The Army could begin issuing the first batch of its retro-style service uniforms this month in a push to get recruiters onto the streets of “hometown America” in the new duds, the Army’s top enlisted soldier said Monday.
The plan is for an initial production of 200 uniforms for recruiters beginning as early as this month, Sgt. Maj. of the Army Daniel Dailey said in a podcast hosted by the Association of the U.S. Army.
The Army is still fine-tuning how best to pin decorations and awards on the new World War II-style Army Service Uniform, Dailey said. The present plan is to wear the uniform in the same manner as the current ASU, minus the name tag. But that could be streamlined going forward.
“If we look at what they wore during that period, it was much less than what we wear today … and I think what you are going to see in the future is a change,” he said.
Last year, the Army officially adopted the iconic WWII-period outfit as its new service uniform after about two years of debating the merits of the plan. Referred to in the past as “pinks and greens,” the service today simply calls the uniform Army Greens.
By 2020, the uniform will be issued to new soldiers after finishing basic training. It will be required servicewide by 2028. Dailey, the Army’s biggest booster of changing over to the retro look, has made a point of wearing the outfit at high-profile venues like the Army-Navy Game and AUSA’s annual meeting in Washington.
Soldiers will continue to wear their blue dress uniform for formal occasions, but the Greens will offer a more casual alternative that fits into an office setting.
With the U.S. at war for the past 17 years, camouflage have been the uniform of choice for soldiers even when working in offices. But before 2001, it was commonplace to see soldiers wear their service uniforms, which is something Dailey said he would like to see the Army get back to with the new Greens.
“I do want to put our soldiers back in a professional uniform,” Dailey said.
In international settings, such as NATO headquarters in Belgium, the site of U.S. soldiers in fatigues and combat boots has been a source of sartorial amusement over the years among their allies wearing office uniforms.
The new uniform, which includes pinkish-brown trousers and dark olive jackets, harkens to the time when Gen. George Marshall was the Army’s chief of staff.
The Army’s effort to draw on its past also is something of a nod to the Marine Corps, whose Marines have been wearing the same classic dress and service uniforms for generations.
“(The Marines) didn’t get away from that uniform and that period. It’s iconic when you see a Marine,” Dailey said, adding that Greens, though retired long ago, also hold a place in the popular imagination.
“Even though we got away from (the Army Greens) the American people still clearly identify this uniform with the greatest generation,” he said.
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