Space Force Now Has an Official Uniform

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U.S. Space Force's chief of space operations, Air Force Gen. John W. Raymond.
U.S. Space Force's chief of space operations, Air Force Gen. John W. Raymond, participates in a virtual fireside chat with the Center for a New American Security, the Pentagon, Washington, D.C., July 24, 2020. (DoD/Lisa Ferdinando)

Like Army and Air Force counterparts, the U.S. Space Force members will wear the Operational Camouflage Pattern as the official service duty uniform, officials announced Thursday.

According to a Space Force memo, space operators will have a mandatory OCP wear timeline similar to the Air Force, which is requiring all airmen to make the changeover from the Airman Battle Uniform, known as the ABU, by April 1, 2021.

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"Our uniforms are the first visual cue of our identity as a service," Chief Master Sgt. Roger Towberman, U.S Space Force senior enlisted advisor, said in a statement.

"Adopting the OCP worn in the joint environment reflects our role in the joint warfighting effort, and we incorporated space Force-specific colors and configuration to establish our own independent identity," he said.

According to the guidance, Space Force members need to wear "a minimum configuration consisting of a full-color U.S. flag patch, grade insignia, occupational badge, and name and service tapes with space blue embroidery on three-color OCP background."

Unlike the other services, Space Force personnel use a shade of dark navy blue known as 'space blue' for stitching on their name and service tape.

Officials said that tapes and insignia may be sewn on or velcroed on, but must be consistent in their attachment as to avoid mixing sewn and velcroed elements. That guidance also pertains to name tapes for the back of the patrol caps.

Officers will also wear their rank insignia on the front and follow the same thread configuration as the rest of the uniform; per the memo, the only exception will be for second lieutenants and majors who can wear the Air Force's spice brown color (In the Air Force, the only deviation from an all-spice brown grade patches are for first lieutenant and lieutenant colonel, which are black).

While the Air Force uniforms feature a spice brown flag, the Space Force has a full-color flag patch to be worn on the left sleeve, and "centered at the top of the velcro, and worn unless deployed to a contingency operation that aligns under separate or independent OCP wear guidance," the memo states.

A higher headquarters patch is required to be worn centered below the flag patch on the left. An exception to this patch is one symbolizing a "Space Mission Force combat rotation, operational crew duty in support of United States Space Command (USSPACECOM), or an operational USSPACECOM exercise or wargame/event."

Officials said that spice brown patches will be authorized until space blue patches are available. Assigned unit patches are required "to be worn centered on the velcro patch of the right sleeve," the release said.

Space Force members will not be authorized to wear the Two-Piece Flight Duty Uniform (2PFDU), nor do they need to purchase a fire retardant OCP set, per the memo.

However, should Space Force members find themselves in jobs -- such as operating outside the wire, or assignment that "have occupational safety and health administration (OSHA) requirements" -- they will be authorized to wear "the 100% cotton Fire-Retardant OCP" or a variation of the flight duty uniform in the future as needed.

Over the last year, the newest military branch has debuted its official logo, seal, flag and organization's structure. Pending Space Force decisions include dress uniform updates, Space Force-specific insignia and a rank structure.

Officials are still also deciding what to call its members.

-- Oriana Pawlyk can be reached at oriana.pawlyk@military.com. Follow her on Twitter at @Oriana0214.

Related: Air Force Delays Some OCP Uniform Mandatory Wear Dates

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