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Below are the answers to the most frequently asked question to serve as a helpful tool. Please keep in mind that this list is not all inclusive. These questions and answers do not include information on local installation policies. Consult your installation guidance and chain of command for clarification and further guidance.

A-2 Flight Jacket
I was a prior space and missile officer but am now a judge advocate corps officer. Can I still wear the A-2 flying jacket? Is the jacket only authorized for personnel previously awarded the Air Force specialty or currently in the specialty?

Airman Battle Uniform Gortex (APECS)
Is there any problem mixing IRS jackets with APECS bottoms?
When the enlisted clothing allowance was recomputed, was the cost of the APECS jacket or IRS factored into the allowance?
Is the hood on the APECS jacket required to be stowed or can it hang out?
Can I wear the APECS jacket with my flight suit?

Airman Battle Unform (ABU)
Can we wear the green ABU boot with all Air Force utility uniforms? If so, when can we wear them and when can we wear the ABU?
Why does it appear that there are shade differences with some sets of ABUs?
When is the mandatory wear date for the ABU?
Will we wear patches on the ABU?
Will we still be able to wear baseball hats?
Can I wear sister services badges on the ABU?
Will other Air Force-issued items change to match the pattern and/or color of the ABU?
Why wasn't Velcro® used for the attachments to the ABU?
Can I mix and match patterns with my ABUs, such as wear any of my overgarments with the ABU until I get a new ABU jacket?
Will the enlisted clothing allowance be updated annually to allow Airmen to purchase four sets every year?
Does the ABU require dry cleaning or pressing?
What are the wash and care requirements for the ABU?
How could starch damage the uniform?
Why did you borrow the pattern from the Army and Marines?
Why doesn't the Air Force just adopt the Army's ACU? Isn't it wasteful for the Air Force to develop, produce and distribute a new uniform in today's constrained fiscal environment?
Who is the contractor making the ABU?
Was this a manufacturing error or is there another reason?
Is the commanders insignia authorized with the ABU?
The September 2007 wear message states that the only authorized hat with the ABU is the ABU patrol cap, except in the AOR where boonies/floppy hats are authorized. Are there any exceptions?
Can my unit or I purchase uniforms from venders other than the AAFES Military Clothing Sales Store?
Can I wear the solid green cold weather parka with the white fur collar with the ABU?
Can I sew my pockets down on the ABU?
What are the wear requirements for the maternity ABU?
Can I roll up the sleeves on my ABU?
Can I remove the zipper pulls on the APECS?
Do I have to be concerned with optical brighteners?
If I perform duties in the AOR with another service, am I required to wear the ABU?
What outergarments am I authorized to wear with the ABU?

Bags
What is the guidance for carrying an attaché case, gym bag, backpack or handbag?

Boots
Are taps authorized on the ABU boot?
Does the absence of this boot from the men's BDU table and men's/women's service dress table indicate it is not authorized for men or while in service dress?
What boots are authorized with each uniform?

Commander Insignia
When can unit or squadron commanders expect to have the commander's badge readily available to wear with the ABU's?
Why is the ABU the only Air Force uniform not allowing the Air Force command insignia?

Earrings
Are princess cut diamond earrings now allowed to be worn by females while in uniform?
Air Force instructions allow pearl earrings, but are black pearl earrings authorized?

Hair
Are pig tails - two coming off the side of the head - authorized in uniform?
Many black women let their hair grow naturally and keep it at 1/2 inch or less in bulk. According to the Air Force instruction, they are not meeting the standard requiring at least 1 inch bulk for women. Their hair looks good on them, but they are out of regulation. What's the Air Force's intent?

Hats
Where does the rank go on the ABU boonie hat?
Is it mandatory for general officers to wear the wheel cap at a memorial service?
Are exercise evaluation team member hats authorized for wear with the ABUs?
What is the guidance for the wear of the Black Watch Cap?
What is the guidance for the wear of the Sage Green Watch Cap?

Jackets
Where can I find information on the embroidered Air Force symbol for the lightweight blue jacket?
What version of the Sage Green Fleece is authorized for wear?

Medals and Ribbons
I was awarded two NATO medals. Can I wear them both?
Can an anodized medal or decoration be worn on a mess dress at a function such as a dining-in or dining out?
What are the rules for wearing regular vs. miniature size ribbons?

Miscellaneous Questions
Is there any monetary compensation for uniforms for a member who loses a significant amount of weight?
What is defined as a new requirement?
Can you mix civilian clothes with BDU or ABU uniform items?
Ref, Table 2.6, item 9. The AFI states that no more than two pens may be carried in the BDU pocket. The ABU has several pen pockets. Is that two for the entire uniform or two for each pocket?
Can I have alterations done to my uniform?
Are retired servicemembers authorized to wear their old uniforms at military ceremonies?
How do I recommend Uniform Changes?
How do I make administrative changes to the Dress and Appearance AFI?

