Update to transition to ABU uniforms instead of BDU's.

posted Mar 3, 2016, 5:21 AM by Scott Kammeyer
Fellow members of the Civil Air Patrol:

The idea of Civil Air Patrol transitioning their Air Force style utility uniform from the BDU to the ABU, has been a topic of discussion in both official and unofficial circles for some time.

Previously, the decision was made to not pursue the ABU for CAP because the Air Force was considering phasing out the ABU. Recently, we were informed that the Air Force has no intention of phasing out the ABU in the near future. At that time, the decision was made to examine the possibility of CAP transitioning to the ABU, due to the increase in issues with BDU availability in some parts of the country. The National Uniform Committee was tasked with examining the issue.

It's important to remember that the Air Force Instruction governing our wear of the Air Force Uniform requires that our uniforms be easily distinguishable from Air Force Uniforms at a distance and at low light. This is accomplished through the use of distinctive insignia, name tapes, etc.

The National Uniform Committee, in coordination with CAP-USAF recommended that CAP ask for Air Force approval to wear the ABU with the following distinguishing modifications:

1.  Name and CAP tapes, aviation and specialty badges would be on a Navy Blue background with silver thread. These colors would be the same as currently in use on the NCO stripes. The NUC examined the possibility of using the ABU tapes. Because our adult members wear the same grade insignia as Air Force Officers, use of the ABU tapes was not considered to be distinguishable in accordance to the AFI. AFJROTC and AFROTC wear the ABU tapes, but they do not wear officer grade insignia. Wing, Unit, and Activity patches would be optional under the proposal.

2.  Black boots. There were many factors in our recommendation to retain the black boots. The first was cost to the membership. Many members already own black boots. Also, black boots are still available at reasonable prices commercially. The green boots cost over $100. Another consideration was asking members to buy a second pair of boots if they chose to wear other uniform combinations. The corporate (blue) uniform has black boots, as do the flight duty uniforms.  The final reason was the black boots provide a further distinguishing factor to the uniform.

Our final recommendation was to phase out the ultramarine blue tapes and insignia, and convert to the navy blue and silver tapes. These tapes better match the corporate BDU's and will eliminate the confusion caused by having two different color tapes.

As you have undoubtedly heard by now, our National Commander, Maj Gen Joseph Vazquez, sought the opinion of the CAP Command Council regarding the proposed changes. The Command Council overwhelmingly supported the change to the ABU. The proposal now goes to the Air Force for approval. As a reminder, the ABU Uniform for CAP is NOT approved yet.

The Command Council also recommended phasing out the ultramarine tapes in favor of the navy blue tapes on the Corporate BDU.

I hope this has answered your questions about how we arrived at our recommendations. If you have any further questions, I encourage you to address them with your chain of command. They have the most up to date information. Thank you.

Colonel Richard J. Greenwood, CAP
Chair, National Uniform Committee