Originally created 07/27/06

Out with the old, in with Army blue?



Fort Gordon soldiers fond of wearing their green service uniforms should strut in them while they can. When they look in their closets in a few years, they'll only see blue.

Last month, the Army announced plans to consolidate its three dress uniforms - green, blue and white - to blue.

"It makes sense for us to go to one traditional uniform," Gen. Peter J. Schoomaker, the Army chief of staff, said in an Army news release. "And that's what we've done by adopting this blue Army Service Uniform that reflects simplicity, quality, utility and tradition."

The blue uniform originated as the Continental Army dress uniform in 1779.

The new Class A uniforms are expected to hit military clothing stores during the fourth quarter of the 2007 fiscal year, the Army news release said.

Much like the current "blues," the new Army Service Uniform will consist of the same black-blue jacket and lighter blue bottom. New additions will include a white shirt for ceremonial occasions and a gray shirt for everyday wear.

The uniform modification will alter how soldiers working at the Pentagon dress but not the majority of Fort Gordon soldiers, who will stick to camouflage except for special occasions, said Marla Jones, a Fort Gordon Public Affairs spokeswoman.

Fort Gordon drill sergeant Jason Holland said he hasn't heard many soldiers discussing the change, but his concern would be the new uniform's price.

"Blue is just fine," he said. "The money is always the issue because we don't get paid enough."

Because many soldiers already have a blue uniform, they will only have to pay for alterations to the fabric and fit to comply with the new code.

Sergeants and above will have a gold braid on each pant leg and the service cap can be worn by noncommissioned officers and officers, the news release said.

Lamar Franklin, the manager of the Georgia Department of Veterans Service, wasn't enthusiastic about the elimination of the green and white uniforms.

"I think the color should distinguish the Army from other branches of the military," he said.

Both the Air Force and Navy use blue service uniforms, and Mr. Franklin said he didn't want the Army to "blend in."

Reach Brian Hughes at (706) 823-3339 or brian.hughes@augustachronicle.com.

NEW ARMY BLUES


The green and white service uniforms are out in favor of the blue. Here are the changes:


- There will be two shirts to wear under the jacket, white for formal occasions and gray for everyday wear.


- A gold braid will be sewn on the outside leg of those ranked sergeant or higher.


- The service cap can be worn by commissioned officers and noncommissioned officers.


WHAT THEY'RE SAYING ABOUT THE UNIFORM CHANGES:


Here's what a few U.S. Army veterans, who were patrons at the American Legion Post 192 in Evans, had to say about the decision to change the color of the Army's dress uniform:

- Staff Sgt. Marianne Tyson, U.S. Army, retired, from Wrightsville:"I don't agree at all...I think they need to distinquish officer from enlisted, Army from Air Force from Marine. It instills pride in the different ranks and services and they need to keep that."

- Major Bob Tyson, U.S. Army, retired, from Wrightsville: "I think if they change the uniforms enough times you won't be able to recognize anybody (by branch of service)."

- Staff Sgt. Ron Mays, U.S. Army, retired, from Grovetown: "I hadn't heard anything about that. I wouldn't like it. The branches have their own colors. The Air Force has always been blue and the Army has always been green. They could have changed it to another shade of green."

- Sgt. Major Benjamin Utley, U.S. Army, retired, from Evans: "It think it's positive. I think it's a nice uniform."