When AR 670-1 was published a year ago, it created a lot of controversy. Most controversy focused on tattoos and women’s hairstyles, but there was another change in that air travel in ACUs was no longer authorized. You could wear your Army Service Uniform (our Blues) if you wanted, but who wants to travel in that?! Very uncomfortable and way too much metal for getting through the airport. Still sometimes you had to. Recruiters are famous for having to do that.
My understanding behind the rule was that Army leadership wanted to present a better image to the public the way Marines do. You will never see a Marine in their duty uniform doing anything not on base. They can’t even stop to get milk on the way home without changing out of their duty uniform! If you see Marines in the airport, they always look sharp and dressed in Class A’s or more often Class B’s (someone correct me here if I am using the wrong terms). I certainly can understand the intent.
Just as the Army revisited the tattoo and hairstyles policy and relaxed both a little, they have now seen the light and, as of 18 March, will now allow travel in ACUs. Now this is not some great victory, but I for one am in favor of the change. No one likes to travel in uniform, it is just not comfortable and it is still a hassle to get through security (some of my boots have shanks and some don’t and it is hard for me to remember which). However, there are many times where I am going to visit one of my units (like yesterday) where I am short on time and need to get from the plane and to the unit ASAP. Same with running to catch the plane. It is a real hassle to have to change in the airport restroom.
The photo attached is 1SG Albert Marle, an NCO from the Virginia National Guard who was in an unfortunate incident where the FA refused to hang up his jacket in the closet when he requested. This ultimately led up to US Airways issuing him an apology. You can read the Army Times story here.
Am I now going to use this new rule all the time? No, but it is nice to have the option. And Marines? Stay classy, it’s how you get the best recruits.