I just ran across an Air Force article that mentioned a series of "town hall" style meetings with senior NCOs, officers and flight line Airmen to discuss issues surrounding the Air Force's series of uniforms.
"Air Force leaders want to know the uniform needs of our Airmen," said Maj. Eric Habersberger, AFUO deputy chief. "This is the best way to find out. We go out to our Airmen performing the mission to learn about their needs and what we can do to help."Predicably, the Air Force story says the meetings were "a huge success" without providing any evidence.
The AFUO conducted seven different sessions. At Hill AFB, four sessions were conducted with enlisted and three with officers. And, seven at Maxwell-Gunter, five with enlisted and two with officers. Each uniform item was discussed, from the Airmen Battle Uniform to the service dress, with several Airmen bringing in uniform items to better illustrate their concerns.
But I bet I know one gripe brought up at these town halls: whose idea was it to throw Airmen -- especially ones working in ground-pounder units at JTACs and TAC-Ps -- in tiger striped camo patterned in the same colors as the manifestly unpopular UCP?
It's interesting that the Air Force jumped on the "universal" camo pattern/color bandwagon right after the Army did and probably based some of its justification for doing so on the relative success of the UCP in Iraq (why that 'success' occurred is a matter of debate). But now it seems the Airmen on the ground aren't too keen on wearing their Airman Battle Uniform when the bullets are flying. Our TAC-P buddies in the picture up top would undoubtedly rather be garbed in something like the good Capt. Brooks below.
Now, I talked to a source who has NOTHING to do with the decisionmaking on the Army's uniform, but is well tapped into the issue from a Capitol Hill and culture standpoint and he thinks the service will cave and go all MultiCam. I have my doubts, but if that happened, how do you think the Air Force would feel if it had just spend all this time, money and effort to field a new uniform in the same colors as the UCP to have the service that developed it kick it to the curb.
I'd like to sit in on that uniform feedback meeting...
COMING UP: Chinese digicam and Army MultiCam issue gouge...