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Air Force Dress and Appearance

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Battle Dress Uniform (BDU). The BDU is considered work clothing; therefore, it is inappropriate to wear at certain times off base. BDUs may be worn off base for short convenience stops and when eating at restaurants where people wear comparable civilian attire. Do not wear BDUs off base for extended dining, shopping, socializing, taking part in entertainment, or when going to establishments that operate primarily to serve alcohol.

BDU Shirt. The long-sleeved camouflage pattern sleeves may be rolled up; if rolled up, the sleeve material must match the shirt and will touch or come within 1 inch of the forearm when the arm is bent at a 90-degree angle. The BDU shirt may be removed in the immediate work area.

Hat. Either the garrison cap or unit-authorized organizational "base ball cap" is mandatory for wear outdoors (except in designated "no hat" areas).

Mandatory Accoutrements:

Tapes. Center the US AIR FORCE tape immediately above the left breast pocket. Center the name tape (last name only) immediately above the right breast pocket. Cut off or fold tapes to match pocket width.

Chevrons. Center the chevron (4 inch for men; 3 1/2 or 4 inch for women) halfway between the shoulder seam and elbow when bent at a 90-degree angle. When sleeves are rolled up, chevrons do not need to be fully visible but must be distinguishable.

Aeronautical Badges. Aeronautical badges are mandatory. See below for information on wear of aeronautical badges and other badges.

Optional Accoutrements:

Patches. Patches are worn at the commander's discretion. If worn, center emblems (subdued and/or full color) on the lower portion of the pocket between the left and right edges and bottom of the flap and pocket. Center any additional emblems over the right pocket 1/2 inch above the name tape.

Badges. Aeronautical badges are mandatory. Others are optional. Center the subdued, embroidered badge (aeronautical, occupational, or miscellaneous) 1/2 inch above the US AIR FORCE tape. Center an additional badge 1/2 inch above the first badge. Aeronautical badges are worn above occupational and miscellaneous badges. When more than one aeronautical badge is worn, the second badge (occupational or miscellaneous) becomes optional. If more than one occupational badge is worn, the badge that reflects the current job is worn in the top position. A third badge (miscellaneous, occupational, or missile) may be worn on the lower portion of the left pocket, between the left and right edges and bottom of the flap and bottom of the pocket. No more than three earned embroidered badges (only two can be occupational badges) may be worn on BDUs.

Trousers. Trousers must be evenly bloused (gathered in and draped over loosely) over the combat boots. The black tip of the belt may extend up to 2 inches beyond the buckle and faces toward the wearer's left (men) or either right or left (women).

Footwear:

Combat Boots. Boots must be black, with or without safety toe, plain rounded toe, or rounded capped toe with or without perforated seam. They must be made of smooth or scotched-grain leather or manmade material and may have a high gloss or patent finish.

Hot Weather, Tropical Boots. Boots must have green or black cloth/canvas and black leather with plain toe. Zipper or elastic inserts are optional.

Socks. Wear either plain black or white socks. During exercises and contingencies, wear black socks or black socks over white socks to preclude white socks from showing.

Editor's Note: The Air Force is considering replacing the BDU with a more distinctive Air Force work uniform. If this happens, it will likely be a few years down the road. For details, see Air Force Tests New Utility Uniform.

Above information derived from AFPAM36-2241V1, PME Study Guide

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