22 November 2009

I got the new dress uniform...

Tom Ricks' latest post regarding the ethical conduct of generals has provided some off-topic remarks on Army uniforms. Today, there are many in the Army who look down on those whose uniforms don't spot significant amounts of ribbons, medals and badges (hereafter referred to as "bling"), but this hasn't always been the case.

The five-star generals of yesteryear, such as General George Marshall (pictured as a four-star with twelve discernible ribbons), wore uniforms which were relatively sparse when compared with those of today. General Marshall sports nearly as much bling in this picture as many junior sergeants or captains do today. Notable generals such as Eisenhower and noted egoist Douglas MacArthur were no different. (MacArthur, however, was most proud of his five-star rank, with his staff reportedly staying up throughout the night, filing down coins in order to create his rank insignia, lest he arrive at a meeting with Admiral Chester Nimitz without the appropriate bling)

But as much as I like the simple khakis of times past, I discovered this past Saturday night that the new Army Service Uniform isn't half bad when it's worn as a dress blue uniform (minus the hat). The cut of the jacket and pants are much like wearing a civilian tuxedo. I especially like not wearing the suspenders and high-water straight-leg pants which used to be worn with the dress blues. Instead, the pants are the same as those worn with the business-like Class A uniform--tapered and with belt loops instead of suspenders.

Still, wearing the standard Army dress belt wasn't flashy enough for some people. Indeed, some people are having flashbacks, believing that they are still at war...




4 comments:

Paul said...

I see that “The blue uniform is part of our bloodline. It links today’s warriors to their heritage and connects them to warriors past.” In the spirit of helping the Army more effectively connect with its past, I’d suggest that, just as during the Civil War, general officers be issued cocked hats with black ostrich plumes and a black rossette surmounted with the U.S. eagle. All other officers and EM could be issued Hardee Hats (with appropriate bling depending on grade and branch). And, of course, to signify looking forward into the future, they should require reflector belts in the appropriate branch color. They could probably come up with some holographic rainbow color belt for generals (or maybe one with flashing LEDs in the colors of all the branches). That would definitely enhance safety for all Army personnel.

Regarding medals, remember that Ike, Marshall, McArthur and the rest, didn’t have to find room for all of the “been there, done that” ribbons, badges and all the rest that we have today. Personally, I think that many of our general officers, when they’re all decked out, look more like Russian admirals or New York City doormen than soldiers. I’d like to see only awards for wounds and valor worn (and the CIB/CAB). All the rest is just window dressing anyway.

Starbuck said...

The advantage of having the Army Service Uniform?

If you're a cheapskate, like I am, you don't have two sets of ribbons for your greens and blues. You just wind up cannibalizing your uniforms for different events. (Take the ribbons off the greens when you go to the ball, take them off the blues when you go for your DA photo). One uniform is great for people who are cheap and lazy, like I am :)

J. said...

Hate the "new" greens. It's like you can't make up your mind whether you want to look like an AF officer or a Marine. Hate it.

Anonymous said...

Blues look classic. Greens looked cheap