WASHINGTON, D.C. (AFNS) -- Air Force leaders announced the service will move to a single combat utility uniform, adopting the Operational Camouflage Pattern, or OCP, already in use by the Army and Airmen in combat zones and in certain jobs across the Air Force.
Starting Oct. 1, 2018, Airmen who have serviceable OCPs may wear the uniform, and Airmen can purchase OCPs at Army and Air Force Exchange Services at the following locations: Aviano Air Base, Italy; Charleston Air Force Base, South Carolina; Shaw Air Force Base, South Carolina; and MacDill Air Force Base, Florida. These initial locations will allow uniform manufacturers to produce additional stocks for other locations, eventually outfitting the total force in the coming months.
The service will fully transition to OCPs by April 1, 2021.
NEW CAMO FAQs
Q: When can I wear OCPs?
A: Starting Oct. 1, 2018, Airmen who have serviceable OCPs may wear the uniform, and Airmen can purchase OCPs at Army and Air Force Exchange Services at the following locations: Aviano Air Base, Italy; Charleston Air Force Base, South Carolina; Shaw Air Force Base, South Carolina; and MacDill Air Force Base, Florida. All Airmen are required to wear OCPs by April 1, 2021.
Q: Where and when can I find guidance on the dress and appearance and wear policy for the OCP?
A: Official wear guidance will be published in AFI 36-2903, Dress and Personal Appearance, in the coming months. Interim wear guidance is posted on the Air Force’s Personnel Center Dress and Appearance page. Airmen already wearing OCPs should continue to wear the uniform according to approved local wear policy.
Q: Where can I purchase the OCP?
A: Airmen can purchase the OCP initially at an AAFES Military Clothing Sales Store at the following locations starting Oct. 1, 2018: Aviano Air Base, Italy; Charleston Air Force Base, South Carolina; Shaw Air Force Base, South Carolina; and MacDill Air Force Base, Florida. From there, we expect manufacturing levels to ramp up across all AAFES locations world-wide in the months thereafter. As production increases, AAFES will post locations on their web page where and when you can purchase OCPs at your servicing locations. We also expect AAFES online purchasing to commence around October 2019.
The inventories readily available at AAFES are based on current Army demand levels. To prevent any shortages, adjustments to inventory levels will be completed once the transition begins. When purchasing uniforms at AAFES stores, service members must show proof of service branch and rank, and/or deployment orders to acquire the appropriate uniform and accessories.
Q: When will I be able to purchase the uniform online?
A: Online ordering through AAFES is anticipated to be available to Airmen around October 2019.
Q: How much does the OCP cost? Will I have to pay for it myself?
A: Enlisted Airmen should start to see an increase to their annual clothing allowances starting Oct. 1, 2018 to assist in covering the additional estimated costs of the OCP (about $20 more per uniform). Officers receive an initial allowance of $400 upon commissioning, but must purchase required uniforms on their own. Enlisted Guard and Reserve Airmen will receive the new uniform through their unit’s clothing replacement procedures.
Q. Why do Airmen have to wait to buy the uniform if it’s already available in AAFES stores?
A. The inventories readily available at AAFES are based on current Army demand levels. To prevent any shortages, adjustments to inventory levels will be completed once the transition
begins. Online ordering options will be made available to Airmen at the earliest point possible, but are expected to begin around October 2019.
Q: Why will it take so long for OCPs to be available near my base?
A: Manufacturers cannot produce enough OCPs for every Airman to purchase right away. The inventories readily available at AAFES are based on current Army demand levels. To prevent any shortages, adjustments to inventory levels will be completed once the transition begins. Additionally, the clothing and textile industrial base requires administrative and production lead time to produce the OCPs in the quantities, sizes and quality required for the Air Force. The Defense Logistics Agency and industries that support this effort are committed to meeting this new demand signal as aggressively and efficiently as possible.
Q: Can you mix and match ABU and OCP uniform items, such as cold weather gear?
A: No. ABU cold weather gear is not authorized for wear with OCPs, nor vice versa. Therefore, in areas where cold weather gear is needed, Airmen should continue to wear ABUs during winter months until OCP cold weather gear is available in their area.
Q. There are multiple different OCP uniforms. Can Airmen choose which one they wear?
A. The Air Force is transitioning to the Army Combat Uniform – Operational Camouflage Pattern (ACU-OCP). Airmen may wear any OCP officially in the inventory since 2012, as long as it is serviceable and they wear it according to the interim guidance published on myPers, and eventually in AFI 36-2903.
Q. Will aircrew also wear the two-piece flight suit version of the OCP?
A. The Army Aircrew Combat Uniform, or A2CU, is certified for wear in non-ejection seat aircraft. Aircrews flying non-ejection seat aircraft, including rotary wing and mobility aircrews, will be issued this uniform through their normal equipment issue process. Many aircrews in U.S. Air Forces Central Command and Air Mobility Command are already wearing the A2CU.
Q: When and how will Guard and Reserve units be outfitted with the new uniform?
A: The Air Force Reserve and Air National Guard will begin to transition to the OCP in conjunction with active-duty Airmen. Reserve and Guard Airmen can expect to acquire uniforms as they normally would, whether that is through their units or by purchasing at an AAFES store when available.
Q: What do I do with old ABUs or other uniform items I no longer want?
A: Some issued items must be turned in for re-use and/or proper disposal, for example: equipment such as flight suits, tactical gear provided for a particular job or deployment, extreme cold weather gear issued at northern tier installations, etc. For questions about what equipment must be turned in, contact the organization that issued you the item.
Disposition or amnesty boxes for clothing, such as those found down range, allow you to turn in unwanted items such as boots, blouses, pants or any unwanted military clothing item. The boxes, once full, are emptied, and the items are destroyed either by shredding or burning. It is recommended to dispose of unwanted uniform items in these boxes if available at your local installation. During the uniform transition, uniform disposal boxes can be found at your local AAFES Military Clothing and Sales store.
If the first two options are not available, Airmen can dispose of the Airman Battle Uniform by destroying it. To properly destroy the uniform, Airmen should first remove all rank/grade insignia, name tapes and other identifiers sewn onto them, and then render the uniform unable to be physically worn by cutting the material.