Physical Training Uniform
Can a cap be worn indoors with PT gear?
What are the rules for saluting in PT gear?
What is the guidance on the PT sweatshirt?
Is there a maternity PT uniform?
Are Vibram 5 Finger shoes authorized?

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A-2 Flight Jacket

Q: I was a prior space and missile officer but am now a judge advocate corps officer. Can I still the A-2 flying jacket? Is the jacket only authorized for personnel previously awarded the Air Force specialty or currently in the specialty?

A: Space and Missile Officer and Enlisted. Qualified 13SX officers are authorized wear upon completion of qualification training in one of the following AFSC's 13SXA, 13SXB, 13SXC, 13SXD, 13SXE. Space Systems Operations personnel must complete qualification training and be certified as a mission ready crewmember in the 1C6XX AFSC. Reference AFI 36-2903, paragraph 8.5.2.4.

Q: I have a flyer's leather jacket from my flying time in the early 1990s. I would like to wear the jacket including a Strategic Air Command leather patch and my leather name tag, with or without rank, with civilian clothes to work. What are the rules for wear of the jacket as a historical type jacket?

A: Leather A-2 Flying Jacket. Wear Leather A-2 flying jacket with service uniform (not service dress uniform), hospital whites, or flight duty uniforms. Do not wear with civilian clothes. Reference AFI 36-2903, paragraph 9.11.13.

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Airman Battle Uniform Gortex (APECS)

Q: Is there any problem mixing IRS jackets with APECS bottoms?

A: For optimum performance, the IRS and APECS were designed to work as a set; however; if availability is an issue, Installation Commanders or equivalent may authorize specific  guidance on wear of functional clothing with service uniforms that have previously approved by MAJCOM commander. Reference AFI 36-2903, paragraph 2.8.

Q: When the enlisted clothing allowance was recomputed, was the cost of the APECS jacket or IRS factored into the allowance?

A: No. Only items issued in the initial clothing bag (not optional uniform items or gear) are considered when computing the annual enlisted clothing allowance. Referemce AFI 36-3014.

Q: Is the hood on the APECS jacket required to be stowed or can it hang out?

A: The hood on the APECS jacket is required to be stowed when not in use.  The APECS (with an Air Force digitized tiger stripe print) will have a slip-on rank that will be worn on the rank tab. The APECS will be zipped no lower than mid-point on the rank tab at all times when worn. The hood will be stowed when not in use. A green fleece liner may be worn under the APECS; however, the fleece liner will not be visible. Reference AFI 36-2903, paragraph 6.1.8.1.

Q: Can I wear the APECS jacket with my flight suit?

A: Improved Rain Suit (IRS). Can only be worn with the Airman battle uniform, Air Force food services, and flight duty uniforms. For outdoor use only. Reference AFI 36-2903, paragraph 6.1.9.

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Airman Battle Unform (ABU)

Q: Can we wear the green ABU boot with all Air Force utility uniforms? If so, when can we wear them and when can we wear the ABU?

A: Sage Green Boots will be worn with the Airman Battle Uniform (ABU), the Battle Dress Uniform (BDU - phase out date for BDU is 1 Nov 201) or the Flight Duty Uniform (FDU). Boots will be sage green, lace up with plain rounded toe or rounded capped toe with or without a perforated seam. A zipper or elastic inserts may be worn; however, if worn, they will be without design. Green boots can be either with or without a safety toe. Reference AFI 36-2903, paragraph 6.4.3.2.

Q:  Why does it appear that there are shade differences with some sets of ABUs?

A:  Some ABUs issued or purchased through AAFES, have shade variances, but they are all within the shade tolerance specifications set by the Air Force. This has begun to work itself out as the vendors formalized the process and produced more uniforms. The different shades variances are authorized.

Q: When is the mandatory wear date for the ABU?

A:  The mandatory wear date for the ABU is 1 November 2011. Reference AFI 36-2903, paragraph 5.1.1.

Q: Will we wear patches on the ABU?

A:  If authorized, the Security Forces, Fire Protection and Office of Special Investigations duty shields and the missile badge will be worn on the wearer's left pocket of the ABU. No other items are authorized in this location. The duty shield or badge will be centered between the bottom of the pocket flap, bottom of the pocket and left and right edges. There is no badge, patch, or insignia authorized for wear on the right pocket.

