Expecting airmen are about to get a little more utility out of their uniforms within the next year.
The Air Force is updating its maternity airman battle uniform for better to be more fit and functional, using a new stretch material and adding pockets, Air Force spokeswoman Rose Richeson told Air Force Times.
"The uniform design and development team have initiatives underway that will result in form, fit and function improvements," Richeson said in a Dec. 23 email. The update is a result of from feedback from maternity focus groups, questionnaires and fit evaluations, she said.
Richeson could not specify if the changes apply to both the dress uniform and Airman Battle Uniform.
Maternity uniforms vary by mess dress, service dress, and semi-formal dress, according to Air Force Instruction 36-2903. Enlisted members wear the maternity semi-formal dress uniform for social occasions, but can wear the maternity mess dress uniform that officers wear for formal or official occasions. This includes the dark blue jumper over the white maternity blouse, and a tie tab. Jumper medals and ribbons vary for enlisted airmen and officers.
Nametags and the blue maternity blouse — long or short sleeve — are only worn with service dress. Women can also wear a long sleeve blouse and tie tab with their slacks or skirt.
For the Airman Battle Uniform, the maternity ABU coat may be worn if medically necessary, determined by competent medical authorities and approved by the commander, the AFI states. A tan t-shirt — interchangeable with the tan turtleneck — may be worn untucked while wearing the maternity ABU, but must be tucked in otherwise. Belts are not required with the maternity trousers, and tucking the ABU trouser into the boot is optional, but must be evenly gathered enough over the combat boot for a ''bloused'' appearance.
“The prohibition of consideration of the members’ good military character or service record moves the ‘zero-tolerance’ culture forward, omitting opportunities for the ‘good dude’ defense,” said military personnel expert Kate Kuzminski.