Uniformly Stupid? Part 2

See Part 1 here.

While most people in the Army spend just about all their time in a working uniform like the ACU, there are occasions when something a little more formal is needed.

Since the late 1950s the standard Army Service and Dress uniform for most soldiers has been the Army Green Uniform. Folks in the Army almost universally refer to it as “Class A’s”.

When the uniform jacket is removed, the Army Green Uniform can be worn as the Class B uniform, suitable for most office environment jobs. When I served as a recruiter, most days we wore the Class B.

No, that's not me...
No, that's not me...

The problem with the Army Green Uniform was simple. It was ugly as sin in church. There was an alternative, however, one with a great history dating back practically to the first days of the Army. The Dress Blue Uniform.

Female Officer and Male Enlisted Service Dress Blues
Female Officer and Male Enlisted Service Dress Blues

There’s a reason why the trousers are a different shade blue from the coat. Back in the days of the Old West, when cavalry troopers wore the blue uniform as there work clothes, they would routinely remove their coat, roll it up and carry it strapped to the back of the saddle. The trousers faded from the sunlight and wear and tear, but the coat didn’t. Hence the difference.

Service Dress Blues were always an optional item for enlisted personnel. You could buy them, but you didn’t have to. Since they cost a lot of money and there were relatively few occasions to wear them, most junior folks did without.

Back in 2005 or so, the Chief of Staff of the Army made the decision to do away with the Army Green Uniform and modify the Blue uniform to replace it.The new variations are shown below.

The Army Blue Uniform
The Army Blue Uniform

Personally, I wish they had done this about 25 years ago. I always hated the Green Uniform, and as soon as I could, bought a set of Blues. And anytime I had a chance to wear them, I did. One fairly common occasion was the “Dining Out”. A Dining Out is when a unit, typically a battalion, has a formal banquet, with spouses and sweethearts invited*. This is a social occasion run on military lines- the colors are presented, the chaplain gives the invocation, there are a couple of (usually brief) speeches, and maybe some awards and recognitions. Then there is usually some dancing. The important thing is, your best girl gets a chance to put on her best dress and go out to be seen. Chicks dig that.  Since a lot of guys didn’t own Dress Blues, they made do with the Army Green Uniform with a white shirt and a bow tie.

Your author, center, in Dress Blues, flanked by two friends in Class A's.
Your author, center, in Dress Blues, flanked by two friends in Class A's.

Incredibly, I managed to save this picture, but lost the picture of my date. You’ll have to take my word for it that she was stunning. Really. The two guys in the photo were great friends and fellow warriors, but neither was all that attractive….

*You could invite your spouse, or your sweetheart, but NOT your spouse and your sweetheart…

9 thoughts on “Uniformly Stupid? Part 2”

  1. I bought and wore my blues for my wedding. I also managed to convince my dad (retired Colonel) to come in his. He had his blues tailored in 1962, and they fit him perfectly for my wedding. Wish I could say my blues still fit perfectly.

    I’m glad the Army went with the blues. You’re 100% right about the greens being ugly.

  2. My complaint was always the ties. Ties, IMO, are contrary to soldiering. I simply found no historical reference for a soldier with a Windsor or four-in-hand knot outside of WW II. Lots or references to cravats or similar simple accessories. Yet what was the first thing the Smage told us to remove in the field? The good old all purpose dust rag.

  3. When asked to describe a Navy officer people without hesitation will describe the dress whites, the the chocker collar and service cap. As for a US Marine, well that may be the most recognized dress uniform in the world. These are timeless uniforms that have great cuts, solidarity and inspire pride. I am not disrepecting the Army one bit, rather, identifying the point; a standout uniform is needed. Disagree if you would like, but with the uniform change from the Army is obvious that there isn’t a strongly identifying uniform.

  4. I tend to agree with you. Sadly, the Army’s short sleeve shirt has the collar it does specifically so a tie can be worn with it. Which strikes me as utterly stupid.

  5. As much respect as I have being an army wife, I dont think the color of the uniform should matter , and I think the honor of it should matter more, over the years the uniform was worn by so many , with lives lost and they wore it with pride, not with fashion sense.

  6. The Army ASU uniform is a start in the right direction but needs some fine tuning. The whole uniform debacle started in 1926 when the COS of the Army got rid of the historical blue uniforms along with dress whites in order to reduce the number of uniforms. They gave the Marine Corp and Navy the uper hand by getting rid of the 1902 high collar dress blues in 1926. They brought em back in the 1930’s until they were replaced by the current lay down collar version. The Pinks and Greens should have been retained along with Vietnam era summer Khakis. The 1950’s greens were to coprate looking with an ugly shade of green. The Army shot itself in the foot multiple times in the foot from 1926-1954 in reguards to uniforms. Dont get me started on the 1970’s era mint green shirt. If we could go back to those three uniforms along with the mess uniforms we would be set in my opinion.

  7. The first time I saw an old friend in the blouseless uniform (Class B?), I thought he had a twin that was in the USAF. Blues trousers are fine, but darn expensive, compared to the old tropical worsted uniform brown. But eliminating the yukky green shirts for Air Force Whites is not an improvement either.

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