New Air Force PT gear flies off AAFES shelves
RAMSTEIN AIR BASE, Germany — A last-minute rush to buy the Air Force’s new physical training gear has resulted in shortages of certain sizes at base exchanges worldwide.
Airmen will be required to wear the new outfits during mandatory workouts with their units, beginning Oct. 1. But finding the “PT” gear in their size might be impossible until more shipments arrive, which could be in weeks.
Most stores have carried the clothes for more than a year. But demand has surged in recent weeks as the deadline approaches, leading to back orders in some of the most popular sizes.
The Army and Air Force Exchange Service’s Military Clothing Sales Store at Aviano Air Base, Italy, ran out of its entire stock this week.
“I don’t have nothing,” manager Egidio Pesolin said. “They cleaned me out.”
Pesolin said he doesn’t expect to receive any more uniforms for more than a month.
Other stores in Europe also have run out of certain sizes. At Ramstein Air Base in Germany, the clothing store is out of medium T-shirts and XXL- and XXXL-sized shorts, said manager Marion Weber.
“This just happened last week,” she said.
The Ramstein shop sells about $60,000 to $70,000 worth of PT gear a month.
The store at Spangdahlem Air Base in Germany reported shortages in some sizes but not as much as other locations.
High demand for the gear across the globe has created back orders from the military supply system, according to AAFES officials. The Defense Supply Center in Philadelphia stocks AAFES clothing stores with the workout clothes.
In a news release last week, AAFES has asked customers to be patient as it works with the military supply system to find a solution.
Capt. David Small, an Air Force spokesman at the Pentagon, said airmen must show up in the same workout uniform when participating as a group in mandatory physical fitness training. He said it’s up to the commanders as to what action should be taken if an airman has not purchased the gear by Oct. 1.
“People have had plenty of warning,” Small told Stars and Stripes.
All sizes should be available through the AAFES Web site as soon as the back orders are filled.
There is some good news for airmen once stores fix the shortages. After Oct. 1, the cost for the PT set that includes the jacket, pants, T-shirt and shorts goes down $3, from $111.80 to $108.80, Weber said.