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New Service Dress Uniform in the Future?

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Possible Air Force Service Dress Prototype

Brig. Gen. Robert Allardice and Senior Master Sgt. Dana Athnos show off prototypes of the Billy Mitchell heritage coat in the Pentagon on Monday, May 15, 2006.

Official USAF Photo
Updated May 18, 2006
by Master Sgt. Mitch Gettle

Based on feedback received during visits with Airmen across the Air Force, the Air Force Uniform Board is reviewing several concepts that Airmen have suggested regarding the appearance of the service dress uniform.

Some of the informal feedback about the current service dress includes Airmen wanting to revamp the service dress to look more military, like the other services. One senior airman said, “the current uniform resembles a cheesy business suit.” Another staff sergeant said, “think world’s most dominating air power, not CEO,” and another described it as a “cheap leisure suit.”

Other comments have suggested that the uniform needs to reflect the Air Force’s history more. On an Internet message board an Airman recently wrote, “I want to look good and be proud of my AF heritage.” Another Airman wrote that the dress uniform pales in comparison to any of the other services. "We need something that distinguishes us as proud members of the U.S. military.”

The Air Force began exploring these ideas by producing several prototypes that reflect a combination of ideas that have been gleaned from comments, suggestions and informal surveys conducted over the past several years.

A more formal survey soon will provide additional opportunities for Airmen to provide feedback and comments.

"We’ve been getting informal feedback on our current service dress uniform for several years, and what we consistently have heard from many Airmen is a desire for a more 'military,' and less 'corporate' look and feel, something more reflective of the Air Force’s heritage, and its role as a professional military organization,” said Brig. Gen. Robert Allardice, director of Airman development and sustainment, deputy chief of staff for manpower and personnel.

“The Uniform Board has come up with some options to explore these concepts and the initial prototypes are direct descendants of our heritage, rooted in Hap Arnold and Billy Mitchell’s Air Force,” General Allardice said.

The survey will provide a more formal opportunity to collect feedback on whether or not Airmen want a new service dress, and if so, what changes, likes, or dislikes they have about the prototypes.

“We believe we need to respond to the force and the constant flow of feedback we receive on the service dress is driving this initiative. We see this as an opportunity to do so, along with a chance to reflect on our rich history, as well as the image we wish to portray in uniform,” said General Allardice. “We want to make sure our uniforms, all combinations, meet our current and future needs.”

This process will use the standard Air Force Uniform Board process and as with the Airman’s Battle Uniform, Airmen are encouraged to take the opportunity to directly contribute to how their new service uniform might look.

The Air Force will present options based on feedback received on possible service dress designs through the uniform board process.

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