By Master Sgt. Tracy Wallace, 90th Civil Engineer Squadron first sergeant
/ Published September 21, 2012
F. E. WARREN AIR FORCE BASE, Wyo. --
Seasons change and so do our uniforms combinations. Air Force Instruction 36-2903, Dress and Appearance, and the Air Force Global Strike Command supplement make it easy to know what you can and can't wear. As I walk around base facilities, I have noticed some interesting, yet, unauthorized uniform combinations. Therefore, to keep everyone in the right frame of wear this fall and winter, let's cover the top Airman Battle Uniform, physical training and winter outerwear discrepancies.
ABUs have been authorized for wear since 2007 and over time our adherence has slipped. After polling several of my fellow first sergeants, we came to the conclusion that individuals with hands in their pockets have gone viral. Regardless of the uniform, one cannot walk or stand around with their hands in their pockets. Another notable discrepancy is people still wearing their original-issue ABUs from 2007. Faded uniforms and/or hats should be changed out for a more professional image when they become interchangeable with "snow camouflage." Finally, ABU boots need to be clean and serviceable. Especially as winter comes, it is important to clean the salt, mud and snow from our boots; by doing this you will ensure your boots will look better and last longer. The next uniform that is commonly worn wrong is the PT ensemble.
PT clothing started as PT gear but when it became a uniform, standards became easier to identify and enforce. Shaving is a no-brainer in ABUs and service dress, but as I walked through the fitness center this morning, I counted four men who had either a goatee or a 5 a.m. shadow. The AFI states that "All personal grooming standards apply while participating in physical fitness activities." A second common discrepancy is improper wear of the jacket, which must be "zipped at least halfway between the waistband and collar." Thirdly, incorrect undershirt and sportswear colors under both the t-shirts and shorts have been observed. Under the t-shirt the AFI states "short and long-sleeved white or light gray form fitting undershirts...may be worn." For underneath the shorts only "short, mid and full-length solid black or dark blue form fitting sportswear...may be worn." Now that we have looked at ABU and PT uniforms let's look at winter outerwear.
Wyoming has harsh and windy weather during the fall and winter seasons, so it's important to dress properly in winter outerwear. You can still be warm and be within regulation if you avoid these common pitfalls. Fleece jackets must be the "wooly bear type" and must have the name, rank and U.S. Air Force insignias. The All Purpose Environmental System or APECs jacket also requires the wear of rank. When purchasing the rank, purchase the AF-authorized rank and not one from another service. Regardless of either coat you are wearing, it must be removed once you enter into a building; then when you go to leave, you must wear your top shirt (ABU blouse) underneath. Lastly, the black and green watch caps may be worn with outerwear or in the PT uniform. Note that if you plan on wearing watch caps that it "fits squarely on the head with the fold being no larger than three inches." The front of the caps should be within ½ inch from your eyebrows, without bunching and without any commercial insignias. Yes, no logos of any type!
No one wants to be "that guy" with the questionable uniform wear. By avoiding these common discrepancies in your uniform combinations, you will be warm and within standards all fall and winter long. Remember, if in doubt, AFI 36-2903 and the AFGSC supplement are only a couple of mouse clicks away on the AF Portal.