HUNTSVILLE, Ala. ― The sergeant major of the Army and several enlisted models have been showcasing the new Army Greens Uniform at public events over the past year, but the officer version has kept a much lower profile.
Gen. Robert Brown, the commander of U.S. Army Pacific, debuted his set Tuesday at AUSA’s Global Force Symposium, telling Army Times that several senior leaders have been fitted for their new service uniforms, and should be showing them off soon.
“I debated wearing it here, because I thought, only a few people have it ― but I thought, what the heck!” he said. “I’m proud of it, and they gave it to me for me to wear it!”
Brown got fitted for his uniform two months ago and had it quickly tailored last week before taking it for a spin in Alabama, he said. His only instructions were to wear it to events where he’d normally wear his blues.
“I’d be asked ― I can’t tell you how many times, in the blue traditional Army Service Uniform ― a million times on the road, ‘What airline do you fly for?’ Especially if you’re in the Class B’s," he joked.
The service officially announced its decision on the new service uniform on Veterans Day, planning a roll-out that begins with senior leaders and recruiters in 2019. U.S. Army Recruiting Command’s Maj. Gen. Frank Muth told Army Times that he expects to have his in the next couple of weeks.
"I thank Sergeant Major of the Army [Dan] Dailey every time I see him, because I think it’s one of his greatest contributions,” Brown said.
Next year, new soldiers will get a custom-fit AGU when they report to their first units, while those currently serving will have until 2028 to replace their ASUs.
“I think it’s one of the best decisions we’ve made,” he said. “I’m very fortunate to be one of the first to try it out, because I’ve said from the beginning that I’m very excited.”
For the record, the officer variant is nearly identical to the enlisted, except for the rank pins on the shoulders rather than embroidered patches on the upper sleeves.
And, different from the ASU, there are no oak leaf clusters on the service cap, nor stripes down the sides of the pants, to differentiate officers from enlisted.
“When I think about it, that’s how we are. The officers eat last. It’s about the soldiers,” Brown said. “I think that’s why they did it back then, and we kind of got away from it and started being too separate.”
The World War II-era service uniforms, of which several designs were mixed to create this current version, inspired Brown to choose West Point when the basketball team was recruiting him decades ago.
"There was a poster at West Point, and it was this uniform, and it was MacArthur, Patton, Bradley, Eisenhower ― and this uniform. And it said, ‘much of the history we teach was made by those we taught,’ " he recalled. “So now, how ironic, 42 years ago, I have a uniform similar.”
He’ll wear it there in a couple weeks, he added, when he addresses the Corps of Cadets on a visit.
“It just gives you incredible pride,” Brown said. “You know I’ve been around a long time, and I’ve never been so proud to wear a uniform.”