Q: Will we still be able to wear baseball hats?

A:  Organizational Caps will only be worn with the Airman battle uniform and battle dress uniforms by the following personnel/units.

Red Horse Squadrons may wear a red baseball cap with the RED HORSE emblem/symbol centered on the cap front. The unit numerical designation will be printed on the dozer blade in black print. Officers will center rank on the front of the cap. Officers will wear subdued metal rank. The General Officer rank will be positioned vertically with a point of each star pointing upward. General Officers will wear 1inch stars. General Officers unable to wear 1 inch stars will wear ¾ inch stars. The Colonel rank insignia is worn with the eagle's beak pointed towards the wearer's right shoulder (indicates the eagle is facing forward) and will be centered horizontally. The stem of the Major and Lieutenant Colonel rank will point toward the ground. The long end of the Lieutenant and Captain bars will be positioned vertically. Red Horse squadron caps will not be worn with the all-weather coat.

Combat Arms personnel are authorized to wear a red baseball type cap with the words COMBAT ARMS embossed with 1-inch black letters while performing duties on the range complex. It is only to be worn while performing duties on the range complex and will not be worn outside the range complex. Reference AFI 36-2903, paragraph 6.2.10. - 6.2.10.2.

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Q: Can I wear sister services badges on the ABU?

A:  Reference AFI 36-2903, see paragraphs below:
  • 10.4.17. The Civil Engineer Badge is the occupational badge for all 3E AFSs'. The Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) badge is a joint service badge awarded at the completion of Tech School with the CE badge. The criteria for subsequent awards (senior and master) are based on qualifications and leadership in EOD tasks in order to more closely align with sister service award criteria and maintain joint service parity.
     
  • 10.5.1.1. Combat Infantry, Combat Medical and Combat Action Badge. Wear only while permanently assigned to and performing duties with sister services components.
     
  • 10.5.1.2. Pathfinder Badge and Ranger Tab. Wear only while permanently assigned to and performing duties with sister services components.
     
  • 10.5.1.3. US Army Air Assault Badge. Authorized permanent wear of black US Army Air Assault badge on the BDUs only, regardless of duty assignment. Air Force members are authorized to wear badge upon graduation from Air Assault School.
     
  • 10.5.1.3.1. US Army Air Assault badge is not authorized for wear on the ABU.
     
  • 10.5.1.4. Parachute Riggers Badge. Authorized Airmen meeting the criteria for and award of the US Army Parachute Riggers badge are authorized permanent wear of badge on all uniform combinations, regardless of duty assignment. Air Force members are authorized to wear badge upon graduation from Parachute Riggers School.
     
  • 10.5.1.4.1. The badge will be blue (not black) when wearing the subdued badge on the ABU and BDU. When wearing the subdued badge on the DCU, the badge will be brown.
     
  • 10.5.1.5. Scuba Badge. Is authorized for wear, when awarded. Not authorized on ABUs. OPR is AF/A3.
     
  • 10.5.1.1.2. Upon Permanent Change of Station (PCS) to an Air Force unit, member will remove all sister service patches. OPR is Sister Service Directive; Army MilPERCEN; Navy; BUPERS etc.
Q: Will other Air Force-issued items change to match the pattern and/or color of the ABU?

A:  Yes, some items such as hat, socks and T-shirts will be introduced concurrently with the ABU.

Q: Why wasn't Velcro® used for the attachments to the ABU?

A:  The research and development branch of the Air Force Clothing Office at Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio, looked into using Velcro®, since it appears to be easier and less expensive for our Airmen. However, research indicates otherwise and the majority of Airmen in the test did not want Velcro®.

Q: Can I mix and match patterns with my ABUs, such as wear any of my overgarments with the ABU until I get a new ABU jacket?

A:  No. See Chapter 6 to determine outer garments that are authorized for wear with the ABU.

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Q: Will the enlisted clothing allowance be updated annually to allow Airmen to purchase four sets every year?

A:  No, the annual enlisted clothing allowance is not intended to replace all items in the initial clothing bag. The computation used to determine the amount of the annual enlisted clothing allowance can be found in DoDI 1338.18 dated Jan 7, 1998. Reference AFI 36-3014, Clothing Allowance for Air Force Personnel.

Q: Does the ABU require dry cleaning or pressing?

A:  Do not starch or hot press the ABU. Light ironing and center creasing of enlisted chevrons is authorized; however, repeated hot pressing or heavy ironing will accelerate the overall wear of the fabric. Reference AFI 36-2903, paragraph 5.1.

Q: What are the wash and care requirements for the ABU?

