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Army Fatigues Given Marching Orders at Pentagon

by ARLnow.com June 13, 2011 at 10:13 am 8,359 45 Comments

You’ll be seeing fewer battle fatigues on the Metro later this year.

The Army — which will be celebrating its 236th birthday tomorrow — has just announced an impending policy change for personnel who work at the Pentagon. Starting as early as October, soldiers assigned to the Pentagon will be asked to wear the more formal Army service uniform instead of the camouflaged Army combat uniform (ACU).

“Our perspective is that this is the corporate part of the Army,” Sergeant Major of the Army Raymond F. Chandler III told the Army News Service. “The business-part of the Army is done in the Pentagon, and as a professional there are certain standards of attire associated with certain activities. For the business aspect of the Army, it is the Army service uniform.”

The exact implementation date has yet to be announced.

Military photo by Staff Sgt. Matthew Clifton

  • Westover

    About time! Been the Marine Corps policy for decades!

    • Kyle

      It used to be Army policy at the Pentagon as well – pretty much all the way up until 2001/2002 when the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan started. I believe Army-wide policy was changed to the ACUs in order to remind everyone (both working in line units deploying and those in office jobs such as at the Pentagon) of the daily sacrifice of those soldiers deployed in support of the wars.

      Heck, way back in the day, they wore business suits and not even uniforms to work at the Pentagon.

    • NPGMBR

      Exactly, before I left the Corps in 99 I worked at the Navy Annex and it was strict Marine Corps policy that your uniform matched your activities. Something that I never quite understood about the Army was how often I’d see Army personnel wearing their uniforms after work. Marines were encouraged to change into civilian attire before departing work to avoid attracting attention. Matter of fact we’d be accosted by senior Marines if we were caught wearing our uniforms off base unless we were specifically traveling from base to home. At the time it seemed Army personnel wore their uniforms everywhere, even to the movies.

  • BerryBerryCold

    Seems like bull-crap PC policy from the current administration.

    Although they do have the “corporate” army part right.

    • CrystalMikey

      This has nothing to do with THE administration…unless you mean the Army Chief of Staff’s administration.

    • eat an animal’s lower intestine

      This is a suggestion for BerryBerryCold, not a question.

  • John Stephens

    There used to be a time when it was expected that any soldier entering the District of Columbia would be wearing their Class B service uniform. Not anymore…

    • Westover

      It was a good rule.

  • novasteve

    The only thing uglier than the fatigues is the ASU. They should seriously go back to the WW2 or pre-WW2 uniforms.

  • Bender

    That is a rather insulting and elitist comment from the Sergeant Major.

    An ACU is hardly less “professional” than a service uniform, and those wearing it fully meet the “standard” that this country wants.

    The business of the Army is to make war, not engage in bureaucracy. And the professional fighting man or woman wears battle dress for his or her attire.

    • CW

      Then why does the army issue dress uniforms?

    • Westover

      Cammies/Utilities/BDUs/ACUs, whatever your service calls them at the time, look trashy when you are not on base or in a war zone. When not training and in garrison/office setting, a class c dress uniform is the right way to go and helps to maintain the individual’s discipline and attention to detail that a dress uniform requires. Hopefully the Air Force will join in and go back to the dress uniforms too and stop allowing the pilots currently flying a desk from wearing their flight suits into 7-11 and around town, and ban the airman from wearing the blue cammies inside the Beltway….

      • NPGMBR

        LOL funny you should say that because I’ve always wondered if the piolets I’ve seen on Metro were actually flying or if those were their everyday uniform.

    • doodly

      Yes, Bender. Why do they even have dress uniforms?

  • gg

    Yes, much of what the military does is bureaucracy, especially at the Pentagon, and it is an essential part of their mission. It makes the fighting part possible.

  • CW

    Dress uniforms, combat fatigues, flight suits – it doesn’t really matter, I feel bad for all of them when the temperature is up in the 90’s!!

