Army Changes Combat Uniform

Beret replaced for many; Velcro nixed

By Kelvin Robinson
|  Monday, Jun 13, 2011  |  Updated 1:03 PM EDT
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New Headwear Approved for Army Soldiers

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The Army announced on its official page that it has listened to its soldiers and will be making changes to the Army Combat Uniform (ACU).

Soldiers will now use the patrol cap as the default ACU headgear in place of the black wool beret. This change comes just a few months after an April Fool's joke on the Army's official page announced they would be switching to the "functional and downright American" Stetson cowboy hat.

Army officials say the changes were made after input from "several thousand" soldiers, including comments on social media sites, like Facebook.

The beret has been the standard for the ACU, which is worn by most soldiers. But a majority of them would have to switch back to their patrol cap, depending on the work they're doing. That means they have to carry two hats with them at all times.

Some soldiers cited the fact that the beret was hot, and didn't offer any shade as reasons to switch. They didn't want to get rid of the beret, however, saying it did look professional -- and it will remain the standard for Army Service Uniforms.

Army officials say the new policy will save the army about $6.5 million over the lifecycle of the ACU, as soldiers will now only be issued one beret instead of two.

The Army will also now permit soldiers to sew name tapes, service tapes, rank insignia and skill badges to their uniform and headgear instead of using Velcro. However, combat and unit patches, as well as the U.S. flag -- which are worn on the sleeves -- will remain Velcro-only.

Typically uniform changes are made by a board that meets twice a year, but army officials say the headgear and Velcro issues were two changes they wanted to make immediately. Any other changes to the ACU will be up to a meeting in July.

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