Army privates at Fort Sill, Oklahoma are the lucky first trainees to receive the service's new World War II-style dress uniform.
This month, about 200 soldiers going through Basic Combat Training in the 434th Field Artillery Brigade at Sill were issued a full Army Green Service Uniform, a modern version of the iconic uniform worn by Gen. Dwight Eisenhower, supreme allied commander in World War II Europe.
"We're the first Army training base to get the Army Green Service Uniform, which is pretty neat for obviously these soldiers in training and obviously for the leadership," Command Sgt. Major Donald Harding, the senior enlisted leader of the 434th, said an Army news release.
Army recruiters and drill sergeants were the first to begin receiving the new AGSU because the two groups are considered the face of the Army, officials have said. Soldiers attending the Army's Recruiting and Retention College at Fort Knox, Kentucky, started to receive their Army Greens in July in an effort to ensure all recruiters are issued the uniform by early 2021.
The Army had originally planned to begin issuing the uniforms at entry-level training locations before Oct. 1, but COVID-19 slowed production resulting in a delayed rollout process.
At Sill, starting Oct. 14, trainees from 1st Battalion, 79th Field Artillery were issued the AGSU jacket, pants, dress shirt, brown oxfords, matching socks, their rank, two T-shirts -- one long-sleeved and the other short -- ties, gloves, and the garrison cap.
While developing the new uniform, a special, all-female panel decided to have pants as the default option instead of the traditional skirt that was issued in the past.
Uniform officials at Sill sized each soldier so the new uniforms can be tailored for the proper fit, Harding said, adding that each trainee will get instructions on how to take care of their uniform since it will be the only one issued to them.
Harding doesn't own the new AGSU yet, but said he expects to purchase a set along with the rest of the unit's leadership.
Army senior leaders approved the new uniform for everyday wear in late 2018 as a replacement for the blue Army Service Uniform (ASU) after deciding that it is often too formal for everyday business use.
Soldiers are not required to own the AGSU until Oct. 1, 2027, an extended phase-in period intended to give enlisted soldiers more time to save up their annual clothing allowance to buy the new uniform.
The Army and Air Force Exchange Service, however, is moving ahead with plans to supply the new uniform through a wave-based rollout approach. The majority of AAFES locations within the U.S. are expected to have the new uniform by December.
Stores in Alaska, Europe, Japan, and South Korea, along with National Guard and Reserve military clothing locations, should have a supply of uniforms by February 2021.
-- Matthew Cox can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.