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Opening Arguments

Green with envy

Aw, man. When I was in the Army, I hated the shade of green the uniforms came in -- olive drab, with the emphasis on drab. It didn't matter so much that our fatigues were ugly. They were working clothes, after all, not meant to be exactly dazzling. But the Class A uniforms were for dress-up. Who could feel snazzy and ready for hitting town in something so awful-looking? It took me years to be able to tolerate any kind of green.

But now, the Army is finally ditching the green for blue, and it feels kinda sad, like something unique is being given up on. All the other branches -- even those big, tough Marines -- went for the pretty look in dress uniforms. Not us, by God. You want tough? How could somebody dressed this ugly not be tough? But, apparently, we secretly resented those pretty boys:

The new Class A uniform is simply the existing dress uniform. This uniform, unlike the green Class A's, that were introduced in 1954, is based on the 19th century dress uniform. Most enlisted troops do not have the dress blue uniform, because they have to buy it themselves, and that is optional for most troops. But over the next six years, the old Class A will be phased out completely.

All this is the result of longstanding "uniform envy" soldiers have had for marines. The USMC has always sported the most impressive dress uniform, and young enlisted marines were glad to spend at least $300 to buy themselves one. The marine "Class A" uniform is also green, but a darker green, and the jacket is worn with a belt. This looks much snappier, and many soldiers have suggested something like this for a new army Class A uniform. But many career army types have been campaigning for a spiffier Class A uniform, and something in blue, preferably with a belted jacket. But instead of a new uniform design, the army simply made the current dress blues the new Class As.

Looks pretty good, though, I have to admit.

Posted in: All about me


Larry Morris
Fri, 08/22/2008 - 1:43pm

I had long ago gotten rid of my old "class A" uniform, let's face it, I would never have been able to get back into it again, it's amazing how much those things shrink :-) But I did save all the buttons, medals, patches, etc. as keepsakes. Last year, my oldest daughter and her husband (who is a career military guy) got all those, updated the ones that were too old to use, and built me a shadow box with all the Army trappings. As I looked at it and investigated it for a few minutes, I noticed they had used fabric for the background - and guess what kind - good old fashioned olive drab class-A material. I swear, that stuff will be around forever, ...

Bob G.
Fri, 08/22/2008 - 6:52pm

Not that bad...kinda makes the ground-pounders look like they're in the USAF now...lol!

And Leo, when you're in country, you have to admit that DAZZLING makes a good target.
"Loose those chevrons, they stand out like a sore thumb!
And get some SUBDUED bars, LT...the only brass that should be seen is expended shell casings!"



Fri, 08/22/2008 - 10:14pm

As Larry noted, those Class A Blues did shrink up a great deal over time. I remember entering the Army Finance Corp at Uncle Ben's Rest Home ...Fort Benjamin Harrison as a shiny new ROTC 2nd Lieutenant in, well never mind when. I had to borrow $300 from my grandmother just to buy that damn Class A uniform.

Contrary to Bob G.'s description, there was a ton of brass to shine ...belt buckle, Lt. bars, and that ribbed diamond shapped money box that was the Corps insignia for Finance. The only way to avoid brass insignia and rank was to wear fatigues (now BDUs).

Leo ...if the Army can abandon brown shoes, it can "can" green uni's. The problem, of course, is like any commercial brand change, the outlay to convert millions and millions of uniforms will be enormous ...and totally unnecessary.

Bob G.
Sat, 08/23/2008 - 9:48am

Oh, there was totally TOO MUCH SHINE and too much BRASSO being used, I'll give 'ya that...
I was speaking about being in country and making yourself a "target" with SHINY stuff on....the enemy can spot that brass a MILE away, especially if it's being worn by a "spit and shine 90-day wonder"...lol!
(we've gone DIGITAL...run for the hills!)

BTW: best navy dress oxford shoes...came from POLAND - NO LIE (go figure)...musta been one helluva "contract".