- The Washington Times - Tuesday, August 11, 2020

The Army’s decision to adopt a retro-World War II look for its next dress uniform can be traced to a 2017 visit to the service’s Combat Capabilities Development Center in Natick, Mass., by Gen. Mark A. Milley, then the Army’s Chief of Staff, and the now-retired Sgt. Major of the Army Daniel A. Dailey.

Both had earlier shown great interest in the classic uniform informally known as “Pinks and Greens,” a staple of countless war movies and History Channel documentaries, said Annette LeFleur, a team leader at the center’s Soldier Protection and Survivability Directorate.

“Gen. Milley spoke with me about his vision for the uniform while looking at an original World War II uniform,” she said Tuesday while speaking with reporters at the Pentagon. “He spoke of the pride and heritage of that uniform in the Army’s history and wanting to bring it back.”

Gen. Milley, now Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, wasn’t specific in terms of exact design details.

“He just spoke about the fit, the aesthetic, the look of it — uniting everyone together with this uniform,” Ms. LeFleur said.

The design team then created a briefing book for Gen. Milley with options for several uniform components - with due consideration for form, fit and function, she said.

“One of the key things that Gen. Milley wanted was for us to improve the uniform for females and get their input on the design,” Ms. LeFleur said.

The Army assembled an all-female panel to help evaluate the design and provide feedback. They asked for trousers rather than a skirt because they thought all soldiers should look the same, said Col. Stephen Thomas, project manager for soldier survivability at PEO Soldier, an organization at Fort Belvoir, Va. responsible for rapid prototyping, production and fielding of equipment.

“I thought that was pretty profound, for that all-female board to come up with that decision,” Col. Thomas said.

Gen. Milley and other top Army leaders have already been seen in the new uniform, now formally known as the Army Green Service Uniform, and now its being rolled out in a more widespread fashion. The dark blue Army Service Uniform that had been the standard office uniform for several years will return to its previous role for formal dress functions.

The uniforms won’t be mandatory wear until October 2027. The long lead time gives enlisted soldiers the opportunity to accumulate their uniform allowances to purchase the items, which, while more expensive, will prove more durable. The basic outfit of jacket, trousers and shirt will initially cost about $500 but that amount is expected to drop as the supply increases, officials said.

“It’s a higher quality uniform with a longer service life,” Col. Thomas said.

The Army is continuing to roll out the Greens uniform, as it’s now called. Recruiters were among the first enlisted troops to wear them and now drill sergeants at basic training posts at Fort Sill, Okla.; Fort Jackson, S.C.; Fort Benning, Ga.; and Fort Leonard Wood in Missouri have begun receiving the Greens.

Army officials expect that new soldiers in boot camp will be issued their Greens as the dress uniform later this year.

Col. Thomas said the feedback has been almost completely positive about the Greens uniform.

“The next question I get, after they say how good the uniform looks is, ‘When can I get one?’” he said. “The Army as a whole is ready for this uniform.”

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