
Ooooooooooooooooookay.


I just wish the Navy would bring back Class A's in Khaki like during WWII. THAT was a BAD ASS uniform!
Link Posted: 2/14/2006 7:11:50 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Zaphod:
Ooooooooooooooooookay.


I just wish the Navy would bring back Class A's in Khaki like during WWII. THAT was a BAD ASS uniform!



Don't like the Aviators Greens?

Link Posted: 2/14/2006 7:12:53 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 2/14/2006 7:13:11 PM EDT by Zaphod]

Originally Posted By KA3B:

Don't like the Aviators Greens?




Link Posted: 2/14/2006 7:15:07 PM EDT
I personally liked the dress blues better than the greens, but could only wear them at the Military Police Ball, and very few other occasions.
Link Posted: 2/14/2006 7:18:49 PM EDT
Eh just trying to be like the Marine Corps.....again!

Link Posted: 2/14/2006 7:20:50 PM EDT
i prefer the dress blues
Link Posted: 2/14/2006 7:22:55 PM EDT
That sucks.
Link Posted: 2/14/2006 7:26:19 PM EDT
What pisses me off about this is that when the change goes through, everyone is going to have to shell out good money to replace their uniforms.

As if they were so well paid that they could afford this!

Link Posted: 2/14/2006 7:33:30 PM EDT
We already have a dress blue uniform, and we had a blue uniform before the Marines so there. Definately the class A could use a tune up.
Link Posted: 2/14/2006 7:35:23 PM EDT

Originally Posted By 161Infantry:
We already have a dress blue uniform, and we had a blue uniform before the Marines so there. Definately the class A could use a tune up.



Yeah, but only we make it look good
Link Posted: 2/14/2006 7:45:07 PM EDT

Originally Posted By adair_usmc:

Originally Posted By 161Infantry:
We already have a dress blue uniform, and we had a blue uniform before the Marines so there. Definately the class A could use a tune up.



Yeah, but only we make it look good



Can't argue with that!

I think it's a good idea. S/F
Link Posted: 2/14/2006 7:49:20 PM EDT
Ya them Marine dress blues look good, but whats up with the jar on top of the shoulders???
Link Posted: 2/14/2006 7:50:17 PM EDT

Originally Posted By 161Infantry:
Ya them Marine dress blues look good, but whats up with the jar on top of the shoulders???



A weapon of opportunity
Link Posted: 2/14/2006 7:54:21 PM EDT
If they made it look like something that reminded you of the old "union blue" uniforms, that would be cool.


If it just makes the Army look like a bunch of Air Force guys with army patches, that would be stupid.
Link Posted: 2/14/2006 7:55:32 PM EDT

Originally Posted By adair_usmc:

Originally Posted By 161Infantry:
Ya them Marine dress blues look good, but whats up with the jar on top of the shoulders???



A weapon of opportunity

More like lost opportunity, he could have been a real soldier!
Link Posted: 2/14/2006 7:57:38 PM EDT


Link Posted: 2/14/2006 7:58:16 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 2/14/2006 8:00:42 PM EDT by eodtech2000]
I like the old Khaki Class A uniforms from the WWII era.

Link Posted: 2/14/2006 7:59:01 PM EDT

Originally Posted By GUNGUY1911:

Originally Posted By adair_usmc:

Originally Posted By 161Infantry:
Ya them Marine dress blues look good, but whats up with the jar on top of the shoulders???



A weapon of opportunity

More like lost opportunity, he could have been a real soldier!





ARMY - Aint Ready to be Marines Yet
Link Posted: 2/14/2006 8:01:43 PM EDT
I like the WW-II look for Class-A's myself.
Link Posted: 2/14/2006 8:03:24 PM EDT
I think it would be nice to get back to "Simpler" times. I love some of the Colonial Type Uniforms
Link Posted: 2/14/2006 9:11:10 PM EDT
Personally, I think Army Blues are nicer then Marine Blues. Where the Corps have us beat hands down is with the Class As, their olive drab uniform is far better than the current Army green. My old Irish uniform is hanging in the closet, that was an excellent combination of drab and tan, very similar to the Marine one.

I really do like the Dress Blues, but I think they should be kept a dress uniform. I'd not object to a change in the Greens to a brown colour, or at least, less forest green. Frankly, the current As look cheap.

NTM
Link Posted: 2/14/2006 9:25:50 PM EDT

The current green Class A uniform, with its distinctive “Army Green shade 44” color, was adopted in 1954. The matching green jacket and trousers on the enlisted and officer versions have long been criticized for looking more like a business suit than a military uniform.


That goes double for the Goddamned uniform "upgrade" the Air Force made a few years ago. Makes an Air Force officer look like a fucking commercial airline pilot at first glance.

<stares angrily at my AF (CAP) uniforms>

Link Posted: 2/14/2006 9:29:08 PM EDT
I don't want to pay for a new uniform.
Link Posted: 2/14/2006 9:32:08 PM EDT
I like the look of the old "pinks and greens." Throw in the brown shoes and a sam browne belt and it would look sharp.
Link Posted: 2/14/2006 9:40:50 PM EDT

Originally Posted By smokycity:
I like the WW-II look for Class-A's myself.



+1
Link Posted: 2/14/2006 10:24:45 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 2/14/2006 10:28:17 PM EDT by FAIL-SAFE]
My
Ass
Reamed
In
Navy
Equipmen­t

Some Navy fella said somethng to this affect, while at a local gunshop.
Link Posted: 2/14/2006 10:52:25 PM EDT
That would be gay, they should give us the khaki that we used to have long before I was a twinkle in my daddies eye.
Link Posted: 2/14/2006 10:55:12 PM EDT

Originally Posted By AR15:
I don't want to pay for a new uniform.



