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Hurlburt Airmen provide input on new uniforms

HURLBURT FIELD -- The new Airman Battle Uniform has been finalized and is ready for production, thanks in part to 44 Airmen from Hurlburt Field who have been wear testing the uniforms.

Many factors were considered in developing the final uniform selection, with the concern for Airmen being at the top of the list, said Brig. Gen. Robert Allardice, deputy chief of staff of personnel.

The new uniform design is a pixilated tiger stripe consisting of tan, grey, green and blue. The ABU will have a permanent crease and will be offered in 50-50 nylon-cotton blend permanent press fabric, eliminating the need for winter and summer weight uniforms.

ABU accessories include a tan Air Force T-shirt and suede polish-free boots.
Airmen here wore the uniform and provided feedback on what they liked and disliked about the design, fit and functionality of the ABU.

Airmen began registering to test the uniforms last June. The uniform board returned in July to fit and issue the uniforms to testers.
Initially the test was supposed to last until February, but at the end of test the wear date was extended indefinitely.

“The first wear test was primarily for non-combat units,” said Master Sgt. Michael Roberts, 16th Special Operations Wing uniform wear-testing point of contact. “This time we are field testing them for special tactics units.”
Airmen in the special tactics units noted that the crotch of the pants would rip while they were in the field.

“That should be corrected by the time the uniforms are issued,” Sergeant Roberts said.

The ABU will still have reinforced knees and elbows like the regular battle dress uniform.

Other issues Airmen at Hurlburt reported were the light-colored boots are hard to clean, the boot soles detached and the olive drab boots faded. However, many people had good things to say about the boots.

“Most people like the boots overall,” said Sergeant Roberts. ”They like that they are low maintenance.”

The ABU is designed to fit Airmen better than the current BDU. Uniform sizes will be similar to those of civilian clothing. Men’s sizes will be based on waist, inseam and jacket size. Women’s sizes will be patterned after dress sizes.

Airmen here appear to be pleased with the new uniform.

“When the Chief of Staff wanted to design a new uniform, he wanted it to be low maintenance, inexpensive and fit well,” said Sergeant Roberts. “I think he hit the mark.”
Members of Team Hurlburt can expect uniforms to be delivered in fiscal year 2007.

“I would wear it,” said Staff Sgt. Jeremiah Tillery, 16th Maintenance Operations Squadron. “I like change, it helps us grow stronger.”

The mandatory projected wear date for the ABU is FY 2011.