Dress, Right, Dress: New ABU better fit, who is authorized to wear them |
by 341st Space Wing Public Affairs Office
9/19/2007 - MALMSTROM AIR FORCE BASE, Mont. -- Keeping in line with AFI 36-2903, Dress and Appearance of Air Force Personnel, and the Air Force Uniform Board's upcoming uniform changes, questions regarding the new Airman Battle Uniform have arisen and below is information all servicemembers should know about the new gear.
Question: I hear the ABU is a better fit. Can you explain?
Answer: Yes, it is a better fit for men and women. The ABU has 236 (118 trousers and 118 blouses) sizes to accommodate both men and women, unlike the 57 sizes of the current Battle Dress Uniform. The ABU sizes follow commercial clothing standards. The most common sizes will be available on AAFES shelves and the total 236 sizes will be available by order through AAFES. The green suede boots will come in women's sizes unlike the current black boot in the Air Force inventory, which does not.
Question: How much does an individual set of the ABU cost? What about accessories like the jacket, T-shirts and socks?
Answer: The cost of one set of ABUs is $81.37 plus badges and rank. The following is a complete breakout of costs for the ABU and accessories: ABU hat is $5.98; men's trousers are $41.96; men's coat is $39.41; women's trousers are $41.96; women's coat is $39.41; sand-colored T-shirt is $4.35; green boot socks are $2.30; sand-colored riggers belt is $3.15; desert tan boots are $97.50; green boots are $100.55; and a parka is $173.25.
Question: What does it look like?
Answer: Take a look at it on the Air Force Uniform and Recognition Programs Web site on the Air Force Portal (www.my.af.mil).
Question: When can I buy an ABU?
Answer: The ABU will be issued to Airmen deploying to Iraq, Afghanistan and Kuwait during Air Expeditionary Forces 9/10 (September to November 2007) and then to our Basic Military Trainees beginning October. Depending on availability, the ABU will begin to flow into some AAFES Military Clothing Sales Stores in late summer 2007.
Question: Who will pay for the ABU?
Answer: Initially the Air Force will fund: Initial issue of ABUs to some deploying total force war fighters; Battlefield Airmen career fields will be issued four sets of ABUs when deploying to specific locations as determined by senior leadership; and BMTs will be issued four sets of ABUs. All others will purchase ABUs individually as replacements are needed.
Question: Will the reserve component wear the ABU?
Answer: Yes, the Total Air Force will wear the ABU (active-duty, reserve and national guard).
Question: If I am in the guard or reserves, how do I get my new ABU?
Answer: ABUs will be issued to the guard and reserve in the same manner in which they currently acquire their uniform. However, if reservists or guardsmen fall into a category of not being issued clothing, then they can purchase them the same way they do now (go to nearest clothing store or on-line at www.aafes.com when sufficient supplies are available).
Question: Why is the ABU available to a movie production company, before it's available to Air Force personnel?
Answer: Iron Man, based on the Marvel comic book character, is scheduled to release in 2008. A lead character in the storyline portrays an Air Force officer. The production company was allowed to purchase an extremely small quantity of the ABU fabric to make the few sets of ABUs needed in the movie for early 2006 filming. The company is handling their own tailoring of the ABU for the few uniforms they need. There is absolutely no impact to Air Force production or distribution.
(Information courtesy of the Air Force Portal at www.my.af.mil).