I had a couple of posts two years ago about traveling in uniform and whether you did that or not. I will say that I did not if there was time to prepare, but did wear my ACUs if I had to rush to catch the plane or knew I was going to be in a rush to get someplace as soon as I landed.
With the publishing of AR 670-1 last April, this all changed. OK, OK, I know everyone was more upset about tattoos and women’s hairstyles, but this is not a blog about either of those things. The significant change for our blog readers was on wearing the uniform during travel. Here is the new language about traveling in uniform:
c. Personnel on official travel and traveling by commercial travel means will wear the service uniform or appropriate civilian attire. Soldiers may wear the combat uniform on commercial flights only when deploying/redeploying or on rest and recuperation leave to and from the combat theater. However, Commanders may authorize service or utility uniforms for Soldiers when traveling by commercial travel for emergency leave or casualty assistance duties.
OK, since I don’t want to travel in my service uniform (Class A/B’s), I guess that I will just have to find the time to change before boarding. I agree that it is a PITA, but they don’t let me make policy, so I will need to not only follow it, but also remind others to do so as well. When my Command sergeant Major and I have traveled in the last few months, we have found that a lot of Soldiers have not gotten the word about this change. It is pretty easy to spot the Soldiers who are legitimately on R&R or Emergency Leave by the ISAF patch or something else. Still a lot of Soldiers both Active and Reserve Component are still found in the airport.
Not sure of the other Services and their uniform policy, but I have to believe that it is similar to the Army’s as I rarely see any of their members in duty uniform. What do you think about the new policy and has it affected you?
Marines almost never wear our uniforms on planes. Obviously, unlike the army and air force, we aren’t allowed to wear our MARPATs off base, so that pretty much covers that issue. The only time you ever see Marines in uniform on a flight is when they are on their way back from boot camp in their Alphas. That’s standard.
I don’t think of it as a new policy; it is just a reversion to the old pre-9/11 policy.
@ Kim – Hadn’t thought about it, but you’re absolutely right!
I’ve changed surreptiously on more than one occasion in the parking lot so as to avoid having to lug my boots around–thank heavens I always park in cheap parking away from traffic! I think this is a necessary (and good) change. Don’t get me wrong, military service is just as important as it ever was, but everytime I walk through a major airport, I’m concerned that so many troops in utility uniforms somehow, and I’m not sure how, takes something away (even a little bit) from the special role the military plays in American society. I hope the other services mirror the Army on this one!