It's now official. The Army Green Class A uniform, which has been in use since the mid-1950s. is out and the new Blue Service Uniform is in.
The green uniform has been replaced by a variation of the blue uniform, which has been in testing phase for years. Many Soldiers already own an Army blue uniform (now to be called the Army Service Uniform) and may continue to wear it. However, improvements have been made to the new "Army Service Uniform," or ACU, to to the fabric and fit. The new ASU coat, similar to the existing blue coat, will be made of a wrinkle-resistant material and will have a more "athletic" cut.
“World-class Soldiers deserve a simplified, quality uniform. The blue Army Service Uniform is a traditional uniform that is consistent with the Army’s most honored traditions,” said Sgt. Maj. Of the Army Kenneth O. Preston.
The consolidation of Army service uniforms is part of a streamlining process. In 2004, the Army reduced the number of battle dress uniforms from three to one when it adopted the Army Combat Uniform in place of the Woodland Green Battle Dress Uniform (winter and summer versions) and the Desert Combat Uniform. That uniform consolidation has been a resounding success in terms of soldier acceptance and reducing the variety of combat uniforms with which they must deal.
Army Blue as a uniform color traces its origins back to the National Blue and was first worn by Soldiers in the Continental Army of 1779.
Other changes to the uniform include authorization of a combat service identification badge to recognize combat service, overseas service bars authorized on the jacket sleeve for both enlisted Soldiers and officers, the wear of distinctive unit insignia on the shoulder loops of the blue coat for enlisted Soldiers, authorizing paratroopers to wear the black jump boots with the blue ASU, and the decision to transition to a new short sleeve and long sleeve white shirt with shoulder loops.
It is also permissible for enlisted Soldiers to wear both overseas service bars and service stripes on the new blue ASU coat. Officers and Soldiers in the grade of corporal and above will additionally wear a gold braid on their slacks to indicate leadership roles.
New items for the ASU will be available in military clothing sales after July 2009.
Soldiers will have until July 2014 to possess the entire uniform. Soldiers graduating from basic training will receive the ASU during basic beginning in the summer of 2010. The two key components of the uniform, the coat and slacks, are expected to cost around $140, with modifications bringing the total cost to $200. Enlisted Soldiers will receive an increase in their annual uniform allowance to help offset the cost of the uniform.
Other changes announced include:
- Soldiers who wear green, tan or maroon berets, soldiers assigned to air assault coded positions and military police on duty will be permitted to blouse their trousers with the black leather combat boot.
- The black, tan, maroon and green beret will be permitted with all uniforms.
- White shirts will be worn with all Class A and B uniforms.