U.S. Fires Center of Excellence
FORT SILL, Okla. — Basic trainees have emerged from hard training not only Army green, but wearing the latest set of Army blues. The new Army Service Uniform, or ASU, is the latest standard issue dress uniform and is meant to replace the others indefinitely.
“The uniform looks a lot more professional to me now,” said Command Sgt. Maj. Brian Lindsey, 434th Field Artillery Brigade. “At graduation you can really tell the difference.”
The trainees began receiving the ASUs in October, but they have been available to Soldiers in military clothing sales stores since 2009.
The blue material was a decision rooted in the Army’s history, dating back to 1779 when Gen. George Washington prescribed blue coats with different facings for the various state troops, artillery, artillery artificers and light dragoons of the Continental Army. In the 1800s, the Adjutant and Inspector General’s Office established dark blue as the national color for officers or enlisted men, if no other color was prescribed.
Besides carrying on tradition, the uniform also streamlines Soldiers’ closets and reduces the burden placed on their wallets, because the ASU can be worn for different affairs.
“I really like what they did, as far as the idea of coming out with one uniform you can wear to a formal, (Department of the Army) photos, Class A inspections or whatever the case may be,” Lindsey said.
The ASU will replace the former Class A uniform and dress blues, just as the Army Combat Uniform replaced both the summer- and winter-weight battle dress and desert camouflage uniforms of years past.
“It’s a culmination of transformation efforts that started in 2004,” said Sgt. Maj. Kenneth Preston, sergeant major of the Army. “We had three Class A style uniforms, all the same style jacket, with just a different color – the policies on how we wore accoutrements on them were (all) different. We asked the question: ‘If we wear one only, which would it be?’ And the blue uniform was the most popular of the three.”
The fabric of the new blue ASU consists of a 55-percent wool and 45-percent polyester blend, which is heavier and more wrinkle-resistant compared to the former dress blue uniform. The “sharp look” of the uniform can also be attributed to the athletic cut of the coat meant to improve fit and appearance.
Changes to the uniform include authorization of a combat service identification badge to recognize combat service, overseas service bars on the jacket sleeve for both enlisted and officers, distinctive unit insignia on the shoulder loops of the blue coat for enlisted, authorizing paratroopers to wear the black jump boots with the blue ASU, and the decision to transition to a new short-sleeve and long-sleeve white shirt with shoulder loops.
It is also permissible for enlisted Soldiers to wear both overseas service bars and service stripes on the new blue ASU coat. Officers and Soldiers in the grade of corporal and above, will wear a gold braid on their slacks to indicate leadership roles.
“I cannot say enough good things about this uniform, I really do like it,” Lindsey said. “It’s better than the greens, and now when you see that gold stripe running down the leg, you know that’s an officer or a (noncommissioned officer). It also probably gives that young Soldier something to shoot for down the line.”
Soldiers will be required to possess the entire uniform by July 2014.