    • Westover

      Not sure if it still rings true, but, in the 1980’s the Marines stationed on Guam wore shorts and Pith Helmets

      • CW

        That is awesome.

  • bob

    somewhere, a local dry cleaners cracks open a bottle of champagne..

    • CrystalMikey

      Didn’t even think of that…dollar signs are in their eyes for sure.

      • CW

        Not a military man myself so I don’t know these details – do service people have to arrange for this themselves? Guess I always figured there was some massive DoD-run dry cleaning operation in the basement of the Pentagon…

        • Westover

          There are a very few posts, honor guard units, where the dry-cleaning is provided, but for most it is something that comes out of your pocket.

  • Bender

    I didn’t say that there should not be two uniforms, battle attire and a dress uniform.

    I said it was insulting and elitist to suggest that the ACU is somehow unprofessional and that those that wear a facsimile of a business suit are somehow more professional.

    That said, we are at war. Several wars, in fact, thanks to the Commander-in-Chief deciding to make war on a couple new countries which do not fit within the prior terrorism-related authorizations and without bothering to ask Congress for authorization for these operations, the mission of which is still a mystery.

    • NPGMBR

      Yeah, you can’t beat a Commander-in-Chief and his Administration feeding the Congress the specific details they want the Congress to believe in order to authorize a war on a country that has no Weapons of Mass Destruction!

    • Westover

      It is unprofessional in that the “ACU” is not the appropriate attire for the jobs being done inside the Beltway. If you are going to have soldiers, sailors, Marines and airmen working on the business of plans, projects, and purchases that are going to be in the billions of dollars, then they should be dressed in the right uniform for dealing with their civilian counter parts. The Oshkosh executive is not going to be wearing the overalls that his assembly line workers are wearing when he comes over to the Pentagon to discuss the specs of the next new tactical truck.

      • Bender

        You think that our soldiers should dress down to what some coprorate executive wears?

        The dress uniform is not “better” or “more professional.” It is only different.

        And if some prissy snob at some civilian company does not give a fighting man or woman the respect that the uniform demands — whatever that uniform is — then that is not a company that the military should be doing business with.

        • Josh S

          Whoa buddy, now your comments are veering into a little “reverse discrimination” territory. A solider in uniform is not automatically better than the civilian sitting across the table. Plenty of “prissy snobs” in the armed forces, I would imagine.

          The corporate workplace and culture is not automatically inferior or to be placed on a lower status than the military culture. There is no way in which asking soldiers to wear dress uniforms instead of camos is “dressing down.” It’s dressing to suit the occasion / place.

          • NPGMBR


        • Westover

          You really think that the Camoflage Uniform designed for Combat is “only different”? It is a work uniform, could even be called casual(although its purpose is anything but casual) What do you think the purpose of the service and dress uniforms are?

          Again, do you think that it is appropriate for that civilian to come into the Pentagon wearing his assembly line worker’s overalls? I would think not, so why have an officer or enlisted man in their combat uniform. One should dress for the occasion, we don’t have folks going into combat in their service or dress uniforms, we should not have them working in the Pentagon in combat uniforms.

        • danielobvt

          As a Soldier I am going to disagree with you. ACU’s are field wear (compared to the BDU’s I sometimes refer to them as pajama’s). The Soldiers at the Pentagon are the admin front office of the Army and, yes, the wear of a Combat Utility Uniform is inappropriate for the level of work that they do. They are not getting diry nor does their level of dress corrospond with their colleagues, civilian and miltary. There is resistance because ACU’s are the cheap and lazy way to present yourself (no dry cleaning, no pressing, no shining) but in the end it is unprofessional. They are representing the Army and they should be wearing the Army Service Uniform.

          And maybe this will have a side effect of them realizing that they may have made a mistake in selecting the ASU that they did and make an effort to correct that mistake.

