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
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.