Some Airmen Can Now Wear Coveralls After Policy Change

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Airman wears coveralls
Airman First Class Josh Hegemann, an F-16 crew chief, installs an engine on the 162nd Fighter Wing flight line wearing coveralls. (Capt. Gabe Johnson/Air National Guard)

The U.S. Air Force has approved a maintenance duty uniform, typically referred to as coveralls, for specific career fields.

The service on Monday said airmen who work across 11 Air Force Specialty Code categories will be allowed to start sporting the coveralls beginning in August, when the instruction is finalized.

The change applies to maintainers in: avionics test station and components; avionics systems; aerospace maintenance; aerospace propulsion; aircraft metals technology; fuels; logistics plans; missile maintenance; precision measurement equipment laboratory; materiel management; traffic management; vehicle operations; air transportation; vehicle maintenance; munitions systems; aircraft armament systems; nuclear weapons; electrical systems; heating, ventilation, ac, refrigeration; pavement and construction equipment; structural; water and fuel systems maintenance; engineering; operations management; fire protection; explosive ordnance disposal; emergency management; knowledge operations management; client systems; and aircrew flight equipment, according to a service release.

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The idea was presented during the November uniform board “as a way to help increase readiness and timeliness from the work center to the flight line,” said Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force JoAnne Bass. 

“We are hoping this change will instill a sense of culture and inclusivity for our maintainers who work to keep the mission going 24/7,” Bass said in the release.

Units are in charge of funding for the sage-colored maintenance duty uniform for their personnel members. Airmen will wear the basic configuration “consisting of a nametape, service tapes and rank along with the higher headquarters patch on the left sleeve and a subdued U.S. flag and organizational patch on the right sleeve,” the release states. 

The coyote brown T-shirt; Operational Camouflage Pattern, or OCP, patrol or tactical cap; coyote brown or green socks; and coyote brown boots are required to be worn with the uniform.

The uniform should be in good condition. 

Airmen cannot wear the coveralls within office work environments, only while performing maintenance duties. Personnel can wear the maintenance uniform while driving to an Air Force installation. 

Coverall variants already approved by local commanders are still authorized, “but only in work centers and on the flight line,” the release says.

Tactical Cap

Personnel have  also been given the OK to wear OCP ball caps if they’ve got them as long as they meet uniform wear criteria, according to the service.

The service is in the process of buying “tactical OCP” ball caps for its airmen and Space Force guardians, but until the manufacturing and purchase process is complete, members may wear caps that are made entirely of OCP material or have OCP material with a coyote brown mesh back, Air Force officials said in a release Monday.  

Per the wear instructions, the velcro or sew-on spice brown name tape will be “worn centered on the back of the caps,” officials said. “The only item authorized for wear on the front of the cap is rank for officers,” according to the release.

Enlisted members cannot wear rank insignia or a subdued flag on the cap; only a name tape on the back of the cap is authorized. The front of the cap must be clean without any velcro or sewn-on items. 

“Officers will wear either pinned, sewn or velcro spice brown rank insignia centered half an inch on the front of the cap on an OCP background. Air Force first lieutenants and lieutenant colonels will wear black rank,” the release states. 

The velcro should not stick out to exceed the length of the attached insignia. 

Women can pull their hair bun or ponytail through the back of the caps, the release says. Additionally, chaplains may wear the chaplain occupational badge sewn-on and centered half an inch above the visor.

The service said it may be more than a year before the service can begin fielding the caps for mass distribution. The product is unavailable at Army & Air Force Exchange Service stores.

-- Oriana Pawlyk can be reached at oriana.pawlyk@military.com. Follow her on Twitter at @Oriana0214.

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