    • Josh S

      It seems to me that the dress army uniform precedes the current men’s fashion known as the “business suit.” So, I don’t think in any way is the dress uniform a “facsimile” of the business suit. The tailoring of each has certainly changed over the years, but soldiers wearing the dress uniform are not attempting to look like a business man.
      On the other hand, why would you be offended by the suggestion that wearing battle attire is not appropriate in an office building? It is my strongest suspicion that the Sargent Major of the Army was not in any way intending to malign any member of the Army. Merely to suggest (yet another, it seems) change in policy about which of the uniforms owned by a serviceman or woman should be worn in the Pentagon.
      Personally, I think it’s a fabulous decision and very much appropriate given the nature of the post.

  • Arlwhenever

    I hope they change the prissy shirts — those green polyester short sleeve shirts were so sissy — not the sort of wear that generated respect.

  • Aaron

    So many armchair warriors online today!!

    With the ACU/cammies prohibited, the basic dress for the Army personnel working in the Pentagon and commercial high-rises will now be the Class B Army Service Uniform (yes, the prissy green polyester things). They will NOT be wearing their “dress” uniforms. Instead, their attire will now compare to what you see Navy, USMC, USCG, and (most) USAF personnel wearing on a day-to-day basis.

    The Class B uniform is the standard that armed forces have long declared to be the “business” attire for their personnel, equivalent to a civilian coat and tie. The cammies (and flight suits) have long been seen as dressing down for the office environment.

    • CrystalMikey

      This is true. In fact, I loved wearing my BDUs in my USAF days, felt like wearing pajamas compared to the Class B/Blues equivalent.

  • Some clarity here

    1. The green uniform is being retired, replaced by the blue one: http://lmgtfy.com/?q=us+army+class+a+uniform

    2. Military uniforms have paralleled the business apparel throughout US history.

    2. As others here have pointed out: A business suit is out of place when mowing the lawn. And combat uniforms are out of place when not in combat. If you support ACUs all the time, then why not have service members walk around stateside in “full battle rattle” (guns/ammo)? Or cops walking around in SWAT gear?

    In my view, clothing shapes attitude, and a businesslike appearance engenders attention to detail and seriousness. ACUs look like sweats.

    • Oops!

      Forgot to change that last number to 3.

    • Josh S

      Careful what you jokingly propose – there are definitely some that would get quite a thrill to see service members walking around with loaded rifles 24/7.

  • nota gain

    In the 60’s, USAF allowed Bermuda like shorts with knee high socks and the light weight 1505/kakie tans. Really great in the Kansas weather on the flight line. Fatigues were not allowed off base and were worn to officelike work on clean up days. Otherwise, we wore dress blues in the winter months.
    The fatigues were fine with me and pointed out our servicemen at work but they should not have been worn in the Pentagon offices.
    The announcement states that the fatugues will not be allowed evemtia;;u but as usual, no exact date. Hurry up and wait, true service speak.

  • Wow

    Glad our leaders are focused on the really important topics of the day.. their outfits.

    Got it.. camis are out this season and dress uniforms are staging a comeback on the runways of Arlington in Fall 2011.

    Seriously, don’t they have more important things on their plates these days? Let’s redirect this energy to focus on stuff that matters.. like the operations in multiple fronts overseas today and looking after our wounded veterans returning home.

    • Michael

      Wow, amazingly enough…the Department of the Army can do two things at one time. Coming up with the order of “Hey, no cammo at the Pentagon” probably didn’t take too much time either.

    • Westover

      Amazing that they can chew gum and walk at the same time isn’t it? This is such an easy and minor decision that your complaint is bordering on ridiculous.

  • ArlForester

    This is a good decision. Most civilians in the building are wearing suits, dresses and other types of dress attire. Their counterparts should be similarly dressed.

  • Whiskey315

    I think this is a great decision. The Army is always behind and imitating the USMC. I will be nice and just say that you can see every pound in those uniforms as well.

  • ASU A/B will be fine in the Pentagon. They have been wearing them up on Capitol Hill for almost 5 years. Give it a break.

  • LaidBak

    Fatigues? Seriously? Fatigues were from the 70s. The title should refer to the uniform by its correct name.


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