The sergeant major of the Army would like to make the “Ike jacket” part of the service’s dress uniform.
Sergeant Major of the Army Daniel A. Dailey “has suggested an optional ‘Eisenhower jacket’ to be added as a more appropriate indoor alternative to the black windbreaker jacket,” according to a recent Army press release.
Named after Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower, the short-waisted, slim-fitting jacket was standard issue in 1944.
The Army adopted the blue Army Service Uniform, or ASU, to replace the green Class A dress uniform in 2006. Adapted from the formal Dress Blues, the dark blue jacket and light blue pants have been a part of Army history since the Revolutionary War.
The proposed change to the ASU for all ranks is part of an online survey to gather soldier-feedback about several other proposed uniforms changes.
Dailey and Army Chief of Staff Gen. Ray Odierno authorized the survey to give soldiers a chance to weigh in on Army uniform and wear policy.
“The soldiers are the ones who actually wear these uniforms. The senior leaders like to be informed by as many soldiers in the field as possible [on uniform changes,]” Sgt. Maj. James H. Thomson of the Institute for Noncommissioned Officer Professional Development, in the release.
The survey will also ask soldiers’ opinions on a plan to make a gender-neutral version of the Army service cap. Today, the male service cap features a wide bill, while its female counterpart has a raised brim on either side.
In addition to dress uniform items, the survey asks soldiers about gender-specific headgear for drill sergeants. Since 1972, female drill sergeant campaign hats have featured a raised brim and, as of 1983, a deeper green color. The survey, designed to crosscut a large section of soldiers, will ask if there should be a single campaign hat for both male and female drill sergeants.
BLACK PT SOCKS
Another proposed uniform change involves allowing soldiers to wear black socks with the physical training, or PT, uniform. The suggestion came up at several town hall meetings Dailey conducted, and is now being sent out across various commands for evaluation, the release states.
“We’re hearing from the force, and we want to hear a little bit more,” Thompson said.
It’s too early to tell what these changes are likely to cost, “but the fiscal impact on both the individual soldier and the Army will be considered before any decisions are made,” according to the release.
Soldiers, who are invited to participate in the survey, will get an email invitation with instructions on how to log in to the online questionnaire, according to the release.
The uniform survey is a joint effort between U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command and the Army Research Institute. It will be conducted in the coming weeks with results expected in early August 2015.
“The one thing about soldiers is that they all have their opinions and like to share them when it comes to the uniforms,” Thompson said.
— Matthew Cox can be reached at email@example.com