I spent the last few days in the field with an Army National Guard unit for an upcoming story as the soldiers were conducting their individual weapons qualifications. I talked with the soldiers about several things — everything from geopolitics to the best place to get real, authentic Mexican food. One of the other subjects I brought up was the Army’s recent adoption of the Army Greens (aka pinks and greens) service uniform, which, according to Stars and Stripes, will be hitting the force beginning in 2020.
I’d estimate that about 50 percent of the soldiers I spoke with had not heard about the new uniform at all; it just isn’t on their radar. The other half that had heard about it were split — some liked the idea and were excited to wear the uniform, while others told me they prefer the current Army Service Uniform (ASU).
A recent poll conducted by the Army Times showed that an overwhelming 72 percent of people surveyed were in favor of the new uniform, while just 28 percent would rather the Army stick with the ASU. People on Reddit were divided as well, but one question seems to be on the forefront of every soldier’s mind: how is the Army going to pay for it? The Army plans for the uniform to be “cost neutral,” but how is that going to be achieved?
“Cool. Can’t wait to be forced to buy another $600 worth of uniform shit. ‘at [sic] no additional expense to the tax payer’ screams we are making joe and the O’s pay for it out of pocket,” wrote Reddit user u/Pickle_riiickkk.
According to Daniel Dailey, the current Sergeant Major of the Army (SMA), the current plan is to “give soldiers time to receive that money in their clothing allowances so they can pay for that uniform prior to it being required.” That might mean that soldiers will be required to budget a portion of the allowance and save up — perhaps buying the uniform one piece at a time over several months. Once the roll-out date arrives, new soldiers will be issued a set upon graduation from basic training.
Recruiters will be the first soldiers to receive the new uniform, as SMA Dailey wants units which interact with the public more often to be seen wearing the Army Greens. Although the uniform will be available starting in 2020, the mandatory wear date is currently scheduled for 2028. By that time, SMA Dailey expects the entire force — Active, Reserve, and Guard — to be sporting the new uniform.
While not everyone is on board with the new uniform, the one thing almost every soldier I’ve talked to is excited about is the change in headgear. According to uniform supplier Marlow White, the new uniform will come with “Unisex Service Caps with “walnut” brown leather visors and chin straps,” as well as the classic “garrison cap.” That means no beret, which many soldiers find tedious to wear and impractical.
While we will have to wait for at least two years for the uniform to make its appearance, in the mean time you can check out SMA Dailey who has been sporting a prototype of the new uniform at various events this year.
Everything old is new again! @15thSMA Daniel A. Dailey modeled the prototype of the newest @USArmy uniform, a throwback to the #WWII style, at #AUSA2018. Let him know what you think using #15thSMA. #KnowYourMil pic.twitter.com/DPA3sDpmRn
— U.S. Dept of Defense (@DeptofDefense) October 10, 2018