The results are in, and many of you like the option of wearing black socks with the new Army Physical Fitness Uniform.
You also like the idea to bring back the iconic Eisenhower jacket and a single campaign hat for male and female drill sergeants, but are pretty evenly divided when it comes to whether the blue service cap should be the required headgear for senior NCOs and higher while wearing the Army Service Uniform.
More than 18,500 soldiers responded to a survey, directed by Sergeant Major of the Army Dan Dailey, seeking feedback about five proposed uniform changes.
The survey was sent to a random sampling of about 120,000 soldiers in mid-July. More than 12,000 responded within the first two weeks, but Dailey extended the survey through Aug. 31 in a bid to get more feedback.
"We want to make sure soldiers get a chance to express their opinion," Dailey said when the survey was first launched. "It was very important to the [Army chief of staff] and myself for soldiers to know we're listening to them."
More than 60 percent of the 18,588 respondents voted favorably for four of the five proposed changes. The fifth proposal received a favorable vote from just 55 percent of respondents.
The survey findings have been forwarded to the uniform review board for discussion and further recommendation, according to information from SMA's office.
In addition, Dailey plans to ask Army Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Milley for a decision or guidance on whether soldiers should be allowed to wear black socks with the new, black PT uniform. If Milley signs off, that is the only proposed change that is a simple, no-cost change, and it would give soldiers another option instead of adding another item to their clothing bags.
A uniform board will convene in April to discuss these uniform changes, said Sgt. Maj. Rodger Mansker, the sergeant major for Army G-4 (Logistics). This will be the first uniform board in 18 months, Mansker said. Typically held annually, there haven't been enough uniform matters to gather the 16-member board — until now. It will include a cross-section of troops, from junior enlisted to officers to the SMA and the G-4 himself, Lt. Gen. Gustave Perna.
Board members will receive cost estimates for each proposal, Mansker said. Items that require new development and wear tests, such as the "Ike" Jacket, would be more expensive, he said. Cost estimates are already being tabulated for the survey topics, but Mansker declined to elaborate.
Board votes will be tallied during the one-day meeting and recommendations will be submitted to Milley, who will make the ultimate decision. The Army Secretary is sometimes needed to weigh in, but only for large-scale decisions, Mansker said. It's unlikely the Secretary would need to weigh in on any of changes outlined in the survey, the sergeant major added.
Dailey has said he is "not going to be the uniform sergeant major," but he is pushing these potential changes to uniform items and wear in response to soldier feedback. Dailey also is looking at how these changes also could boost morale across the force.
"If you can raise motivation by fixing things that don't really have a negative effect on the standards and discipline of the Army, why not?" he said.
Here's a closer look at the proposed changes and how they fared with the troops.
Almost 63 percent of respondents voted in favor of the jacket.
The original "Eisenhower" or "Ike jacket" was made popular by Gen. Dwight Eisenhower during World War II.
A modern, blue version of the iconic Eisenhower jacket.
Photo Credit: Mike Morones/Staff
The proposed jacket would "add one layer of etiquette" for soldiers who may need to go from the Class Bs to a more formal appearance without transitioning to the full Army Service Uniform jacket, Dailey said.
If the jacket is approved, it would be an optional item just like the black sweater, black windbreaker and blue mess uniforms, Dailey said.
Drill sergeant hats
About 62 percent of respondents voted yes when asked if they support a single campaign hat for male and female drill sergeants. The question stems from feedback Army leaders have received from female drill sergeants.
Male and female drill sergeants now have their own distinct hats.
The current male drill sergeant hat evolved from the 1883 campaign hat, according to the Army.
The female drill sergeant hat came into being in 1972. It was designed by Brig. Gen. Mildred Bailey, according to the Army.
Blue service caps
Almost 66 percent of soldiers voted in favor of a single cap for both male and female soldiers to wear with the Army Service Uniform.
The "bus driver" cap.
Photo Credit: Damien Salas/Army
Known as "the bus driver cap," the question about the blue service cap also stems from feedback that senior enlisted leaders have received from female soldiers.
Service cap vs. beret
Soldiers were most evenly divided on this question, with 55 percent voting "yes," and 45 percent voting "no."
Army leaders asked if the blue service cap should be the required headgear for senior noncommissioned officers and higher while wearing the Army Service Uniform.
This change, if soldiers like it, would affect sergeants first class through sergeants major, warrant officers and officers.
AR 670-1 currently calls for the service cap to be optional for corporals and above. The beret is the primary headgear worn with the service uniform by all soldiers unless directed by the commander, according to the regulation.
Photo Credit: Army
Just like junior enlisted soldiers in their ASUs wear blue trousers while sergeants wear blue trousers with a gold braid, switching to the service cap marks a transition in a soldier's career, officials said.
About 67 percent of soldiers said "yes" when asked if they should be allowed to wear black socks with the new Army Physical Fitness Uniform, which is black.
The idea for black socks came up at several town hall meetings Dailey conducted with soldiers.
The sock question was included in the survey to "make sure this is the majority and not just a small contingent" of soldiers who like the idea, Dailey said.
Socks worn during PT should be calf- or ankle-length and plain white with no logos, according to the current Army Regulation 670-1. The socks also must cover the entire ankle bone.
Soldiers support black socks with the new PT uniform by a large margin.
Photo Credit: Army