A:  In order to maximize service life and maintain optimum performance, ABUs should be washed in warm water with detergent containing no bleach. Tumble dry at low heat. The use of starch, sizing and any process that involves dry-cleaning or steam press will adversely affect the treatments and durability of the uniform and is not authorized.

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Q: How could starch damage the uniform?

A:  Starching uniforms makes the uniform material more brittle and subsequently reduces the wear life, thus it is prohibited. The permanent press and near Infrared features of the uniform will be damaged by starching, commercial pressing and additives in the washing process. The permanent press feature will allow Airmen to look sharp and wear the ABU without incurring the costs of commercial dry cleaning or pressing.

Q: Why did you borrow the pattern from the Army and Marines?

A:  The Air Force created its own pattern with the inspiration from the Vietnam-era tiger stripe. The Air Force did use colors based on the Army's new ACU with the addition of slate blue.

Q: Why doesn't the Air Force just adopt the Army's ACU? Isn't it wasteful for the Air Force to develop, produce and distribute a new uniform in today's constrained fiscal environment?

A: Historically, the Air Force's enlisted Airmen have worn their rank on the forearm of their uniform.  The configuration of the ACU does not permit placement of rank on the upper arm. 

The goal for the ABU was to develop a distinctive Air Force uniform that is better fitting and easier and less expensive to maintain. These goals were developed in response to input from Airmen across the force. The Air Force Clothing Office created a matrix of all the suggestions and complaints sent to the Air Force Uniform Board for several years. The BDU received the most suggestions for improvement; however, the Air Force count not make changes to an Army uniform. This provided a unique opportunity for the Air Force to take input from Airmen and develop a uniform to meet the specific needs of the Air Force and retain the ability to adapt changes to that uniform as needed.

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Q: Who is the contractor making the ABU?

A:  Several contractors make the ABU. The Defense Supply Center of Philadelphia (DSCP) is the procurement agent for the ABU uniform. AAFES purchases their stock from DSCP.

Q: Is the commanders insignia authorized with the ABU?

A:No, however, the Command Insignia pin is mandatory on all blue service uniforms and is worn by all eligible commissioned officers in the rank of Colonel (O-6) and below. Commanders of a squadron, group, wing, or other organizations identified at: http://www.afpc.af.mil/dress/uniforms.asp wear the commanders' insignia pin on the right side of the uniform jacket in the same relative position as the badges worn on the left on the formal dress and mess dress uniform. When currently in command, wear the pin above the name tag on the service dress uniform. The pin is worn below the nametag upon completion of command duties. Wear of the pin on the light blue uniform shirt is the same, above the name tag when in command and below the name tag upon completion of command.

Q: The September 2007 wear message states that the only authorized hat with the ABU is the ABU patrol cap, except in the AOR where boonies/floppy hats are authorized. Are there any exceptions?

A:  Yes, there are other exceptions, reference AFI 36-2903, see paragraphs below:
  • 9.6. Security Forces. Berets are allowed.
     
  • 9.11.2. Pararescue Personnel and Combat Rescue Officers (CRO). Airmen wear maroon beret (with pararescue flash device).
     
  • 9.11.3. Survival, Evasion, Resistance, and Escape (SERE). Pewter green beret with SERE crest.
     
  • 9.11.4. Combat Control Team (CCT) Personnel and Special Tactics Officers (STO). Scarlet beret with flash.
     
  • 9.11.5. Weather Parachutists. Pewter gray beret with device.
     
  • 9.11.6. Air Liaison Officers. Black beret with Tactical Air Control Party (TACP) cloth flash.
     
  • 9.11.7. Tactical Air Control Party. Black beret with TACP flash.
     
  • 9.11.8. Basic Military Training Instructor. Campaign (bush) hat worn with service dress, service uniform, ABU and BDU.
     
  • 9.11.9. Defense Language Institute English Language Center Instructors. Maroon campaign hat.
     
Q: Can my unit or I purchase uniforms from venders other than the AAFES Military Clothing Sales Store?

A:  Units may not use appropriated funds of any kind, to include credit card, micro-purchase, Form 9s, etc., to purchase uniforms from non-certified commercial sources. This is driven primarily by contracting regulations, which require all clothing and textiles purchased with government funds be manufactured entirely in the United States. Individuals using personal funds to purchase uniforms from other than AAFES Military Clothing Sales Stores are at risk that the item will not meet uniform requirements. Uniforms purchased through outside sources cannot be returned to AAFES for any reason.

Q: Can I wear the solid green cold weather parka with the white fur collar with the ABU?

A:  Reference AFI 36-2903, see paragraphs below
  • 6.1.15. Cold-Weather Parka. Can be worn with all uniform combinations. For outdoor use only.
     
