Morale is back—at least on Fridays—thanks to new uniform policy changes published by the Air Force this week in response to airmen’s feedback over the past few years. “The policy changes revolve around …heritage, team building, esprit de corps, and unit pride,” said Col. Patrick Doherty, director of Air Force services, in a Jan. 17 release. Single color T-shirts with a unit crest, known as “morale patches,” and flight suit nickname-badges will now be allowed at unit commander’s discretion, provided they are uniform and tasteful, states the release. Additionally, airmen who served with other branches will now be able to wear non-Air Force qualification badges on their ABUs. “The increased wear of the ABU in-garrison” on top of airmen’s desire to wear what they’ve earned “makes authorized wear on the ABU a logical step,” said Lt. Gen. Sam Cox, deputy personnel chief. Other updates include reversing a ban on brightly colored running shoes in physical training uniform, and allowing non-black mobile phones in uniform.
The U.S. supports “a stronger and more capable” European defense, Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III said during an Oct. 22 press conference in Brussels—but that defense should not duplicate the functions and capabilities of the NATO alliance.