“Pinks and greens” is a World War II nickname for the Army uniforms that were authorized during that time. The green blouse and jacket, plus the lighter-colored pants, with a pinkish hue, are where the term came from. Why are pinks and greens important now? Because the Army is rolling out the style again this year after being officially unauthorized in 1958 and 1959. There will be some tweaks to the uniform, to modernize it, as well as to add quality and function for current times and needs.
So why the fresh new look? According to the sergeant major of the Army, the highest-ranking enlisted soldier in the military, “We went back and asked, when is the most prominent time when the Army’s service to our nation was universally recognized, and the answer came very quickly. That victory, that impact on the nation, is still felt today by the sons and daughters and grandsons and granddaughters of the “Greatest Generation.” During World War II. During a “just” war where Americans set aside their differences, their biases, and supported our troops while they fought for more than just our freedom.
The defeat of the Axis powers during the 1940s was felt by all. The uniform of that time, with the olive-colored coat and slightly rose-tinted pants or skirt, was representative of the accomplishments of the United States, and also representative of a group of people who left their families, their homes, with a great chance of never returning, to protect the people they loved, as well as to protect the world. Instead of the Army calling the new uniforms the pinks and greens this time, they’ll just be calling them Army Greens.
What do the new uniforms look like?
The question is, will the new uniforms be an exact replica of the old? The designs are finalized after the wear test, and the current designs will be reminiscent of the iconic World War II uniforms while adding in modern features. It is important to ensure that the uniforms, and the Army service members wearing them, are recognizable. If they change too much, the messaging and point of the new uniforms might be lost.
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Let’s break down the parts of the uniform in pieces, based on the current information and prototypes we have.
The male coats will be dark green-brown, with a four-button design with a belt and possibly a bi-swing back. Officers will have a one-half inch brown braid.
Female coats will be similar to the male coat designs, but some of the current prototypes will have top pocket flaps that can be altered to align with the wearer’s bust line.
Male trousers will be a taupe color, but without a trouser braid for enlisted and NCOs.
Female slacks will incorporate side-seam pockets, but with no back pockets. They may have hidden waistband pockets to provide added functionality.
Women will also have the option of a pencil skirt. The optional skirt will likely have a comfort waistband and incorporate a kick pleat at the back hem.
The male shirts currently proposed are tan with a tapered design. Enlisted soldiers won’t have shoulder loops, but will wear sleeve chevrons. Officers will have shoulder loops and will likely wear rank tabs.
The female shirt is similar to the untucked version of the Army Service Uniform shirt in its general design.
Ties, headgear, and footwear will all be unisex.
The Army Greens, or AGSU (Army Green Service Uniform), jacket and pants will be made of a 55/45 blend of poly-wood fabric. The pants will feature a gabardine weave. The shirts will be made of a 75/25 cotton-poly blend. These higher-quality fabrics will give the service uniforms a six-year service life, as opposed to a four-year service life.
What is the purpose of the Army Greens?
The Army Greens is a much-needed bridge between the typical camouflage uniforms and the Army Blues. With far fewer troops deployed in combat operations, the Army wants to go back to wearing a more professional look for day-to-day office wear. It made sense to wear camo fatigues when the United States was at war in Iraq and Afghanistan. But troops have been wearing these fatigues in situations that used to call for a suit and tie. They’re seen in fatigues during office work, while traveling between bases, and even while working at the Pentagon. Camouflage definitely lets people know those soldiers in the military, but it doesn’t allow for that professional, put-together, calm image that a pants suit offers. Camo conjures images of war, of uncertainty.
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Army Greens will allow soldiers to feel more professional without having to don the much fancier Army Blues. The Army Blues make it hard to distinguish them from other branches of the military, and it even makes it hard to differentiate them from law enforcement, who also typically wear blue uniforms. Many soldiers share stories of being mistaken for police officers or even airline pilots. The Army Blues are a classic and won’t be going anywhere, but one of the goals of the Army Greens is to differentiate themselves so that people know that this person is in the Army.
When is the Army Greens rollout and how much will it cost?
The new service uniform is currently being field-tested and should rollout, officially, by April of 2020 to all soldiers. Right now, those in highly visible positions are testing out the uniforms, like a few military bands and recruiting battalions. Soldiers will even have the option to buy leather bomber jackets that go with the uniform. Talk about a blast from the past. Recruiters who wear the Army Greens will give off an aura of power, trust, and professionalism. If they are recruiting someone in Army Greens versus camo military fatigues, they allow the imagination to wander into all of the jobs that a person could have in the military, rather than immediately thinking of combat (unless combat is what they want to do). It opens the door for someone to consider the opportunities that they can access by being a part of the Army.
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The cost for the Army Green Service Uniforms will be more than past models, but they are supposed to last longer, which will make them cost-neutral overall. The Army Blues will still be utilized, but strictly for ceremonial use. The Army Blues were chosen to evoke a time where Continentals fought under George Washington and the Union Army of the Civil War.
All soldiers will be required to wear the new uniform by 2028, and this phase-in period will allow for enlisted soldiers to save up their annual clothing allowance to pay for the new, high-quality, higher-cost uniforms.
Military uniforms may seem superficial, but they are extremely important for creating an atmosphere of trust and power. You don’t want cops showing up at your door in denim cut-offs and a t-shirt, just like you don’t want the people who are protecting and representing this country looking anything but capable of doing their jobs. The “pinks and greens” of the past were seen as “flashy,” yet professional. It’s important that when people see these new uniforms, that they feel a sense of trust, and the soldiers wearing the uniforms exude a sense of “I know what I’m doing.”
The purpose of the Army Greens is to “rebrand” the Army in a sense, to shift the image of the military away from the memories of our inclusion in divisive wars, and more to the image of a time where the military was celebrated. World War II was seen as a just war where soldiers were the good guys. The Army Greens will ideally bring the United States back to that place where we celebrate our troops for their sacrifice to this country.