New policy has airmen donning their blue hues
September 9, 2008
The blues are back.
A new Air Force policy requires most airmen to wear their blue uniforms every Monday while on duty.
In a Sept. 4 memorandum to all Air Force personnel, Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Norton A. Schwartz said the policy change was to go into effect Monday.
Senior leaders discussed the issue at a recent four-star conference, Schwartz said, stating: "We all agreed that part of our image, culture and professionalism is instilled in our blues."
Blues were the primary uniform for most airmen before Sept. 11, 2001.
The uniform policy last changed in late 2005, when former Air Force Chief of Staff T. Michael Moseley required all airmen to wear their battle dress uniform or flight suit to the office because "we are a nation at war."
Under the latest switch, not all airmen will have to wear their blues weekly. Schwartz is giving installation commanders the authority to adjust the policy for mission requirements — such as for an exercise or for area of operation. He also noted that blues will be the duty uniform on Mondays for "appropriate career fields and environments as determined by your installation commander."
An Air Force news release said airmen would be required to "wear a combination of the blues uniform," which likely includes short-sleeve to service dress.
A couple of airmen donning their blues at Ramstein Air Base, Germany, were happy with the change.
"I think it’s a great idea," said Senior Airman Brandon Penvose, 24, of Fayetteville, N.C., of the 435th Comptroller Squadron. "It’s important for us to be recognized [by uniform] as the Air Force."
"It’s not a bad thing," said Staff Sgt. Hector Nunez, 32, of Los Angeles, with Detachment 4, 83rd Network Operations Squadron. "This is a good way to make sure everybody has it ready. It’s no big deal."
At some Air Force bases in the Pacific, airmen had to dust of their blues in time for work Monday. At other places, word of the new policy was just beginning to trickle down.
All airmen at Kadena Air Base on Okinawa reported to work Monday in their blues uniform, according to 18th Wing spokeswoman Beth Gosselin.
Airmen that needed to change for job requirements, such as maintainers and aviators who were flying Monday, were authorized to change into utility uniforms with the approval of their squadron commander, she said. That procedure is expected to continue throughout the month until a more permanent local policy is developed, she added.
"Right now," Gosselin said, "no one is exempt from reporting in on Mondays in blues." Exemptions will be addressed in forthcoming wing policy.
Stripes’ reporter Mark Abramson contributed to this report.