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Morale: USMC Wannabe Blues
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August 22, 2008: After a century of green uniforms, the last one is being retired from the U.S. Army. The new "Class A" uniform, as of August 21st, 2008, will be the current blue "Dress Uniform." [PHOTO]. By 2010, troops graduating from basic training will be issued the "dress blues" as their "Class A" uniform. The "Class B" uniform will be the dress blue trousers and a white shirt with decorations (ribbons, combat badge and so on). For both enlisted and officers, rank will be worn on epaulets. The new uniform "system" is similar to the one the U.S. Marine Corps has been wearing for decades, and that's no accident.

All this in response to decades old efforts by the troops, to drop the green "Class A" uniform (green jacket and pants, with light brown shirt and tie) and go to something, anything, more impressive.. The new Class A uniform is simply the existing dress uniform. This uniform, unlike the green Class A's, that were introduced in 1954, is based on the 19th century dress uniform. Most enlisted troops do not have the dress blue uniform, because they have to buy it themselves, and that is optional for most troops. But over the next six years, the old Class A will be phased out completely.

 All this is the result of longstanding "uniform envy" soldiers have had for marines. The USMC has always sported the most impressive dress uniform, and young enlisted marines were glad to spend at least $300 to buy themselves one. The marine "Class A" uniform is also green, but a darker green, and the jacket is worn with a belt. This looks much snappier, and many soldiers have suggested something like this for a new army Class A uniform. But many career army types have been campaigning for a spiffier Class A uniform, and something in blue, preferably with a belted jacket. But instead of a new uniform design, the army simply made the current dress blues the new Class As. The dress blues have been around for a long time, and have a good reputation. That doesn't mean that a belt cannot be added down the road. The important thing right now is to dump those hideous green Class As, which have embarrassed several generations of soldiers.

The Class A uniform is not actually worn that much, with most troops wearing BDUs (Battle Dress Uniform, with the camouflage pattern) or the Class A uniform without the jacket, when at work. The BDUs come in several different shades, none of them featuring much green. So after a century, the green is gone. The army is also eliminating the all white tropical dress uniform, which was rarely used.

Next Article → AFGHANISTAN: Hidden Battles And Secret Victories