Air Force approves wave of uniform changes — including shorts for maintainers

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The Air Force has authorized a slew of new uniform changes — including allowing maintainers to wear shorts during warm weather across the entire force.

“These options came directly from feedback from the field through the virtual uniform board and feedback from commands in the field,” Lt. Gen. Brian Kelly, Air Force deputy chief of staff for manpower, personnel, and services, said in an Air Force news release.

“We appreciated the feedback we received from airmen and the opportunity to hear their concerns and ideas,” Kelly said. “Not all of the ideas fit within our standards or culture, but many do and provided us an opportunity to provide options for our airmen.”

According to modifications coming to Air Force Instruction 36-2903, commanders of maintainers have the authority to allow them to wear dark navy blue shorts instead of the Airman Battle Uniform or Operational Camouflage Pattern trousers when temperatures are expected to meet or exceed 80 degrees Fahrenheit.

These shorts may be worn in areas such as the flight line, hangars and dock areas where the temperature cannot be controlled, the service said. The shorts would be paired with a coyote brown T-shirt and uniform green or coyote brown socks with uniform boots.

Several Air Force installations, including Nellis Air Force Base in Nevada, have paved the way on this issue, and have previously allowed their maintainers to wear shorts.

Across the entire Air Force and Space Force, airmen and guardians will be allowed to wear duty identifier patches that are no more than five letters and fall within the spice brown color scheme. Socks that are solid black, white, navy blue, gray, desert sand, tan, Defense Logistics Agency‐issued green or coyote brown and have only small trademark logos are also permitted with physical training gear.

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Additionally, the Air Force has given the green light for eyeglasses and sunglasses with frames that are black, brown, white, navy blue, gray or transparent material, or gold or silver wire.

Likewise, airmen and guardians are allowed to carry messenger and lunch bags — so long as they are black, brown, gray or navy blue and do not feature designs outside of the ABU and OCP patterns. And finally, the fleece cap and/or gloves may be worn without an outer garment.

The changes are slated to take effect on March 15.

Separately, the Air Force announced March 2 that it had signed off on new designs for an Air Force Physical Training Gear uniform. The designs for the PT jacket, T-shirt, shorts and pants will become available to airmen in 2022.

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