New Uniform for Airmen in Afghanistan

Beginning in March, airmen deployed in combat roles to Afghanistan will wear the new Operation Enduring Freedom Camouflage Pattern, or OCP, uniform. Initially only airmen with “responsibilities outside the wire” will receive OCP fatigues, although the uniform will eventually become in-theater standard issue for all USAF personnel, according to Lt. Col. Shawna McGowan, USAF’s future programs branch chief. The Air Force “scientifically developed” the uniform in conjunction with the Army “to blend in with Afghanistan’s terrain,” thereby protecting airmen on the front line, said McGowan. The new pattern (shown on the right side of graphic, next to an Airman Battle Uniform swatch) incorporates fire-retardant and insect-repelling treatments. Currently, “the only authorized OCP uniforms are those purchased and issued” by Air Forces Central, stated McGowan. The Air Force has not yet authorized individual or unit purchases of OCP, as supplies are presently limited. Some airmen imbedded with Army units in theater have worn OCP since August. (SAF/PA report by TSgt. Jess Harvey)