NGAUS Washington Report
May 15, 2018
The Air Force will begin transitioning to the operational-camouflage pattern uniform this year and all airmen will be wearing the uniform by April 2021. The Air Force announced Monday that it is adopting the OCP uniform worn by the Army as its official utility uniform, according to Air Force Times.
Airmen in the Middle East and Air Force Global Strike Command security forces already wear the uniform. It will replace the airman-battle uniform, or ABU.
“Our airmen made it clear with a resounding, ‘Hey, we want to get into this uniform as soon as we possibly can,’” Maj. Gen. Robert LaBrutta, the Air Force’s director of military-force management policy, told the publication. “Downrange and in garrison, [airmen consistently reported] it’s a better utility uniform than the ABU.”
The decision was made by Gen. David L. Goldfein, the Air Force chief of staff, and Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force Kaleth Wright. Their decision was backed by Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson.
“We looked at all the utility uniforms currently in our inventory to find the best of breed,” Goldfein said in a press release Monday. “We spoke to and listened to airmen on this, and the OCP was the clear choice. The uniform works in all climates—from Minot to Manbij—and across the spectrum of missions we perform. It’s suitable for our airmen working on a flight line in Northern Tier states and those conducting patrols in the Middle East.”
The OCP is considered more comfortable and will help airmen blend in with soldiers in the field. Air Force Times described the OCP as having a six-color palette and smooth lines, improving its camouflage ability. ABUs have a four-color palette and a pixelated camouflage pattern that does not blend in well with any environment.
Anyone who has the uniform can begin wearing it Oct. 1. It will also go on sale that month at AAFES stores at a handful of bases, including Joint Base Charleston and Shaw Air Force Base, South Carolina, and MacDill Air Force Base, Florida.
More AAFES stores will begin carrying the OCP uniform next spring. And new airmen will begin getting the uniform beginning in October 2019.