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Following Trial in Texas, Rolled Sleeves Could Come to Fort Bragg

The Army could make way for soldiers to roll up their sleeves, thanks to an undaunted specialist who asked a four-star general for the change.

Soldiers at Fort Hood, Texas, have been given special permission to roll up their sleeves by Gen. Mark Milley, chief of staff of the Army, and Sgt. Maj. Daniel Daily, sergeant major of the Army. The rolled sleeves are part of a 10-day trial to gauge feasibility across the Army.

But soldiers at Fort Bragg shouldn't start rolling their sleeves just yet.

The exemption to the Army's uniform policy applies only to soldiers at Fort Hood, only for the Army Combat Uniform or Operational Camouflage Pattern, only for garrison and only until Sunday. Rolled sleeves must have commander approval, according to the Army Chief of Staff's Office.

The decision was announced during a re-enlistment ceremony at Fort Hood on June 16.

Following the ceremony, Spc. Cortne Mitchell of 1st Cavalry Division's 15th Brigade Support Battalion told Milley it was hot and asked if soldiers could roll up their sleeves to stay cool.

In a video clip posted to the division's Twitter page, Mitchell is standing between Milley and Dailey with his sleeves rolled above his elbows.

"It's an experiment," Milley said in the video.

The video sparked discussion on Twitter -- some praising the change as long overdue, some saying it should only be part of the Marine Corps uniform and some poking fun at expected gym rushes as soldiers bulk up their arms.

This week, pictures of Milley rolling the sleeves on Dailey's uniform appeared on the Twitter page for the Army's chief of public affairs. Milley and Dailey were at a function at West Point in New York when they snapped the pictures.

Whatever the opinions are, Dailey said the trial run at Fort Hood is evidence that senior leaders listen to soldiers.

"Soldiers have been asking me about rolling sleeves since I became the sergeant major of the Army," he said. "We'll take the feedback from Fort Hood and determine the next step."

Maj. John Miller, a spokesman for the 1st Cavalry Division at Fort Hood, was among the soldiers trying out the rolled sleeves this week. Even with the division's large patch, he said he had no issues rolling his sleeves.

About halfway through the trial period, Miller said the reaction was mellow.

"There are definitely some rolling their sleeves, but I'm not seeing as great of participation as I would have expected," he said.

If the Army rules to permit rolled sleeves, it most likely will include a stipulation that gives commanders authority to decide appropriate times and places for them. For example, soldiers may not be allowed to roll sleeves in the field during training, according to the Army.

Any changes made to the uniform policy will have to be approved by the Army's uniform board after reviewing input from trials, including soldiers at Fort Hood.

Lt. Col. Jerry Pionk, spokesman for the G-1, the agency that develops uniform policy, said the results at Fort Hood could impact the rest of the Army.

"Feedback from soldiers resulted in us wanting to do a trial over the next 10 days to see the feasibility of updating (the Army's uniform policy) and incorporating it into the future for the force to give commanders flexibility in wear based upon their unit's mission," Pionk said.

The last time the rolled sleeves were approved in the Army was with the Battle Dress Uniforms, which were phased out in 2005, according to the Army.

Those sleeves were rolled in a way that ensured the camouflage pattern remained on the outside. For the Army's new uniforms, however, Milley said sleeves should be rolled the way members of the Marine Corps roll their sleeves -- with the inside facing out.

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