ABU to OCP Round 2: The Big AFI 36-2903 Memo

Remain unpanicked. The ABU to OCP transition starts in a few months (October, to be precise). In preparation, the Department of the Air Force released a mammoth of a memorandum that details the immediate changes to AFI 36-2903, Dress and Personal Appearance of Air Force Personnel, and re-publishes the document until the regulation is updated sometime in the next year.  If you’re an Airman, I recommend reading the full document; it details changes that include the trend of generally more inclusive hair regulations, updates to dress uniforms, and the much-awaited OCP updates. I’ll only be covering that last bit of the Air Force Uniform rollout here.

OCP Air Force Uniform Rollout

The first thing to note is the bolded section in section 5.2 of the guidelines that mention wearing OCPs in accordance with published AAFES distribution plans. Previously published information about the OCP rollout states that supplies will be issued on a set schedule and distributed incrementally to different air bases in phases. Purchasing them early from other bases interrupts this process. However, you can purchase Air Force Uniforms from retailers like US Patriot (they’ll even affix your patches and badges for you) – just don’t wear them until you’re authorized to do so.

Insignias & Spice Brown

Updated guidance on the OCP uniform ditches the black rank, name, and service insignias in favor of Air Force spice brown. The only exception to this rule is the rank insignia for First Lieutenants and Lieutenant Colonels, whose ranks will be black to distinguish them from other ranks. This may be my Army bias coming out, but I’ll never understand the idea behind names that are hard to read on the uniform. Regardless, spice brown is here to stay and will be the only authorized color for those insignias on OCP.

Sewing vs. Velcro

All name, service, and rank patches should be affixed in the same way, either hook and loop or sewn on – not both. Only two badges are authorized from this point on, so make sure to review which are mandatory {aeronautical, space, or cyberspace). While talking about alterations, there was previously conflicting information about being able to sew down blouse or pants pockets. The new memo clarifies that there will be no sewing of pockets of any kind.

NEW Garmont AR670-1 & AFI 36-2903 Compliant Boot NEW Garmont AR670-1 & AFI 36-2903 Compliant Boot

OCP Uniform Accessories

Other changes across the uniform are also detailed. To the excitement of many, boot regulations have been loosened to allow the wear of coyote brown side-zip bootsSocks during the wear period may be desert sand, tan, or DLA-issued green, but be aware that only DLA-issued green will be authorized starting 1 June 2020. Cold weather gear was clarified as well; coyote brown or black scarves, earmuffs (undefined color), black watch caps, and sage green gloves are all authorized while outdoors and wearing authorized outer garments.

Like I mentioned before, there are plenty of other changes in the 22-page list of revisions. I recommend taking the time to review them all, but this should be enough to get you started on deciding what accessories and equipment to save. In my last OCP article, I mentioned that it was probably too early to start worrying about preparing for the transition. This memo feels much more authoritative than the early guidance: if you’re one of the first bases to receive OCPs and want to hit the ground running, now might be the time to start thinking about patches, boots, and all the other little things that add up over time. Remember that you have over two years to piece together an entire, serviceable OCP wardrobe. Start early and take your time – you’ll be able to say goodbye to sage green soon enough.

Disclaimer: The content in this article is the opinion of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the policies or opinions of US Patriot Tactical.


NEW Garmont AR670-1 & AFI 36-2903 Compliant Boot NEW Garmont AR670-1 & AFI 36-2903 Compliant Boot

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