Uniforms of the United States Army
The uniforms of the United States Army distinguish soldiers from other service members. The two primary uniforms are the Army Combat Uniform, used in operational environments, and the Army Service Uniform, worn during formal and ceremonial occasions.
Soldier wearing the Army Combat Uniform
General George Casey wearing the Army Service Uniform
General Richard Cody in the Army Mess Uniform
Soldiers wearing the Army Physical Fitness Uniform
The Army Combat Uniform (ACU) is the utility uniform worn in garrison and in combat zones by the U.S. Army. The uniform features a digital camouflage pattern, known as the Universal Camouflage Pattern, which is designed for use in woodland, desert, and urban environments. The ACU jacket uses hook-and-loop-backed attachments to secure items such as name tapes, rank insignia, and shoulder patches and tabs, as well as recognition devices such as the American flag patch and the infrared (IR) tab. Two U.S. flag insignia are authorized for wear with the ACU: full-color and subdued IR. The U.S. flag insignia is worn on the right shoulder pocket flap of the ACU coat. Unit patches are worn on the left shoulder, while combat patches are worn on the right. In July 2011, coinciding with the Army's Birthday, it was announced that effective immediately, the Army Patrol Cap, or "PC", would replace the black beret for wear with the ACU, and that name tapes, rank, and skill badges can optionally be sewn on. In the field, the jacket may be replaced by the flame resistant Army Combat Shirt when worn directly under a tactical vest. Most soldiers operating in Afghanistan are issued a "Multicam" pattern better suited to that country's terrain.
The standard garrison service uniform is known as the "Army Service Uniform". It replaces the "Army Greens", or "Class A" uniform, which had been worn by all officers and enlisted personnel since its introduction in 1956, when it replaced earlier Olive Drab (OD) and khaki (called Tropical Worsted or TW) uniforms worn between the 1890s and 1985. The "Army Blue" uniform, dating back to the "Virginia Blues" of George Washington's first command, in the Colonial Virginia Militia, had previously served as the Army's formal dress uniform, was phased in to replace the Army Green and the Army White uniforms in October 2009. This uniform will function as both a garrison uniform (when worn with a white shirt and necktie) and a dress uniform (when worn with a white shirt and a bow tie for "after six" or "black tie" events). The blue uniform will be a mandatory wear item by fourth quarter, FY2014. The beret, adopted Army-wide in 2001, will continue to be worn with the Army Service Uniform for non-ceremonial functions.
Mess dress is the military term for the formal evening dress worn in the mess or at other formal occasions. This is generally worn as the military equivalent of white tie or black tie. The Army blue mess uniform comprises the Army blue mess jacket, dark- or light-blue high-waisted trousers, white semiformal dress shirt with a turndown collar, black bow tie, and black cummerbund. The Army blue evening mess uniform comprises the Army blue mess jacket, dark- or light-blue high-waisted trousers, white formal dress shirt with a wing collar, white vest, and white bow tie. The blue trousers are cut along the lines of civilian dress trousers, with a high waist and without pleats, cuffs, or hip pockets. The trouser leg ornamentation consists of an ornamental braid worn on the outside seam of the trouser leg, from the bottom of the waistband to the bottom of the trouser leg. General officers wear pants of the same color as the jacket, with two ½–inch, gold-colored braids, spaced ½ inch apart. Current stated uniform regulation for mess dress is that all other officers and enlisted personnel wear lighter blue trousers with one 1 ½ inch, gold-colored braid. However, regulations for the Army Service Uniform dictate that the trousers of junior enlisted personnel, specialist and below, be without ornamentation. There has been no official Army guidance as to whether this should also apply to the mess and evening mess uniforms.
The Army white mess uniform comprises the Army white jacket, black high-waisted trousers, white semiformal dress shirt with a turndown collar, black bow tie, and black cummerbund. The Army white evening mess uniform comprises the Army white jacket, black high-waisted trousers, white formal dress shirt with a wing collar, white vest, and white bow tie. The trousers are the same for all ranks.
Physical training uniform
The U.S. Army currently uses the Army Improved Physical Fitness Uniform (IPFU), manufactured by UNICOR. It is essentially a tracksuit, marked with the ARMY name. It is required during Army physical training.
Special branch uniforms
The United States Army also issues special uniforms to Soldiers in aviation fields if they serve as pilots or flight crew members and other special uniforms are issued to medical and food service personnel.
Aviation uniforms historically include the one-piece flight suit, constructed of flame resistant Nomex fabric, which have been issued in Olive Drab Green or Desert Tan, depending upon the area of intended use. The current flight-approved uniform is the Army Aircrew Combat Uniform (A2CU), which is outwardly similar to the ACU. Outside differences to the ACU include sleeve pencil pocket flaps, velcro closures on all pockets, flight-suit style thigh pockets, and the addition of lower leg pockets, oriented in similar fashion to the flight suits. The A2CU is also constructed of Nomex, similar to the flight suit so as to present a smaller risk of fire-related deaths in aviation accidents.
Medical personnel may wear unit-issued hospital scrubs, but the official uniform for medical personnel assigned to medical activities such as hospitals and clinics include white pants, different versions of white shirts for male or female Soldiers, black or white low quarter shoes, and accompanying insignia. A personally purchased white cardigan can be worn with this uniform in addition to other authorized uniform items. Food service personnel may receive exactly the same uniform as male and female medical personnel with differing accoutrements and footwear, and with the shirt worn tucked rather than untucked as it is by medical personnel. Mess hall supervisors may wear a short-sleeve, single-pocket commercial shirt with black commercial trousers.
Past and retired uniforms
Past uniforms include the Vietnam Olive Drab and ERDL Patterns. As of 1 October 2007, the M81 Battle Dress Uniform and its desert environment counterpart, the Desert Battle Dress Uniform, colloquially referred to as the Desert Camouflage Uniform (DCU), were replaced by the ACU.
- List of camouflage patterns
- Uniforms of the United States Military
- U.S. Army M-1943 Uniform
- United States Army uniforms in World War II
- Lopez, C. (February 20, 2010). "Soldiers to get new cammo pattern for wear in Afghanistan". US Army. US Army. Retrieved February 22, 2010.
- The Army Green Uniform - March 1968
- Army Service Uniform
- Cole, David (2007). Survey of United States Army Uniforms, Weapons and Accoutrements. United States Army Center of Military History.