***image1***The Air Force’s first physical training uniform will hit the street later this year, and a Web site for Airmen to provide feedback on the proposed utility uniform will be online Thursday.
Feedback on the proposed utility uniform has been excellent so far, but an Internet survey will give all Airmen a chance to voice their opinion, said Senior Master Sgt. Jacqueline Dean of the Air Force Uniform Board.
Sergeant Dean said people who have worn or actually seen the uniform have given high marks for its permanent press feature and how well it fits. The uniform’s color scheme, initially met with skepticism, is more accepted now.
“Color continues to be a big concern of Airmen,” she said.
Sergeant Dean said Air Force military clothing sales stores will begin displaying the utility uniforms in July, around the same date the new Internet survey goes online.
“We’re encouraging people to not give us their feedback until they’ve had the opportunity to see the uniform,” Sergeant Dean said. “Go ahead and look at the pictures, but don’t answer the survey until (you’ve) seen the uniform up close.
“If I could (use) one statement, it’s ‘Oh, it looks so much better in person,’” she said.
Besides color and style, Airmen will notice the new uniform features an eight-point hat, no squadron or major command patches and no-shine suede boots. If approved, the utility uniform will likely have a five-year phase-in period, Sergeant Dean said.
The new Physical Training uniform, however, has already been approved by Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. John P. Jumper and will soon be in active service.
“We did a wear and fit test from January through March,” Sergeant Dean said. “We took all the feedback, and we now have established military specifications. They’ve gone out to manufacturers and should be in full production by the end of June.”
The PT uniform ensemble consists of dark blue running shorts, a gray T-shirt and a dark blue running suit — all with reflective safety markings.
Sergeant Dean said the goal was to have enough PT uniforms by Oct. 1 to supply Airmen scheduled for immediate deployment. After that requirement is met, the uniforms will be available for purchase through Army and Air Force Exchange Service.
The PT uniform will have a two- to three-year phase-in period. Sergeant Dean said the running suit costs about $100, and the shorts and shirt about $25. Officials have not yet determined if Airmen will receive a lump sum allotment in October, an increase in their annual clothing allowance or a voucher to pay for the initial requirement.
Although personal preference is the rule for PT shoes, Sergeant Dean said they must be conservative in design and color. Saluting will not be required while wearing the PT uniform, and jewelry wear will be the same as with other uniforms, so long as safety is taken into consideration.
Only active-duty, Air National Guard and Air Force Reserve Airmen will be authorized to purchase the PT uniforms from AAFES until adequate supplies are available.