FRANKFURT, West Germany -- Take those roller skates off, soldier, you're out of uniform.
U.S. Army and Air Force officials said Tuesday on-base roller-skating in uniform was banned because roller skates are not 'authorized footwear.'
Military spokesmen said the roller skate craze was not yet widespread on American bases in West Germany. But the armed forces apparently want to stop the practice, seen as incompatible with the desired GI image.
An officer equated the use of roller skates in uniform to wearing a red necktie with regulation garb.
The ban was handed down in a message to commanders from the Air Force Manpower and Personnel Center at Randolph Air Force Base, Texas.
'Air Force regulation 35-10, 'dress and appearance of air force personnel,' prescribes the proper footwear for each Air Force uniform combination,' the official message said.
'Though not expressly prohibited in AFR 35-10, roller skates are not authorized footwear with the uniform. Moreover, the use of roller skates while in uniform is not compatible with the desired Air Force image.'
A spokesman at U.S. Army headquarters in West Germany was just as adamant.
'Army regulations don't mention ice skates, skis or roller skates,' the spokesman said. 'Roller skates are not part of any authorized Army uniform.'
In the Tuesday edition of Stars and Stripes, the unofficial GI newspaper, an airman who used to skate across the sprawling Ramstein airbase in a pair of yellow-striped blue disco rollers complained that joggers got away with running in haphazard combinations of uniform and running shoes.
'Just look around this base any morning, at lunchtime and after work,' he said. 'You'll see people in uniform out jogging in any color of running shoes you can think of. What's the difference?'
There is none, said an air force spokesman, indicating joggers will be next in line in the crackdown on unauthorized footwear.