Oct. 7 (UPI) -- The U.S. Air Force, after a three-year wait, issued its new uniforms to recruits entering basic military training, utility uniforms identical to those of the U.S. Army.
The first Operational Camouflage Pattern uniforms were distributed at the 37th Training Wing at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, Texas, last week. They will be rolled out to all Air Force personnel over the next three years.
The new OCPs were chosen because of superior design and fit, their resistance to fire and their capability to fit in with uniforms of counterparts in the Army and in other countries' militaries. Airmen's boots, socks and T-shirts will change over to 'coyote brown" by June 1, 2020, and the current Airman's Battle Uniform will be phased out.
"Our airmen have made it clear with a resounding, 'Hey, we want to get into this uniform as soon as we possibly can,'" Maj. Gen. Robert LaBrutta, director of military force management policy, said in May. "Downrange and in garrison, [airmen reported that] it's a better utility uniform than the ABU."
The new OCP has six colors, allowing its camouflage to better blend in with various environments, compared to the four pixelated colors of the ABU, and will cost $20 per set more. Insignia indicating rank will no longer be on airman's sleeves or officer's collars, but will be displayed in the center of their chests. Organizational patches and a U.S. flag will appear on the new uniforms as well.
The new uniforms have already been in use at Air Force bases in Afghanistan.