USAF and US Army: A shared history and now again shared uniforms

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 The more things change, the more they remain the same. The newer OCP version of the Virginia National Guard JFHQ patch is shown (on the right) for comparison to a BDU sample from the period when the same patch represented the Virginia State Area Readiness Command (STARC).

The more things change, the more they remain the same. The newer OCP version of the Virginia National Guard JFHQ patch is shown (on the right) for comparison to a BDU sample from the period when the same patch represented the Virginia State Area Readiness Command (STARC).

With the recent decision by the US Air Force to adopt theArmy’s Operational Camouflage Pattern (OCP) uniform, as of 1 October 2018 the airmen and soldiers assigned to joint-force organizations began wearing the same uniform, and in some cases, the same shoulder patch. One such organization is the Virginia National Guard’s Joint-Force Headquarters where the soldiers and airmen assigned to the staff will both wear the same patch on their left sleeve.

 Again for comparison, two recent versions of the same patch. On the left, is the Desert Combat Uniform (DCU) version that was worn in OIF and OEF until replaced by the Army Combat Uniform (ACU) with the Universal Camouflage Pattern (UCP) on the right. (DCU photo courtesy Kevin Born)

Again for comparison, two recent versions of the same patch. On the left, is the Desert Combat Uniform (DCU) version that was worn in OIF and OEF until replaced by the Army Combat Uniform (ACU) with the Universal Camouflage Pattern (UCP) on the right. (DCU photo courtesy Kevin Born)

There will still be a few differences, however. Air Force and Air National Guard uniforms will have their nametapes and some ranks embroidered in “spice-brown” thread while the Army uniforms will continue with black thread embroidery. With the advent of the OCP uniform, new versions of a unit’s shoulder patches were required to reflect the new baseline colors of the OCP. The new patches, as can be seen in the photo below, are fairly similar in color to the old “Woodland” pattern subdued patches but now come with the Velcro backing. They also may be sewn directly to the uniform for convenience.

The many different uniform changes by both services since the Air Force split off from the Army in September 1947 are too numerous to list here. It appears now, however, that the two will once again share very similar uniforms reflecting the joint nature of their deployed operations.

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