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Schwartz orders airmen in blue on Mondays

Sep. 5, 2008 - 07:35PM   |   Last Updated: Sep. 5, 2008 - 07:35PM  |  
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Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Norton Schwartz is requiring most airmen to wear their blue uniforms every Monday beginning Sept. 8, according to a Sept. 4 memo he sent to all service members.

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Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Norton Schwartz is requiring most airmen to wear their blue uniforms every Monday beginning Sept. 8, according to a Sept. 4 memo he sent to all service members.

Airmen had been allowed and later required to wear their airman battle uniforms, battle dress uniforms or flight suits to the office.

The policy change came out of an Aug. 27 leadership summit convened by Schwartz and acting Secretary Michael Donley at Bolling Air Force Base in Washington, D.C.

"Post-9/11, we've moved away from our blue uniforms almost altogether and have transformed into an Air Force that wears our utility uniform on a daily basis," Schwartz said in the memo. "During our recent 4-star summit, we had several discussions concerning our uniforms ... [and] we all agreed that part of our image, culture and professionalism is instilled in our blues."

The policy will not apply to all airmen. For some career fields presumably in messy jobs such as maintenance and for personnel who often work outdoors, such as security forces wearing blues won't make sense. Pilots will wear their blues on Mondays when they are not flying.

The decisions on who will continue to wear ABUs and BDUs on Mondays will be left up to base commanders.

The current practice of airmen wearing ABUs and BDUs almost all the time originated under Gen. John Jumper, the chief of staff at the time of the 2001 terrorist attacks. Then, in summer 2003, Jumper directed that airmen begin to return to blues as the uniform of the day. But Gen. T. Michael Moseley reversed that decision when he became chief of staff in late 2005, arguing that the nation was still at war and that airmen should dress like it.

He said at the time that his decision was closely related to his effort to instill a "war-fighting ethos" in Air Force culture, one of his main priorities as chief.

To read more about the reasons behind the policy change, pick up a copy of Air Force Times' Sept, 15 issue, on newsstands beginning Monday.

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