Yesterday was Armed Forces Day here in the United States and some of the breaking military news is that the new OCP (Operational Camouflage Pattern) Uniform for the USAF will be none other than that of the U.S. Army. Does this look like going full circle: back to the roots of the Air Force – – – in the U. S. Army?The U.S. Air Force is adopting the Army‘s Operational Camouflage Pattern (OCP – above) as its new combat uniform and will begin incrementally phasing it in beginning this coming Oct. 1.
The service will soon be scrapping the Airman Battle Uniform, known as the ABU, for the Army’s OCP over the next three years. It is anticipated that all airmen will be wearing the OCP by April 2021, according to Maj. Gen. Robert LaBrutta, the Air Force director of Military Force Management Policy, and Deputy Chief of Staff for Manpower, Personnel and Services.
“Enhancing our readiness, the OCP is a uniform for form, fit and function,” LaBrutta told reporters May 9. “It is the best-of-breed of utility uniform that we believe is in the inventory.”
Airmen will have the option to sew on their name tape, service tape or both. Officers will have their rank on their patrol caps. Both enlisted airmen as well as officers will have their last names on the back of their caps.
Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. David Goldfein concurred: “The uniform works in all climates — from Minot to Manbij — and across the spectrum of missions we perform,” he said in a news release. “It’s suitable for our airmen working on a flight line in Northern Tier states and for those conducting patrols in the Middle East.”
“Everything on the configuration is the same as the Army wears the uniform; we’re just going to make some small color variations,” according to LaBrutta.
LaBrutta said the uniform also helps promote joint services integration. Since 2012, nearly 100,000 airmen have already worn the new uniform when deployed overseas in places like Afghanistan or while operating outside Air Base boundaries.
Just like their Army counterparts, airmen who go into combat zones in deployed locations will receive the fire retardant OCPs, which is standard now, LaBrutta advised.
Service members have asked about the new uniform at almost every town hall gathering, said Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson. The focus has been, “How do we make it easier [and] what works for airmen,” she commented on May 4.