For months now, questions have swirled about how the new Space Force will distinguish itself as the sixth branch of the military. There are so many things to sort out: a training base, an education pipeline, rank structure, uniforms, a motto, a song and more.
With a tweet on Friday, the service broke some of its first personnel news, unveiling its working uniform. Surprise! It’s the same occupational camouflage pattern the Army debuted several years ago and the Air Force began sporting more recently. But this time, with dark blue name tapes, where the Army uses black and the Air Force picked out “spice brown.”
The internet, naturally, responded with questions of why camo would be necessary in space.
“Space Force members control/protect assets in space but are not in space,” the account tweeted on Tuesday morning.
The mini-controversy smacked of the Navy’s foray into its own pattern years ago ― affectionately known as “aquaflage” or “blueberries” ― a digital blue camouflage that might have blended in with the ocean, but certainly not the gray ships sailors are assigned to.
And in any case, sailors wear dark blue coveralls underway. The Navy has since abandoned it in favor of a more practical brown/green digital pattern, first worn by expeditionary sailors and later adopted by all.
In the Space Force’s case, of course, choosing OCP is a time and money saver. Two services already use it, so there was no extra cost associated, other than ordering a new color of thread for name tapes.
The service member depicted in the photo is Gen. Jay Raymond, formerly the head of Air Force Space Command and now the first airman assigned to the Space Force.
For now, the branch is made up entirely of Air Force personnel, but the plan, according to officials, is to start bringing in members of other services at first, before fully enlisting and commissioning new members directly into the Space Force.
“It’s going to be really important that we get this right,” Raymond told reporters on Dec. 20, the day the service officially stood up. “A uniform, a patch, a song. ... There’s a lot of work going on toward that end. It’s going to take a long time to get to that point, but that’s not something we’re going to roll out on day one.”
Meghann Myers is the Pentagon bureau chief at Military Times. She covers operations, policy, personnel, leadership and other issues affecting service members.