U.S. Air Force personnel looking to buy their new Operational Camouflage Pattern uniforms should only purchase them at Army & Air Force Exchange Service, or AAFES, stores, according to a recent reminder quoting a U.S. military uniform official.
"AAFES is the authorized source for offering uniforms to our service members," Col. Stephen Thomas, project manager, Soldier Protection and Individual Equipment at Program Executive Office Soldier, said in an April 10 AAFES news release. "The uniforms are produced by government-approved vendors, meet uniform quality standards and comply with regulatory specifications."
The Air Force announced in May of last year that it was adopting Army's Operational Camouflage Pattern, or OCP, as its new combat uniform.
The service plans to phase out the current Airman Battle Uniform, or ABU, for the OCP over the next three years and have all airmen wearing the OCP by April 1, 2021.
To offset the cost of the new uniform, enlisted airmen will get a clothing bag allowance increase since the OCP is about $20 more expensive than the ABU, Air Force officials said.
Last year, the Air Force updated Air Force Instruction 36-2903, "Dress and Personal Appearance of Air Force Personnel," to provide guidance to airmen guidance on how to properly wear the new OCP uniform. Guidance stressed that personnel should only buy the new uniform at AAFES stores.
The April 10 release reiterates that message, stating that uniforms sold by AAFES have the government-certified contract number on the inside label and comply with the Berry Amendment, a federal regulation that requires uniforms, equipment and other military items to be made by U.S. manufacturers.
"Without that label, there is no guarantee that the uniform has been produced to military specifications," the release states.
Airmen can find their nearest AAFES Military Clothing store on the exchange's store locator.
-- Matthew Cox can be reached at email@example.com.