  • 6.1.15.1. The cold weather parka will be green with a fur-edged hood. When worn, the parka will be zipped at all times. The hood will rest neatly on the upper back when not in use. Rank insignia is not worn on the cold-weather parka.
Q: Can I sew my pockets down on the ABU?

A:  Airmen may alter uniform clothing to improve fit; however, alterations will not change the intended appearance or required function of the uniform as designed. Individuals may sew down unused pockets but no policy will be established to make it mandatory. Reference AFI 36-2903, paragraph 1.2.5.

Q: What are the wear requirements for the maternity ABU?

A:  Reference AFI 36-2903, see paragraphs below:
  • 5.1.1. ABU Coat (Shirt). The maternity ABU coat may be worn if medically necessary, as determined by competent medical authorities at a military or civilian treatment facility and approved by the commander.
     
  • 5.1.3. T-Shirt - Desert Sand colored (Tan). The t-shirt may be replaced by a desert sand turtleneck. The t-shirt may be worn untucked while wearing the maternity ABU, but must be tucked in for all others.
     
  • 5.1.4. Trousers. Maternity trousers are not required to be bloused during advanced stages of pregnancy. If not bloused, the tie straps will be removed and trousers will be ankle length and hang naturally, barely resting on the boot without a break in the crease.
     
  • 5.1.5. Belt. Desert Sand colored (Tan). A one piece rigger style, nylon, web belt (1 ¾ inch wide) will be worn with ABU trousers (Exception: maternity trousers). Belt may extend past buckle.
     
  • 6.4.3. Footwear (males/females) Combat boots. Will be worn with the Airman battle uniform, the battle dress uniform or the flight duty uniform. (Exception: Athletic shoes may be worn if medically necessary, as determined by competent medical authorities at a civilian or military treatment facility and approved by the commander.)
Q: Can I roll up the sleeves on my ABU?

A:  Commanders may authorize sleeves to be rolled up on the ABU coat; however, the cuffs will remain visible and the sleeve will rest at, or within 1 inch of, the forearm when the arm is bent at a 90-degree angle. Regardless as to whether the sleeves are rolled up or unrolled, the cuffs will remain visible at all times. Reference AFI 36-2903, paragraph 5.1.1.

Q: Can I remove the zipper pulls on the APECS?

A:  Yes, the zipper pull can be removed from the APECS if it presents a safety concern, however, the modification must not change the intended appearance of the APECS. Reference AFI 36-2903; Table 1.2, Note 1.

Q: Do I have to be concerned with optical brighteners?

A:  It has been determined that the optical brighteners found in commonly used detergents will not substantially impact the serviceability of the ABU. The Air Force News Agency article released regarding ABU optical brighteners covers this more extensively: http://www.af.mil/news/story.asp?id=123099665

Q: If I perform duties in the AOR with another service, am I required to wear the ABU?

A:  Wear of the ABU for Airmen deployed to the AOR will be determined by the theater commander.

Q: What outergarments am I authorized to wear with the ABU?

A:  Reference AFI 36-2903, see paragraphs below
  • 6.1.8. All-Purpose Environmental Clothing System (APECS). Can only be worn with the Airman battle and flight duty uniforms. For outdoor use only.
     
  • 6.1.9. Improved Rain Suit (IRS). Can only be worn with the Airman battle, Air Force food services, and flight duty uniforms. For outdoor use only.
     
  • 6.1.10. Sage Green Fleece. Only worn outdoors with the Airman Battle Uniform (ABU); remove when indoors.
     
  • 6.1.15. Cold-Weather Parka. Can be worn with all uniform combinations. For outdoor use only.
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Bags

Q: What is the guidance for carrying an attaché case, gym bag, backpack or handbag?

A: Reference AFI 36-2903, see paragraphs below
  • 6.3.4.1. Attaché Cases. Attaché cases will be solid-black in color and carried in the left hand. Small logos are authorized; however the logo must be the same color.
     
  • 6.3.4.2. Gym Bags. Gym bags will be solid dark-blue or black in color with matching stitching and carried in the left hand. When wearing ABUs, Airmen can also use olive drab, Air Force sage green or ABU patterned gym bags. Small logos are authorized.
     
  • 6.3.4.3. Back Packs. Black back packs may be worn with any uniform combination. Only solid-color black backpacks will be worn with blue uniform combinations ABU-patterned back packs, olive drab and Air Force sage green may be worn with the ABU Olive drab or woodland camouflage colored back packs may also be worn with the BDU. Small logos are authorized. Airmen may wear a back pack on the left shoulder or both shoulders (not to interfere with rendering the proper salute). Back packs will not have ornamentation, a high-gloss, designs, or hanging/dangling objects. Small gold or silver clasp authorized, but chains are not authorized.
     
