When it comes to Army fitness, black socks are the new black.
Nearly 70 percent of soldiers who participated in an Army uniform survey said the service should authorize males and females to wear black socks in lieu of white socks with the Army Physical Fitness Uniform.
The proposed change to the APFU for all ranks is part of an online survey the Army sent out to gather soldier-feedback about a handful of other proposed uniforms changes ranging from the Army Service Uniform (ASU) to drill sergeant headgear.
The Army sent the survey to 12,183 soldiers and received more than 12,000 responses.
The current uniform policy authorized soldiers to wear calf-length or ankle-length, plain white socks with the APFU.
Of the 12,050 responses, 8,032 soldiers or 66.7 percent said soldiers should be allowed to wear black PT socks. A total of 4,018 soldiers or 33.3 percent said no to black.
Another significant proposed change involves a proposal from Sergeant Major of the Army Daniel A. Dailey to allow soldiers to wear an optional "Eisenhower Jacket" with the ASU. Named after Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower, the short-waisted, slim-fitting jacket was standard issue in 1944.
The survey asked whether service should adopt the wind-proof Eisenhower Jacket as an optional wear item with the ASU for males and females in addition to the current black windbreaker.
Of the 12,044 who responded, 7,560 soldiers, or 62.8 percent, said yes and 4,483 soldiers, or 37.2 percent, said no.
The Army adopted the blue Army Service Uniform to replace the green Class A dress uniform in 2006. Adapted from the formal Dress Blues, the dark blue jacket and light blue pants have been a part of Army history since the Revolutionary War.
Two of the survey results show that service members think it’s time to do away with female-specific headgear.
- Should the Army go to a single-style headgear for all drill sergeants using the "campaign hat" (currently worn by males) for both males and female drill sergeants?
Of the 12,047 who responded, 7,547 soldiers, or 62.6 percent, said yes and 4,500, or 37.4 percent, said no.
- Should the Army go to a single style service cap for all soldiers, using the "bus driver hat" (currently worn by males) for both male and female soldiers?
Of the 12,028 who responded, 8,021, or 66.7 percent, said yes and 4,007, or 33.3 percent, said no.
- The final question on the survey asked if the blue service cap should be the required headgear for senior noncommissioned officers (sergeant first class and above) in lieu of the beret when wearing the ASU.
Of the 12,079 who responded, 6,743, or 55.8 percent, said yes and 5536, or 44.5 percent, said no.
The uniform survey is a joint effort between U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command and the Army Research Institute.
-- Matthew Cox can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org