I just bought ONE ACU uniform, with patches ran me over $110...
Link Posted: 2/14/2006 10:59:52 PM EDT
My initial reaction on reading the thread title was negative.

Blue and I first think of air force.

But on reflection, something like the old cavalry uniforms would look a lot sharper than the current green uniforms, and would have a historical basis.

Granted, it’s academic to me since I mustered out in 1969! (We did have rather neat summer khaki’s back then – though they really were just another uniform to worry about.)

I will forever hate the black beret.
Link Posted: 2/14/2006 11:02:01 PM EDT
Ah, for fucks sake. All they have to do to improve the A, is get rid of that ugly ass puke green shirt that goes with it and replace it with the old khaki, keep everything else. MAYBE, add the optional Ike jacket or something, but not damn blue.
Link Posted: 2/15/2006 4:37:54 AM EDT

Originally Posted By stony275:

Originally Posted By smokycity:
I like the WW-II look for Class-A's myself.



+1



+2

I say go back to the WWII Olive Drab color and get rid of that lousy green....

And bring back the Khaki's too
Link Posted: 2/15/2006 4:54:13 AM EDT
man, just get rid of that horrid polyester shit and make it out of quality uniform material and you'll be fine. maybe tone down that bright green color some. and, yeah, get rid of that ugly ass shirt!

wonder if they'll use velcro patches?
Link Posted: 2/15/2006 4:54:54 AM EDT
As long as its not U.N. blue.
Link Posted: 2/15/2006 5:09:14 AM EDT
Link Posted: 2/15/2006 5:17:18 AM EDT
Mimicry, it works for animals…if they LOOK like Marines, people will THINK they are Marines. That should should work for them, just like it did for the Navy with dress uniforms.

Link Posted: 2/15/2006 5:26:40 AM EDT

Originally Posted By TRW:
I like the look of the old "pinks and greens." Throw in the brown shoes and a sam browne belt and it would look sharp.


Huge +1 on that. Just go back to WW2 uniforms.
Link Posted: 2/15/2006 6:04:47 AM EDT
Talk aout going postal!
Link Posted: 2/15/2006 6:08:04 AM EDT
Are they gonna add some digital pattern to the uniform? That seems to be all the rage.

Meanwhile, in Iraq...
Meanwhile, in Iran...
Meanwhile, in North Korea...
Meanwhile...
Link Posted: 2/15/2006 6:17:23 AM EDT

Originally Posted By nf9648:

Originally Posted By AR15:
I don't want to pay for a new uniform.



I just bought ONE ACU uniform, with patches ran me over $110...



That 16 "pieces of flair" rule sucks huh?
Link Posted: 2/15/2006 6:24:38 AM EDT

Originally Posted By Airwolf:

The current green Class A uniform, with its distinctive “Army Green shade 44” color, was adopted in 1954. The matching green jacket and trousers on the enlisted and officer versions have long been criticized for looking more like a business suit than a military uniform.


That goes double for the Goddamned uniform "upgrade" the Air Force made a few years ago. Makes an Air Force officer look like a fucking commercial airline pilot at first glance.

<stares angrily at my AF (CAP) uniforms>




+1, but I'm still a cadet in CAP, so I get to wear the old style service coat, for now at least...
Link Posted: 2/15/2006 7:26:31 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 2/15/2006 7:27:28 AM EDT by xinflt]
BIG +1

Got married in mine.... no tux for me!
Link Posted: 2/15/2006 7:36:42 AM EDT
As someone has already said, the main problem with Class As is the puke green shirt. Replace that with a khaki or even grey shirt and that would solve the problem.
That said, if they changed it to blue, that wouldn't be bad. Much more cost effective to just change that shitty shirt though.
Link Posted: 2/15/2006 7:52:17 AM EDT

Originally Posted By TRW:
I like the look of the old "pinks and greens." Throw in the brown shoes and a sam browne belt and it would look sharp.



+1
Link Posted: 2/15/2006 9:11:35 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 2/15/2006 9:13:10 AM EDT by hardcorps1775]
oh man, what about a straight black uniform with a stand up collar like the acu has??? you could even have bevo collar tabs with rank insignia and branch of svc plus a black leather garrison belt with a buckle with the army insignia and "god is with us" on it! it would look cool with the black beret!

hey, it's ww2!
Link Posted: 2/15/2006 9:18:52 AM EDT
Link Posted: 2/15/2006 9:20:24 AM EDT
They both look stupid.

Link Posted: 2/15/2006 9:23:03 AM EDT
I think it'd be good for them to go to the historical-uniform, so long as they use modern materials.

And while they're at it, maybe they can flip their goddamn chevrons right-side-up again!
Link Posted: 2/15/2006 9:29:43 AM EDT

Originally Posted By Zaphod:
What pisses me off about this is that when the change goes through, everyone is going to have to shell out good money to replace their uniforms.

As if they were so well paid that they could afford this!




Yeah, I just loved shelling out loot for the PT uniform change, The ACU change and now the Class A change.

If they want to keep changing shit, they need to double our clothing allowance or issue the stuff to us.
Link Posted: 2/15/2006 9:31:38 AM EDT

Originally Posted By geezhound:
...or issue the stuff to us.


a one-time issue to enlisted personnel for sure!
Arrow Left Previous Page
Page / 2
Top Top