  • 6.3.4.4. Handbags. Handbags for all uniform combinations will be solid black leather or vinyl without ornamentation, with or without plain fold-over flap, with or without single-placed silver or gold-colored clasp, with black stitching only. Handbags may have up to two adjustable shoulder straps with or without buckles on the straps. Handbags will not exceed 13(W) x 9(H) x 4 ½ in bulk.
     
  • 6.3.4.5. Clutch-Style Purses. Clutch-style purses for all uniform combinations will be plain black smooth or scotch-grain leather, patent leather, high-gloss or manmade material without ornamentation, with black stitching only. Fabric, suede, and patent leather may be carried with the mess dress, formal dress and ceremonial dress uniforms. Clutch-style purses will be no larger than 6 ½ (H) x 11(W) inches or no smaller than 5(H) x 9(W) inches. Clutch-style purses will have a concealed closure and may have a wrist strap. Exception: Do not use patent leather purse when wearing semi-formal dress.
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Boots

Q: Are taps authorized on the ABU boot?

A: Commander's discretion. 

Q: Does the absence of this boot from the men's BDU table and men's/women's service dress table indicate it is not authorized for men or while in service dress?

A: The hot-weather tropical boots are authorized with the male and female BDU until phased out 1 Nov 2011.

Q: What boots are authorized with each uniform?

A: Reference AFI 36-2903, see paragraphs below:
  • 6.4.3.2. Sage Green Boots. Will be worn with the Airman battle uniform, the battle dress uniform or the flight duty uniform.
     
  • 6.4.3.1. Boots (black). Will be worn with the battle dress uniform or the flight duty uniform until phased out 1 Nov 2011.
     
  • 6.4.3.3. Tan Boots. May be worn with the Airman battle uniform through 31 October 2011; effective 1 November 2011, tan boots will not be worn with the ABU unless authorized by the Theater commander for wear only in theater.
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Commander Insignia

Q: When can unit or squadron commanders expect to have the commander's badge readily available to wear with the ABU's?

A: Command insignia is currently not authorized for wear with the ABU.

Q: Why is the ABU the only Air Force uniform not allowing the Air Force command insignia?

A: The ABU was developed to be an "all environment" uniform -- in garrison and deployed. Therefore, patches and certain badges are not authorized for wear. The intent is that no alterations, such as removal of patches and badges, should be required when individuals move from one environment to the other. The ABU evolved to ease Airman's deployment transitions and reinforce the "one team, one fight," or one uniform, concept.

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Earrings

Q: Are princess cut diamond earrings now allowed to be worn by females while in uniform?

A: Female Airmen may wear small (not exceeding 4mm in diameter) spherical, conservative (moderate, being within reasonable limits; not excessive or extreme) round white diamond, gold, white pearl, or silver earrings as a set with any uniform combination. Reference AFI 36-2903, paragraph 6.3.1.1.

Q: Air Force instructions allow pearl earrings, but are black pearl earrings authorized?

A: The 96th Air Force Uniform Board authorized black pearl earrings, however, the 97th AFUB removed them from the authorized list. Female Airmen may wear small (not exceeding 4mm in diameter) spherical, conservative (moderate, being within reasonable limits; not excessive or extreme) round white diamond, gold, white pearl, or silver earrings as a set with any uniform combination. Reference AFI 36-2903, paragraph 6.3.1.1.

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Hair

Q: Are pig tails - two coming off the side of the head - authorized in uniform?

A: Dress and personal appearance standards that are not listed as authorized in the publication are unauthorized.

Q: Many black women let their hair grow naturally and keep it at 1/2 inch or less in bulk. According to the Air Force instruction, they are not meeting the standard requiring at least 1 inch bulk for women. Their hair looks good on them, but they are out of regulation. What's the Air Force's intent?

A: Minimum length is one inch, unless approved by the commander upon recommendation from a military treatment facility for medical reasons, to a maximum bulk of three inches from scalp. The intent behind the rule is to eliminate women from shaving their heads bald. Bottom line, it must be "styled to present a professional appearance."

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Hats

Q: Where does the rank go on the ABU boonie hat?

A: The patrol cap or boonie hat will be worn; matching helmet cover is also authorized. Name tapes may be placed on the back of the patrol cap using Velcro. Officer rank will be sewn on the patrol cap or boonie hat. Reference USAFCENT Supplement to AFI 36-2903, 3.5.3.4.

