WASHINGTON — The uniforms of the U.S. Army are ubiquitous around the globe for what they represent: loyalty, duty, respect, selfless service, honor, integrity, and professional courage. Whether a Soldier is wearing the Operational Camouflage Pattern combat uniform, the formal service uniform, or the physical fitness uniform, he or she knows the power of the image that the uniform conveys.
As the Chief of Public Affairs for the Army, Brig. Gen. Omar J. Jones deeply understands the image the uniform presents.
“Our uniform represents all Americans who have served in our great Army since 1775 and those serving around the world today,” he said. “It represents our commitment to this nation and to the American people to protect and defend our Constitution and its ideals. And, it is a symbol of the discipline, values, and heritage of the U.S. Army.”
His words were echoed by 1st Lt. Emily O’Neill, public affairs officer with the 197th Field Artillery Brigade, New Hampshire Army National Guard, who described her thoughts about the combat uniform.
“When I put on the uniform, I’m reminded of my commitment to selfless service for the American public, my duty to defend this country from all enemies foreign and domestic, and my unwavering loyalty to the U.S. Constitution,” she said.
In 2015, the Army announced a change in the combat uniform from the Universal Camouflage Pattern to the Operational Camouflage Pattern. The mandatory date for possession for the OCP is Oct. 1, 2019.
For Soldiers — and civilians — who are curious about the new look and various components of the OCP, Army.mil has launched a newly redesigned, interactive Uniforms site at www.army.mil/uniforms. The site features full-body photos and information about the service uniform and physical fitness uniform, various combat badges, and a helpful FAQ page for the most common uniform questions.
The new OCP pattern design includes several functional changes. It removes several hook and loop closures, replacing them with button and zipper closures to enable quicker access to pockets. While internal knee pads were removed, double reinforcement of the fabric still occurs at the knee and elbow. And extra pen pockets were removed, while upper sleeve pocket length was increased to allow for greater utility.
Soldiers who have not yet purchased the new uniform can do so at their local Army and Air Force Exchange Service, using their yearly clothing stipend.
Even with the uniform guidance released by the Army over the past few years, Anthony Moore, sergeant major of the Uniform Policy Branch within the Deputy Chief of Staff G-1 office, highlighted a few of the most common questions that Soldiers approach him with regarding the proper use of their uniforms and gear.
With cold weather now embracing many parts of the U.S. during the winter months, Moore pointed out that Soldiers are still authorized to wear the UCP Cold Weather Gear with the OCP uniform, including the black and foliage green fleece.
Moore also noted that many Soldiers erroneously believe they are allowed to cuff their Army Combat Uniform Sleeves while in garrison. However, this is only authorized during deployment or in a field environment.
And when headed to the gym for physical fitness, Soldiers are not authorized to drape a gym bag across their body. The bag must be either hand-carried or carried using both shoulders.
Soldiers can view more commonly-asked uniform questions on the new website.
By Crystal Marshall, ARNEWS