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Space Force unveils first set of regulations — how to wear the camouflage uniform

The chief of space operations for the U.S. Space Force displays the service's uniform name tapes in the Pentagon on Jan. 17 in Arlington, Va.

ROBERT BARNETT/U.S. AIR FORCE

By STEVE BEYNON | STARS AND STRIPES Published: August 27, 2020

WASHINGTON — Space Force on Thursday released its first set of regulations to service members — the appropriate way to wear the uniform.

Troops in the military’s newest branch will wear the Operational Camouflage Pattern, or OCP, as the normal duty uniform, the same uniform worn by the Army. However, Space Force troops don’t need to immediately rush to their unit’s supply or the Army & Air Force Exchange Service. The new regulation sets a grace period until April 1, 2021, to update their uniforms to Space Force specifications. Until then, the airmen battle uniform is acceptable.

The Pentagon now refers to members of the military branch as “space professionals,” a Space Force spokesman said, though that name choice has not been finalized.

“Our uniforms are the first visual cue of our identity as a service,” Chief Master Sgt. Roger A. Towberman, senior enlisted adviser for Space Force, said in a statement. “Adopting the OCP worn in the joint environment reflects our role in the joint warfighting effort, and we incorporated Space Force-specific colors and configuration to establish our own independent identity.”

The new regulation directs OCP uniforms in Space Force will be worn virtually the same way as the Army wears it —  a full-color U.S. flag patch on the left shoulder, grade insignia, occupational badge, and name and service tapes.

However, tapes and badges will have “space blue” embroidery. Troops also will wear a Velcro or sewn-on space blue name tape on the back of their patrol caps. Velcro unit patches will be worn on the left sleeve, and units that the service member deploys with into a combat zone will be worn on the right sleeve.

Virtually anything acceptable on the OCP uniform, including coyote brown boots, a rigger or standard-issue brown belt, the standard-issue brown fleece jacket and green or brown socks are approved.

Space Force is still designing the physical training and formal uniforms, according to a branch spokesman.

Space Force has 90 troops, with Towberman being the only enlisted member. But 2,410 eligible airmen will start to transfer into the service and become space professionals on Sept. 1. The service is expected to grow to some 16,000 service members in the coming years.

Despite its small size, the Space Force is conducting critical missions for the military. The service has nearly 20,000 airmen and Defense Department civilian employees temporarily assigned to its force to conduct a variety of missions ranging from monitoring early warning systems that track potential threats to the U.S. homeland to ensuring the safety of American satellites.

Beynon.Steven@Stripes.com
Twitter: @StevenBeynon