Airmen and guardians will get to shake up their workday wardrobe with ballcaps and coveralls as the Air Force revises its uniform standards this summer.
Starting immediately, officers and enlisted troops can don “coyote brown” camouflage baseball caps they already own, as long as they are made entirely of Operational Camouflage Pattern fabric or in OCP material with a brown mesh back, the service said Monday.
That will remain the case for about a year, when the Air Force expects to begin offering its own ballcaps through the exchange. Those newly procured hats will become the only authorized baseball caps the service members can wear.
Though casual, it’s not a chance to flaunt a favorite team or a punchy design. For enlisted airmen, the only authorized add-ons are a “spice brown” name tape, centered on the back of the caps with Velcro or thread.
Officers can pin, sew or Velcro their rank insignia so it is centered on the front of the hat, half an inch above the bill. Most officers can wear spice brown insignia; first lieutenants and lieutenant colonels must wear black ranks. Chaplains can sew on their job’s badge in the same spot as well.
“Enlisted members will not wear rank insignia or a subdued flag on the cap,” the Air Force said. “Only a name tape on the back of the cap is authorized. The front of the cap must not have any Velcro or other items.”
Women can pull their bun or newly authorized ponytail through the back of the ballcap instead of wearing their hair lower on their head.
Below the neck, the Air Force wants to allow enlisted airmen and guardians across 11 career fields to wear maintenance coveralls every day.
Airmen in the fields of aerospace maintenance, fuels, logistics planning, missile and space systems maintenance, precision measurement, material management, transportation and vehicle maintenance, munitions and weapons, civil engineering, cyberspace support and aircrew flight equipment qualify for the change.
Sage green coveralls — separate from the beige version used in certain parts of the service — can become part of their daily wardrobe starting in August, when the Air Force expects to update the relevant regulation. Those uniforms will be funded by each unit, the Air Force said.
Troops can wear their coveralls with a name, service tape and rank, plus a patch signifying their higher headquarters on their left sleeve, and a sepia-toned American flag and organizational patch on the right sleeve.
“The coyote brown T-shirt, OCP patrol or tactical cap, coyote brown or green socks and coyote brown boots are worn with the uniform,” the Air Force said. Coveralls “will not be utilized for office work environments, non-industrial or non-labor tasking, but is authorized for wear when transiting from home to duty location and all locations on installations.
Airmen and guardians can wear local versions of coveralls on the flight line and in work centers as well, the service added.
“The [maintenance duty uniform] idea was presented to the 101st uniform board in November 2020 as a way to help increase readiness and timeliness from the work center to the flight line,” Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force JoAnne Bass said in a release Monday. “We are hoping this change will instill a sense of culture and inclusivity for our maintainers who work to keep the mission going 24/7.”
This week’s updates are the latest in a slew of changes to dress and grooming standards issued in recent months to let airmen and guardians do their jobs more comfortably. The Space Force will abide by the Air Force’s uniform rules until it decides whether to institute its own.
Bass hinted at an upcoming uniform announcement on Facebook earlier this month.
“Changes are coming!” she said in a June 3 post. “The folks at the Air Force Lifecycle Management Uniform Office are getting after some of the fixes and updates we need to get our airmen uniforms that make sense.”
A video accompanying the post sweeps down a lineup of Air Force uniforms, including maternity wear, formalwear, workout clothing and others.
When asked what the uniform office had in the works, Air Force spokesperson Brian Brackens told Air Force Times on June 4 that “any potential updates that have not been announced are not ready for prime time.”
Rachel Cohen is the editor of Air Force Times. She joined the publication as its senior reporter in March 2021. Her work has appeared in the Washington Post, the Frederick News-Post (Md.), Air and Space Forces Magazine, Inside Defense, Inside Health Policy and elsewhere.