While it’s mainly commanders and command sergeants major, I’ve seen an increasing number of soldiers wearing the new Army uniform lately.
If you recall, the new Army Combat Uniform — which has the same camouflage pattern as the one worn by soldiers who deployed to Afghanistan in recent years — went on sale at post exchanges Army-wide on July 1.
A new Army uniform isn’t exactly cheap: The coat costs $46.73 and the trousers cost $46.07. Patrol caps are $8.10. So that’s about a hundred bucks right there, and that doesn’t include the T-shirt, belt and boots.
The Army is encouraging soldiers to use their clothing allowance to buy the new uniform as the old uniforms are being phased out in the next few years.
I’ve heard the mixed-uniforms issue is coming with some trepidation for some leaders who don’t like to see two sets of uniforms in a formation.
I get that. After all, you can’t spell uniformity without uniform.
Still, the phase-out method the Army is doing may be for the best. Not all soldiers can afford to shuck out the hundreds of dollars it will take to replace his or her military wardrobe in a month or two.
Some may have to wait months or perhaps even up to a year to collect the clothing allowance.
Still, the official wear-out date for the old uniforms seems to be a long way away — Sept. 30, 2019.
Technically, a new recruit could sign up today, serve four years, and be out before having to wear the new uniform.
That seems a little long in my book.
And what happens if, two or three years from now, a soldier in formation is wearing the old uniform, while everybody else in his company or battalion is wearing the new uniform?
I’d hate to be that guy.
Still, the Army says it will be OK.
We’ll see how that turns out.
If soldiers want to provide some input on the new uniforms or possible upcoming revisions, they should check their emails in the coming weeks.
Senior Army leaders, including Sgt. Maj. of the Army Daniel A. Dailey and Army Chief of Staff Gen. Ray Odierno, have authorized an online survey across all major commands to receive feedback on several uniform topics.
Soldiers, who are invited to participate in the survey, will get an email invitation with instructions on how to log in to the online questionnaire.
Jacob Brooks, a former Army tanker, is the Fort Hood Herald editor and military editor of the Killeen Daily Herald. He was stationed at Fort Hood and served with the 1st Cavalry Division from 1993 to 1996. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or 254-501-7468.