Bye-bye beret: Army Combat Uniform changes

Monday - 6/13/2011, 10:18am EDT

(Army.mil illustration)

By Suzanne Kubota
Senior Internet Editor
FederalNewsRadio.com

The Army Combat Uniform, or ACU, is getting a new look and a new sound.

After thousands of soldiers were surveyed and comments on social media sites, like Facebook, were reviewed, in many cases, gone are the black beret and most of the Velcro-backing on insignias.

According to the Army, soldiers said they didn't like the beret because it's hot, doesn't shade the sun and takes two hands to put on. And since most soldiers need to switch to the patrol cap based on the work they do, that meant they had to carry two hats and switch back and forth. To be clear, the beret is not being eliminated: it's still the standard for the Army service uniform and as an optional uniform item with the ACU - at the discretion of commanders.

As for the Velcro, the Army's new policy on attaching accouterments to the ACU will allow soldiers to sew on rank insignia, the name tape and the service tape. Skill badges will also be authorized for sewing, and cargo pockets will be kept closed with honest-to-goodness buttons!

Stars and Stripes reports "the crowd roared and cheered" when the change was announced Saturday night at the Army Birthday Ball in Maryland, but Pentagon soldiers, don't get too excited. Separately, the Army announced that soldiers assigned to the Pentagon, who currently wear ACUs to work, will switch to the Army service uniform in October.

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