For the first time this week, new trainees entering Basic Military Training at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland were issued the Air Force’s new Operational Camouflage Pattern, or OCP, uniform.
Air Education and Training Command announced the initial issue of the OCP uniform to trainees at the 37th Training Wing in a Thursday release.
The Air Force last year announced it had decided to adopt the Army’s utility uniform for its improved fit and comfort, and so airmen will better blend in with soldiers while deployed.
“Optional wear” of the OCP, meaning anyone who already had it, such as from a previous deployment to Afghanistan, began in October 2018. The OCP has also gradually become available at more AAFES stores around the world over the past year. And AAFES this month is expected to begin selling the Air Force OCP uniform online as well, though it does not appear to be on the website as of Friday afternoon.
By June 2020, airmen’s boots, socks, T-shirts, U.S. flag and officer ranks must switch to the coyote brown, spice brown or tan colors accompanying the OCP.
And by April 2021, all airmen must have moved to the OCP and stopped wearing the older Airman Battle Uniform.
AETC said that the 502nd Logistics Readiness Squadron maintains more than 330,000 pieces of clothing and outfits almost 33,000 trainees every year.
“We partner with Defense Logistics Agency, who provides the clothing items up-front to be issued,” Donald Cooper, the initial clothing issue chief, said in the release. “Then we warehouse and issue to the individuals size-specific clothing.”
Stephen Losey is the air warfare reporter for Defense News. He previously covered leadership and personnel issues at Air Force Times, and the Pentagon, special operations and air warfare at Military.com. He has traveled to the Middle East to cover U.S. Air Force operations.