Leadership: January 18, 2004

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The U.S. Army has decided to keep the much despised beret, although troops are now allowed to use other types of soft caps (like the old baseball cap style headgear),  when doing chores that would leave the beret dirty with oil, grease or worse. But another part of the army uniform is up for a review; the "Class A" uniforms. This is the dark green uniform introduced in the 1950s and instantly denounced by the troops as "making us look like bus drivers." Numerous attempts to replace the "greens" have been unsuccessful. Army troops, particularly those in the combat arms, look enviously at the marines, who not only have a better looking Class A uniform, but also a knock out dress uniform (the blue one with the red trim.) It does not go unnoticed that in the British army, individual regiments often have their own unique uniforms. This is a traditional touch that, while expensive for the troops, does wonders for morale. Some U.S. Army combat units have tried to do something about the dreadful Class A uniform. Airborne units wear jump boots with the Class As, with the trousers tucked into the boots ("bloused" actually, but you get the idea.) The Special Forces came up with their green beret as an unofficial move to make their dreary Class As look different. But nothing really works, as the greens basically suck. One suggestion has been to let the troops in combat units wear a uniform similar to the World War II Class As (similar to the current Marine Class As) and leave the non-combat troops to wear the old bus driver uniform. This would make the combat troops stand out, and recognize that it's the combat troops who are most upset at the mediocre look of the greens. However, another suggestion has been to get rid of the Class A uniform entirely and just have everyone keep a set of BDUs (battle dress uniform) clean and pressed for use as Class As. Maybe add a belted jacket to go with the "dress" BDUs. Whatever is done, most troops would accept just about anything in place of the current greens.

 


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