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Staff Sgt. Jennifer Watson, an information assistant in the Pentagon’s Office of Public Affairs, displays a properly worn metallic name tag on her uniform jacket. Watson bought her name tag in October 2002, while assigned to RAF Mildenhall in England.
Staff Sgt. Jennifer Watson, an information assistant in the Pentagon’s Office of Public Affairs, displays a properly worn metallic name tag on her uniform jacket. Watson bought her name tag in October 2002, while assigned to RAF Mildenhall in England. (Lisa Burgess / S&S)

ARLINGTON, Va. — Air Force personnel who have been procrastinating about acquiring the Air Force’s new metallic name tag had better get on the stick, service officials said — the official “wear date” begins Jan. 1.

The name tags — small silver-colored metal rectangles with the servicemember’s last name deeply engraved in blue — will be mandatory on the service dress uniform and all pullover sweaters.

The new tag is a notable change, because Air Force personnel did not wear any kind of name tag on the service dress jacket introduced in the mid-1990s, Maj. John Thomas, a spokesman for the Air Force’s Personnel Center at Randolph Air Force Base, Texas, said Wednesday.

The service dress jackets that preceded the ones now worn did have a name tag, but it was blue plastic with white lettering, the same as the tag worn on the long sleeve and short sleeve “blue” shirt or blouse, Thomas said.

Enlisted personnel are supposed to receive one metal name tag from their unit; any additional purchases are their personal responsibility, Thomas said. Officers have to buy their own tags.

But some enlisted have decided to go ahead and buy their own tags anyway, like Staff Sgt. Jennifer Watson, an information assistant in the Pentagon’s Office of Public Affairs.

Watson said Wednesday that she bought her metallic name tag last October, while assigned to RAF Mildenhall in England.

The tag cost her $9 at an independent clothing supplier, which Watson said she chose instead of using the military clothing sales outlet “because it was faster.”

The price was the same at both outlets, “but this took about a week” to make, Watson said. “My husband and I were PCSing, and we needed them in a hurry.”

Local military personnel flights have the instructions on file, should any Air Force personnel wish to review them, Thomas said.

How to wear new tags

Service uniforms

The name tag must be worn on the wearer’s right side, with the bottom of the name tag level and aligned with the bottom of the bottom row of ribbons. It should be centered between the sleeve seam and the lapel.

Exceptions

Duty Badges: Men wearing a duty badge on the right side of their service uniform will center the badge one half-inch below the name tag. Women will center the badge one half-inch above the new name tag.

Command insignia: The commander pin, which is worn on the right side, is to be positioned a half-inch above the name tag if you are actively in command. If you are a former commander, the command insignia it goes one half-inch below the name tag.

Duty badge/command insignia: If you are an active male commander who wears a duty badge, the top to bottom sequence (with half-inch spacing) is command pin, name tag, and duty badge.

If you are an active woman commander who wears a duty badge, the top to bottom sequence is duty badge, command pin, name tag.

Male former commanders with duty badges go top to bottom: name tag, command pin, duty badge. Women in that status go: duty badge, name tag, command insignia.

Maternity jumpers

When the maternity jumper is worn as service dress uniform, the name tag should be centered on the right side, and placed one of three ways (wearer’s discretion): even with the first exposed button, or one and a half inches either higher or lower than the first exposed button.

Pullover sweaters

On the pullover sweater, the name tag must be worn on the wearer’s right side, with the bottom centered between the middle of the sleeve seam, and the seam of the neckline.

Cardigan sweater

The name tag is not worn on the cardigan sweater.

— Source: Air Force Personnel Center, Randolph Air Force Base, Texas

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