Joint Base Charleston


Blue Pride

By Chief Master Sgt. Earl Hannon | 628th Air Base Wing command chief | December 12, 2012

JOINT BASE CHARLESTON, S.C. -- It was hard to miss the Air Force Times front page feature this week: "Bye-Bye Blues Monday."

Gen. Mark Welsh, Air Force Chief of Staff, withdrew the service-wide requirement to wear the blue Service Uniform every Monday and gave major command commanders the authority to establish their own policies with regard to uniform of the day.

A number of major commands, to include Air Mobility Command, followed suit and further delegated the decision to wing commanders.

Locally, Col. Richard McComb, Joint Base Charleston commander, also rescinded the base-wide policy, allowing unit commanders to determine the uniform of the day appropriate for daily mission requirements as well as special occasions.

As news quickly spread across the force, many Airmen welcomed the change, while others were, simply put, elated. We have all heard the arguments: Blues aren't practical for many work environments, they're too easily soiled even in office environments, they're expensive to maintain, they're not comfortable and the list goes on.

And while a few Airmen may have an affinity for "Blues Monday," I believe it is safe to say even they will not miss the recurring dry cleaning bills and requirement to pack multiple uniform combinations for official travel.

Yet, in the midst of so many Airmen celebrating the demise of "Blues Monday," there lies a potential danger -- a danger of compromising our faithfulness to a proud heritage, a tradition of honor and a legacy of valor.

I know, you may be thinking this assertion is a bit dramatic and you may even be asking, "Really, is not wearing blues going to cause us to lose the war?" Maybe not, but I ask you to consider the following:

Air Force Instruction 36-2903, Dress and Personal Appearance of Air Force Personnel, states, "Pride in one's personal appearance and wearing the uniform, greatly enhances the esprit de corps essential to an effective military force."

It further states, "The American public and its elected representatives draw certain conclusions on military effectiveness based on the image Airmen present." Our local community may be accustomed to seeing us day to day in our Airman Battle Uniform. But what about those engagements with the American public when it really counts?

At nearly every televised parade or ceremony as well as every military wedding or funeral, we often wear our Service Dress Uniform. Just as we continually practice and exercise to hone our wartime skills, we must also exercise wear of our blue uniforms to remain current, crisp and polished. AFI 1-1, Air Force Standards, states, "Projecting a good military image reflects not only on you personally, but also on the Air Force."

And while not frequently wearing our Service Dress Uniform may not directly impact how we engage the enemy, it most assuredly can affect our relationship with each other and the American public.

If I still have not convinced you of the importance of frequently wearing our blue uniform, I ask you to think back to the very first time you donned your Service Dress Uniform. Do you remember the smile that came to your face as you looked in the mirror? Do you remember the pride you felt when you wore it the first time for your family and friends? Does that pride still reside within you? If it does, I encourage you to show it--often. And if it does not, AFI 1-1 asserts, "Your appearance matters as much as your attitude." May I suggest it is time to check the latter?

Staying Connected