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The uniforms of the United States Army distinguish soldiers from other service members. U.S. Army uniform designs have historically been influenced by British and French military traditions, as well as contemporary U.S. civilian fashion trends. The two primary uniforms of the modern U.S. Army are the Army Combat Uniform, used in operational environments, and the Army Green Service Uniform worn during everyday professional wear and during formal and ceremonial occasions that do not warrant the wear of the more formal blue service uniform.
The design of early army uniforms was influenced by both British and French traditions. One of the first Army-wide regulations, adopted in 1789, prescribed blue coats with colored facings to identify a unit's region of origin: New England units wore white facings, southern units wore blue facings, and units from Mid-Atlantic states wore red facings. Bandsmen wore red uniforms to make them more easily identifiable to commanders on the field of battle. Pantaloons were originally white, following British uniforms, but were changed to gray in 1821 and sky blue in 1832. Infantry wore tricorne hats, with different cover prescribed for cavalry and specialist troops depending on function.
Beginning in the 1850s, U.S. military leadership began to place an increased emphasis on French army tactics and styles, influenced, in part, by the rise of Napoleon III. The most extreme examples showing the adoption of French military fashion was in the use of zouave uniforms by some U.S. Army infantry regiments, and the purchase of 10,000 chasseurs à pied uniforms to outfit the Excelsior Brigade. However, more subtle styling - including frock coats, kepi hats, and collar ornaments - were more common during and after the American Civil War.
The U.S. Army uniforms used during World War II saw a divergence between field and garrison service elements, the latter necessitated by the suspension of the blue dress uniform again, leading to them becoming separate classes of uniforms by the end of the war. These uniforms continued in use into the Korean War.
Beginning in 2010, the blue Army Service Uniform (ASU), previously used as a formal dress uniform, displaced the green Class A uniform as the daily wear service uniform. This move proved unpopular, and in 2018 a new Army Green Service Uniform modeled after World War II-era officers garrison uniforms was announced. By 2028 all soldiers will be wearing the green ASU as office attire. The blue uniform will remain the ceremonial and formal dress uniform.
From 2010 to 2020, a blue uniform, known as the Army Blue Service Uniform, was used as the daily wear service uniform. The Army has a tradition of blue uniforms dating to the Revolutionary War, and the blue uniform returns to its previous position as a formal dress and ceremonial uniform. It had replaced in daily wear the previous green service uniform used by all officers and enlisted personnel introduced in 1956.
The U.S. Army Band \"Pershing's Own\", the U.S. Army Field Band, and the U.S. Army Herald Trumpets wear a parade uniform designed by the U.S. Army Institute of Heraldry and introduced in 1969 for the inauguration of Richard Nixon. The uniform blouse has a choker-style collar, instead of the open collar used on the Army Service Uniform, and eight buttons, representing the eight notes of the musical scale. Decorative gold braid adorns the cuffs and standard army cover is replaced by a crimson peaked hat, while drum majors wear a bearskin helmet. A summer white blouse is also available. In the 1950s \"Pershing's Own\" briefly wore a yellow and black uniform known as \"the Lion Tamer\" due to its resemblance to a circus costume. Before World War II, the band's uniform was a grey variation of the standard dress blue uniform.
Cadets enrolled at the United States Military Academy at West Point wear standard Army uniforms, including the Army Combat Uniform and the Army Physical Fitness Uniform, but also use several unique uniforms for drills and daily wear in lieu of the Army Service Uniform. Since 1816, West Point cadet uniforms have been styled in cadet grey which continues to be the primary color used in academy dress.
The U.S. Army tartan, designed by Strathmore Woollen Company, is black, khaki, blue, gold, and two shades of green. The United States Army Psychological Operations Regiment has a separate tartan of green, black, red, gray and white. However, there are currently no U.S. Army units that use Highland dress and the wearing of the kilt with U.S. Army uniforms is not permitted by Army regulations. Among armies in the five UKUSA Agreement nations, only the United States and New Zealand do not actively field Scottish units, though both nations have done so in the past.
