Based on feedback from the six-month wear test, Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. John P. Jumper decided to expand the current test program to include a pixelated tiger-striped pattern in a new color scheme on the proposed utility uniform.
The expansion does not involve a full test; instead, there will be a limited production to test pattern and color, said Senior Master Sgt. Jacqueline Dean, the uniform board superintendent.
The color scheme is only one of many improvements we are testing, Sergeant Dean said.
A small, select group of testers will wear the newest pattern. The solid tiger-striped pattern with its dominant blue overtones is gone. The latest pixelated test pattern has a more subdued color scheme and is not nearly as distinctive as the one unveiled at the start in August 2003; yet it provides the distinctiveness Airmen have requested, officials said.
We have sufficient input from Airmen throughout the Air Force to ensure that our uniform decisions are on target with regard to wear, ease of maintenance and fit, Sergeant Dean said. We kept hearing throughout the test that Airmen loved the wash-and-wear feature and the fit. The design of the uniform will essentially stay the same, with minor modifications based (on) the wear-testers recommendations.
General Jumper will announce the final decisions regarding the new utility uniform once the test data are analyzed and presented. Determination is expected within the next two months, officials said.
The new design represents a uniform that could be universally worn in all environments, Sergeant Dean said. The unique fit and design will remain the same, as Air Force officials said they want a distinctive uniform for Airmen that fits better and is easier and less expensive to maintain.
There really wasnt much that Airmen didnt like about the design of the uniform, she said, basing her comment on the large volume of feedback the board received via e-mail, surveys, focus groups and online questionnaires. We really did capture what they needed and what they wanted.
The chief of staff listened to the Airmen, Sergeant Dean said. We asked what they wanted in a uniform, what they needed in a uniform and, as a result, this is exactly what were getting.