Army Considers Bringing Back The 'Pinks And Greens' Uniform Of WWII
LULU GARCIA-NAVARRO, HOST:
A change might be coming to the Army - that is, a change of uniform. The Army may revive its signature World War II dress uniforms known as the pinks and greens. It would be an alternative to the blue Army service uniform - or ASU - soldiers wear for official events. Meghann Myers is a writer for the Army Times. And she's been following this sartorial story. Hi, Meghann.
MEGHANN MYERS: Hi.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: So tell me - what do the pinks and greens look like?
MYERS: So they are a - sort of an olive-drab, olive-green jacket. And then the pinks part of it comes from these brown pants that have, like, a little bit of a mauve undertone - and then brown leather shoes.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: And why are they doing this?
MYERS: So about a decade ago, the Army decided they had too many uniforms. They wanted to slim things down. And so they pared it down to the camouflage uniform that you wear in combat and in garrison, as well, and then the blue service uniform. And that was supposed to be for formal events and for official events. And they're looking toward bringing the pinks and greens back because the sergeant major of the Army and some other senior officials feel like the ASU is very formal. It might be nice to have an in-between uniform.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: Business casual, if you will.
MYERS: Yes - something that would be your business suit. And then the casual part of it would be you can take the jacket off, and there's a short-sleeve, button-up shirt underneath.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: There have been prototypes developed of these new uniforms. And they've made some adaptations from what the originals look like. Tell me about that.
MYERS: So they started out with sort of just a straight jacket that kind of hit at the hip. And the feedback was that soldiers really wanted a slightly longer jacket, like, almost, you know, like, a little bit of a skirt coming out from the hip and then a belt. The belt was really important. So the latest update of that has the belt added.
And then the women also said they wanted their jacket to look like that. They wanted to wear a male tie, which is unusual. Usually women wear, like, kind of a little crosshatch-looking tie. But they wanted to wear a long, male tie. And they wanted a pencil skirt.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: Were the women and the men in the military polled about this?
MYERS: Yeah. From different ranks, they had people come in and look at the uniforms or hats, you know, sent the prototypes to them and said, what do you like? Is this comfortable? And what would you like to see?
GARCIA-NAVARRO: So they get some sartorial input.
MYERS: Right. There's a lot of backlash, you know, when the Army makes a decision, and they don't get soldier buy-in. So they were very careful to make sure that they ran this by the people who are going to be wearing it.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: Right. These uniforms are basically a throwback, though, to sort of the golden era of the military. Do you think they'll resonate with today's public or just feel sort of maybe a little bit of something from a bygone time?
MYERS: That's the idea. With the blue ASU, the Army tried to - it was kind of supposed to be a throwback to the Civil War or to the Revolutionary War when soldiers wore navy-blue jackets. But it wasn't and hasn't been very recognizable to the public. Everyone knows what a Marine looks like. You know what a sailor looks like. Officers wear those nice dress whites. But that ASU wasn't as recognizable. And I think part of the idea behind this is that people have seen movies. They recognize what a World War II-era soldier looked like. And so there's a lot of - yes - public admiration for seeing the guy in the olive-drab suit.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: And when are they going to make the decision?
MYERS: There's supposed to be a decision this spring - so within the next few months. I think, though, the last bit of it is the sergeant major and a couple of models that he has who are wearing prototypes have been going around to events, going to Capitol Hill, getting, you know, Congress and the lawmakers to sign off, to give their stamp of approval and then, in the next couple of months, make a final decision about mass-producing it.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: Meghann Myers of the Army Times, thanks so much.
MYERS: Thank you.
(SOUNDBITE OF BOOKER T. & THE M.G.'S' "GREEN ONIONS")
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