Nonetheless, in keeping with U.S. Army uniform regulations that permit cadet commands at the U.S. Military Academy and the senior military colleges to introduce institution-specific uniforms, members of the bagpipe bands at the United States Military Academy, The Citadel, Norwich University, the Virginia Military Institute, and the Virginia Tech Corps of Cadets wear a Highland uniform while performing as part of their respective ensembles. These uniforms are patterned on collegiate tartans instead of the U.S. Army tartan. The Oregon Civil Defense Force (OSDF) also fields a pipe band that wears a modified Highland uniform, including kilt and sporran, authorized by the Oregon Military Department.
Starting May 1, 2021, DOD and Coast Guard appropriated fund and nonappropriated fund civilian employees are authorized to shop at military exchange stores in the United States and the U.S. territories and possessions. Online exchange access will also be available for active and retired DOD and Coast Guard appropriated fund and nonappropriated fund civilian employees by mid-October. This shopping access does not include the purchase of military uniforms, tobacco products or alcohol.
Extra Clothing Allowance are additional to the other two and do not affect them. These allowances are for situations in which a member may need additional uniforms or is required to have civilian clothing to perform his/her duties.
The military services made numerous uniform changes over the past 10 years and the changed uniform items were generally more expensive. GAO found that Navy and Marine Corps female enlisted service members and officers were most affected by uniform changes. In addition, GAO found that uniform changes could result in higher costs for officers who generally pay out-of-pocket for uniform costs. While the services have the authority to determine what uniforms are required for enlisted service members and officers, uniform changes have the potential to drive out-of-pocket costs for both. With equity as an underlying principle for compensation, a review of the services' uniform changes and resulting costs could help minimize out-of-pocket cost differences across the department and between genders.
The total value of military uniform items for a newly enlisted service member ranges from about $1,600 to $2,400, depending on the military service. Over the course of their careers, service members must replace and maintain their uniforms.
The conference report accompanying the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2020 included a provision for GAO to study service members' out-of-pocket costs for uniforms. Among other objectives, this report 1) assesses the extent to which differences exist in out-of-pocket costs for enlisted service member uniforms, by military service and by gender; and 2) examines the extent to which the military services have changed uniforms over the past 10 years, and how the costs of these changes have varied by service, enlisted or officer status, and gender. GAO reviewed DOD policies and service data on uniform allowances, enlisted and officer required uniform items and their costs, and changes made to uniforms since 2010. GAO also interviewed relevant DOD officials and service organization representatives.
Initial Clothing Allowances are provided to enlisted members upon initial enlistment or upon other special qualification for entitlement to a prescribed outfitting of uniforms. The initial issue may be an in-kind issue or a combination of in kind issue and cash payment.
Loretta Walsh was 20 years old when she joined the Navy, put on a modified men\\u2019s uniform and became the first woman to officially enlist in the United States Armed Forces. It was early 1917, and by the time the United States entered World War I that April, there would be 200 women in the military. \\n\\n\\n\\nWalsh and the thousands of women who followed often served in uniforms designed for men or for body types not their own. At the time, women were only allowed to serve in noncombat roles, typically as clerical workers, telephone and radio operators, and translators. More than a century has passed, and with that has come change: Women were granted the right to serve as full members of the military with the 1948 passage of the Women\\u2019s Armed Services Integration Act. And nearly 70 years after that, in 2015, the military opened all combat roles to women. Women now account for the military\\u2019s largest-growing demographic, and military uniforms are slowly changing to meet the needs of the modern-day Armed Forces. \\n\\n\\n\\nIn the last decade, there has been a wave of changes to women service members\\u2019 uniforms \\u2014 which many experts and historians agree reflects broader efforts to improve gender equity in the military. The Air Force launched a project to develop maternity flight suits after a study found nearly 400 pregnant airmen had to wear larger flight suits during pregnancy, a situation that creates safety issues. The Navy measured hundreds of sailors this year as part of an ongoing effort to create better uniforms tailored to women. Most recently, the DEVCOM Soldier Center \\u2014 the Army\\u2