WASHINGTON – The Army plans to issue a new World War II-style uniform starting the summer of 2020, as senior leaders look to sharpen the professional appearance of Soldiers and inspire others to join them.
The Army Greens uniform, a version of the garb worn by the Greatest Generation, will now be sported by today’s troops as they lead the service into the future.
“As I go around talking to Soldiers … they’re very excited about it,” said Sgt. Maj. of the Army Daniel A. Dailey. “They’re excited for the same reasons why we wanted to do this. The uniform is very much still in the minds of many Americans.”
The Army Service Uniform will revert to a dress uniform for more formal events, while the Operational Camouflage Pattern uniform will still be used as the duty attire.
The Army does not plan to get rid of the ASU or have Soldiers wear the Army Greens uniform in the motor pool, Dailey said last week during a media roundtable at the Pentagon.
“The intent is to not replace the duty uniform,” he said. “You’re still going to have a time and place to wear the duty uniform every day.”
Ultimately, what Soldiers wear will be up to the unit commander, said Brig. Gen. Anthony Potts, the officer in charge of PEO Soldier – the lead developer of the uniform. “Each commander out there,” he confirmed, “will have the opportunity to determine what the uniform is going to be.”
The Greens uniform, Potts said, will provide a better option to Soldiers who work in an office or in public areas.
“What we found is that the ASU itself doesn't really dress down well to a service uniform with a white shirt and stripes on the pants,” the general observed.
In the summer of 2020, fielding is expected to start with Soldiers arriving to their first duty assignments. The uniform also will be available for Soldiers to purchase at that time. The mandatory wear date for all Soldiers is set for 2028.
The new uniform will be cost-neutral for enlisted Soldiers, who will be able to purchase it with their clothing allowance.
Before any of that, the Greens uniform will begin a limited user evaluation within 90 days to help finalize its design. “Every time you create a new uniform, the devil is in the details,” Potts said.
The first uniforms will go out to about 200 Soldiers, mainly recruiters, who interact with the public on a daily basis. PEO Soldier teams will then go out and conduct surveys and analysis with those wearing the Greens.
“What that does is help us fix or correct any of the design patterns that need to be altered,” Potts said, “or any potential quality problems you might see with some of the first runs of new materials.”
PEO Soldier worked with design teams at the Army Natick Soldier Research, Development and Engineering Center to modernize the WWII-era uniform. Some of the updates make the uniform more durable and comfortable, he said.
“There will be differences,” the general noted. “We’re using different materials, and there are slight differences in design, but we’re keeping the authentic feel of that time period and that original uniform.”
The Army Uniform Board, part of the Army G-4 office, also sought and addressed feedback from the service’s first all-female advisory panel. One approved change they recommended was the slacks and low-quarter dress shoes instead of the skirt and pumps for female troops.
“It created a more comfortable uniform for them during the day,” Potts said of what he had heard from female demonstrators who have worn the uniform. “And they really felt like it was a very sharp uniform that they were proud to wear.”
While the uniform is issued with an all-weather coat, there will be optional jackets for Soldiers to purchase and wear. An Eisenhower or “Ike” waist-length jacket will be available as well as a green-colored tanker jacket and a leather bomber jacket.
Options for headgear will include the garrison cap and the beret, both of which will be issued. Soldiers also will have the option to purchase a service cap.
Dailey said those wearing the uniform will help honor the brave servicemen and women who came before them.
“This nation came together during World War II and fought and won a great war,” Dailey said. “And that’s what the secretary and the chief want to do, which is to capitalize on that Greatest Generation because there’s another great generation that is serving today, and that’s the Soldiers who serve in the United States Army.”