Trainees entering into Basic Military Training, or BMT, at the 37th Training Wing this week are the first group to be issued the new Operational Camouflage Pattern, or OCP, uniforms.
After taking Airmen feedback into consideration, the uniform board members said they chose the OCP for the improved fit and comfort and so that they will blend in with their soldier counterparts’ uniforms in the joint environments, according to Cooper.
When Air Force officials announced last year they are adopting the Army OCP as the official utility uniform, they developed a three-year roll-out timeline across the force for the entire change over. This week puts them on target for issuing to the newest members.
“Each trainee is issued four sets of uniforms with their initial issue,” said Bernadette Cline, clothing issue supervisor. “Trainees who are here in ABUs (Airmen Battle Uniforms) will continue to wear them throughout their time here, and will be replaced when they get their clothing allowance.”
The 502nd Logistics Readiness Squadron Initial Issue Clothing outfits nearly 33,000 BMT trainees every year and maintains more than 330,000 clothing line items.
“We partner with Defense Logistics Agency, who provides the clothing items upfront to be issued,” said Donald Cooper, Air Force initial clothing issue chief. “Then we warehouse and issue to the individuals’ size-specific clothing.”
The OCP was chosen because its form will allow airmen to do their jobs easier, it fits in alongside soldiers in the field and functions well in the joint environment.
“Right now, if someone deploys, they’ll get it issued,” Cline said, “Now that everyone is converting over to this uniform, they [the trainees] already have the uniform to work and deploy in.”
Following the timeline, the OCP should now be available online for purchase as well.
The next mandatory change listed on the timeline, to take place by June 1, 2020, will be the Airmen’s boots, socks, T-shirts, U.S. Flag and officer ranks to the spice brown or tan color.
Switching from two different types of utility uniforms to just one, multifunction uniform could also simplify life for the airmen.
“I think the biggest value is going to be the thought that they aren’t required to have two uniforms anymore once they convert to a uniform that is for deployment and day-to-day work,’” Cooper said.
For more information on uniform guidance, visit https://www.afpc.af.mil/Career-Management/Dress-and-Appearance/.