Q: Is it mandatory for general officers to wear the wheel cap at a memorial service?

A: Rounded design, sides form a front brim, with a solid blue hat cover. The cap sits squarely on the head. Clear plastic rain scarf or white net wind scarf is optional. Scarf will have a helmet-type designed to cover headgear and tie under chin. Officers wear the service cap insignia without a circle and with the appropriate clouds and darts (based on rank) centered on the front of the cap. Enlisted wear the service cap insignia with a circle, centered on the front of the cap. Service cap is mandatory for Majors and above and optional for all others. Its mandatory to maintain, not mandatory for wear. Reference AFI 36-2903, paragraph 6.2.2.1.

Q: Are exercise evaluation team member hats authorized for wear with the ABUs?

A: Reference AFI 36-2903, see paragraphs below
  • 6.2.9. The ABU Patrol Cap will only be worn with the Airman Battle Uniform. For placement of appropriate rank insignia, see figure 6.11.
     
  • 6.2.9.1. The patrol cap will be 50% nylon and 50% cotton, with an Air Force digitized tiger stripe print. The ABU patrol cap will rest squarely on the head with the bottom of the cap parallel with the ground. The brim of the cap will face forward. Cap may not be pushed, rolled, folded or tucked in (e.g. ranger fold).
Q: What is the guidance for the wear of the Black Watch Cap?

A: Reference AFI 36-2903, see paragraphs below:
  • 6.2.7. The Black Watch cap may be worn only when approved by the installation commander and only when wearing authorized outer garments, service dress, or physical training uniform (PTU).
     
  • 6.2.7.1. Cap will fit snugly over top of head (tight fit). Adjust cap so it may fit squarely on head. Fold edge of cap all the way around, adjust crease so that the folded edge is no more than 3 inches wide. The back of the cap should run across the nape of the neck and the front should rest within ½ inch of the eyebrows. The watch cap should reflect a diagonal line across the ears moving downwards, from front to back. No bunching and no sagging.
     
  • 6.2.7.2. It will be commercially designed, plain, solid black knit or fleece/micro fiber material.
     
  • 6.2.7.3. Rank insignia is not worn on the black watch cap.
Q: What is the guidance for the wear of the Sage Green Watch Cap?

A: Reference AFI 36-2903, see paragraphs below:
  • 6.2.8. The Sage Green Watch Cap may be worn only when approved by the installation commander and only when wearing ABU authorized outer garments or physical training uniform (PTU).
     
  • 6.2.8.1. Cap will fit snugly over top of head (tight fit). Adjust cap so it may fit squarely on head. Fold edge of cap all the way around, adjust crease so that the folded edge is no more than 3 inches wide. The back of the cap should run across the nape of the neck and the front should rest within ½ inch of the eyebrows. The watch cap should reflect a diagonal line across the ears moving downwards, from front to back. No bunching and no sagging.
     
  • 6.2.8.2. It will be commercially designed, plain, solid, sage green knit or fleece/micro fiber material.
    6.2.8.3. Rank insignia is not worn on the sage green watch cap.
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Jackets

Q: Where can I find information on the embroidered Air Force symbol for the lightweight blue jacket?

A: The lightweight blue jacket will be partially lined, water repellant and is authorized for inside and outside. It has a zipper front, two slanted pockets, knitted cuffs and waistband. The jacket will be waist length with the zipper worn no lower than halfway between the collar and the waistband. The Air Force symbol may be embroidered on the jacket at the Airman's expense (http://www.trademark.af.mil/symbol/embroidery/index.asp). The jacket may be worn with or without an insulated liner. If worn, the insulated liner will not be visible. Reference AFI 36-2903, paragraph 6.1.5.1.

Q: What version of the Sage Green Fleece is authorized for wear?

A: Per AAFES:
The current AF Green fleece available in AAFES and through DSCP is known as the Generation III fleece (it say Gen III on the garment) with rank, name and AF Velcro tape sewn on. All future purchases of the green fleece should be through these 2 sources to ensure the greatest degree of standardization.

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Medals and Ribbons

Q: I was awarded two NATO medals. Can I wear them both?

A: Airmen can wear the first NATO medal awarded and will wear a bronze service star for any subsequent medal awarded for a different operation. Subsequent deployments in support of the same operation will not be awarded. Airmen are authorized to retain the ribbon clasp if presented; however, the wearing of the ribbon clasp with the NATO medal is not authorized for U.S. military members. Reference AFI 36-2903, Chapter 10 and 11.

Q: Can an anodized medal or decoration be worn on a mess dress at a function such as a dining-in or dining out?

