No Coat Decision Until Next Year

With the Air Force leadership’s decision last week to concentrate on improving its current uniforms before moving on to new ones, a decision on the Heritage Coat, the proposed new service coat, has been deferred until the summer of 2009. Wear testing of the coat by 240 airmen concludes on Oct. 31, after which analysts will study the results and prepare a comprehensive package of data to inform Gen. Norton Schwartz, Chief of Staff. With that deferral, the service intends to address issues like designing a lighter weight airmen battle uniform for hot-weather climates as well as better-fitting physical training clothing and quieter material for the standard warm-up jacket and pants, said Lt. Gen. Richard Newton, deputy chief of staff for personnel. The service also wants to make sure it provides airmen with the best-possible ABU boot, he said. This is important since some of the missions airmen are asked to execute today in Southwest Asia, like convoy duty, are not traditional Air Force roles. The service recently certified another manufacturer for ABU boots after positive feedback from cadets in a wear test. These boots will be issued to new basic trainees no later than Oct. 1, said Ruth Ewalt, chief of Air Force uniform programs and policy. Ewalt said new stain-resistant boot materials are also being tested. (SAF/PA report by MSgt. Russell P. Petcoff)