Cold weather headbands and larger 'morale t-shirt' logos now allowed after latest US Air Force uniform changes
The US Air Force has unveiled revised regulations governing dress and appearance, with the latest changes permitting headbands in cold weather, allowing different coloured backpacks and relaxing saluting decorum.
There is no mention of beards, which remain the most requested policy change, with a top US military chief recently saying they do not "have anything to do with kicking the enemy's ass".
The service's new uniform rules, which lay out what personnel can and cannot wear while on the job and working out, will start on 1 April 2023.
The new guidance also includes changes to 'Friday morale shirts' and allows morale patches on certain uniforms. A morale patch is a decorative military badge adorned with imagery and expressions.
It also relaxes the rules on when saluting is not required, with a 'no hat, no salute' policy in child development centres, and when someone is carrying a child.
According to Tuesday's announcement, the Air Force Uniform Board now allows, in full:
- Headbands in cold weather – this is in addition to scarves, earmuffs, watch cap and gloves.
- Friday morale shirts with logos on the front and back – these must still be Coyote Brown but larger logos up to five inches in diameter are now permitted.
- 'No hat, no salute zone' policy for Child Development Centres (CDCs) – in addition, salutes are not required when a person is carrying children.
- Four badges on the Operational Camouflage Pattern (OCP) uniform above the USAF tape – this is an increase from the two badges previously authorised.
- Any size logo on gym bags – only small logos were allowed previously.
- Olive drab green as an authorised backpack colour – this is in addition to the already permitted black, brown, grey and dark blue colours.
- Additional headgear for the Flight Duty Uniform (FDU) – an Operational Camouflage Pattern patrol cap or tactical cap can be worn while in the FDU.
- A 'small logo' on purses and handbags – but it must not exceed one inch in diameter.
- Commercially bought cold-weather parkas – coats must be OCP pattern or Coyote Brown and have name tapes, service tape, rank and patches worn in the same authorised configuration.
- 'Heritage-like' morale patches – can now be worn on the FDU.
Earlier this month, the US Air Force announced that tattoos on the neck and hands will no longer be banned, with the hope that loosening the rules on the policy will relieve the current recruitment crisis.
An updated version of the Services' Dress and Personal Appearance Guidelines now allows a tattoo up to an inch in length on each hand and on the back of the neck.