So, finally, long after my time in Uncle Sam’s colors, the U.S. Army is finally going back to a uniform that doesn’t make you look like a traffic cop or… ugh… a sailor. (Just kidding, all you present and veteran squids out there.) Excerpt:
The United States Army wanted a spiffy new service uniform, one that would stand out in a tough recruiting environment and polish the Army’s image after a generation of grinding and divisive wars.
So it turned the clock back. Way back.
It chose a new uniform that looks almost exactly like the old green gabardine wool field coat and khaki trousers that officers wore in World War II. Probably not by coincidence, that’s what the Army was wearing the last time the nation celebrated total victory in a major war.
“We went back and asked, when is the most prominent time when the Army’s service to our nation was universally recognized, and the answer came very quickly,” said Daniel A. Dailey, the sergeant major of the Army, the highest-ranking enlisted soldier in the service. “That victory, that impact on the nation, is still felt today by the sons and daughters and grandsons and granddaughters of the ‘Greatest Generation.’”
Army Greens will be the military equivalent of a business suit, which the Army largely stopped using during the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Just as civilians have been dressing more casually in professional and social settings, troops have been wearing camouflage fatigues in situations that used to call for a jacket and tie, like office work or travel between bases. Even in the Pentagon, officers spend a good deal of their time in combat boots.
With far fewer troops deployed in combat operations now, though, the Army has signaled that it wants to get back to the old spit and polish. It is hoping that reintroducing an iconic service uniform from the days of the Band of Brothers and Rosie the Riveter will help reframe its public image.
This does have the distinct look of the WW2 uniforms, although the difference between officer and enlisted uniforms will be less pronounced, it appears. Dad used to comment that in the Forties, you could tell an officer from an enlisted man from across the parade ground; not a good thing in combat, but possibly handy in garrison.
Honestly, though, I like the return to a bit of spit and polish. It’s part of the soldier’s discipline to keep one’s self strack; back in my Cold War days, when in garrison, we took a great deal of pride in looking high-speed, low-drag, with pressed OD’s/BDUs, spit-shined boots and blocked caps. And boy howdy, the yarns you’d hear spun in those late-night boot-shining parties.
A soldier should look soldierly. You’re representing the entire U.S. Army when you wear that uniform, and more than that, you’re representing your country. You should wear the uniform with pride.