A: If it is an Air Force medal or decoration it will mirror the decorations available in the military clothing sales store in appearance and size. Otherwise, if it falls under any other category, such as foreign medals, the wear guidance will be IAW AFI 36-2903.

Q: What are the rules for wearing regular vs. miniature size ribbons?

A: Miniature size ribbons are only authorized on the mess dress uniform. Regular size ribbons are authorized on all other blues combinations. Reference AFI 36-2903, Chapter 11 for guidance.

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Miscellaneous Questions

Q: Is there any monetary compensation for uniforms for a member who loses a significant amount of weight?

A: Reference DoD Instruction 1338.18. Armed Forces Clothing Monetary Allowance Procedures.

Articles of outer clothing issued by the government can be altered at government expense at the time of sale or issue. Members must bear the cost of further alterations, unless a change in physical profile occurs during initial basic or follow-on training. Further, replacement is authorized for changes in physical profile during the first 6 months of service if the cost of alterations would exceed that of replacement and the service member's commanding officer certifies the replacement issue is more economical than alterations. Issues are to be made from stocks of serviceable used clothing, when possible. Instructions state that member will receive another clothing allowance if at least three years have passed since the need for a maternity uniform was issued and a new requirement exists.

Q: What is defined as a new requirement?

A:  A new requirement is a new uniform that was not in the Air Force inventory when the member was pregnant before, such as ABUs.

Q: Can you mix civilian clothes with BDU or ABU uniform items?

A: While in civilian attire. Do not mix or wear military unique uniform items with civilian clothes; for example, rank insignia, cap devices, badges, and other US or Air Force insignia, devices, buttons, etc. Exception: Tie tacks and lapel pens are authorized when wearing business attire. Reference AFI 36-2903, paragraph 1.4.9.

Q: Ref, Table 2.6, item 9. The AFI states that no more than two pens may be carried in the BDU pocket. The ABU has several pen pockets. Is that two for the entire uniform or two for each pocket?

A: The only established pen pockets for the BDU are on the left pocket. The ABU has several pockets designated for pens. The pocket specifically addressed in AFI 36-2903; Table 2.6., Item 9, will apply to the ABU; however, the other pen pockets will be used as intended - to accommodate a single pen per pocket.

Q: Can I have alterations done to my uniform?

A: Airmen may alter uniform clothing to improve fit; however, alterations will not change the intended appearance or required function of the uniform as designed. Individuals may sew down unused pockets but no policy will be established to make it mandatory. Reference AFI 36-2903, paragraph 1.2.5.

Q: Are retired servicemembers authorized to wear their old uniforms at military ceremonies?

A: May wear the uniform at military funerals, weddings, memorial services and inaugurals.

Q: How do I recommend Uniform Changes?

A: Refer recommended changes and questions about this publication to HQ AFPC/DPSIM using AF Form 847, Recommendation for Change of Publication.

Q: How do I make administrative changes to the Dress and Appearance AFI?

A: Uniforms and Recognition Branch, Headquarters Air Force (AF/A1SOU). Office of Primary Responsibility (OPR) for applicable exception-to-policy, waiver, and policy change (AF Form 847, Recommendation for Change of Publication) requests. OPR for the AFVUB. Refer recommended changes and questions about this publication to HQ AFPC/DPSIM using AF Form 847, Recommendation for Change of Publication.

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Physical Training Uniform


Q: Can a cap be worn indoors with PT gear?

A: Installation commanders may authorize wear of an optional solid black or dark blue baseball/sport cap with the Air Force symbol or U.S. Air Force printed/embroidered on the front during organized PT; also authorized during individual PT. If authorized, caps are to be worn outdoors only. Reference AFI 36-2903 paragraph 7.1.7.

Q: What are the rules for saluting in PT gear?

A: Saluting due to rank recognition is not required when wearing the PTU/IPTU. Reference AFI 36-2903, paragraph 7.1.15.

Q: What is the guidance on the PT sweatshirt?

A: Optional IPTU sweatshirt - The sweatshirt will extend no lower than six inches below the natural waist line. Do not push up, remove, or cut sleeves. Reference AFI 36-2903, paragraph 7.1.4.3.

Q: Is there a maternity PT uniform?

A: There is no separate Maternity PTU and all components making up the PTU and IPTU are considered uniform items. Commanders may temporarily adjust wear policy to address immediate safety or mission/operation concerns. Commanders determine the required PTU/IPTU configuration during organized PT events.

Q: Are Vibram 5 Finger shoes authorized?

A: Per Air Staff, the 5 finger shoe, also known as the barefoot shoe is classified as an athletic shoe by the Air Force Uniform office and is considered authorized for wear with the PTU.

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