Reservist

Uniform 2019

Reservist Magazine is the award-winning official publication of the United States Coast Guard Reserve. Quarterly issues include news and feature articles about the men and women who comprise America's premier national maritime safety and security

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Guard's Tactical Law Enforcement Teams, who'd been requesting a change for years. Tucking the blouse to get access to the belt loops, the teams could still wear their gun belts. Eventually, more than 300 members in units nationwide tested the new uniform, which was referred to in early days as "two- piece coveralls." It was a hit. The events of 9/11 only served to spur the process on, and Patton requested additional testing to ensure the uniform would work across all mission areas, which was complete by May 2002. Similar to the service-wide changes in 1974, the financial and logistical work to change the uniform for 44,000 Coast Guardsmen began. With an additional 30,000 auxiliarists also wearing the uniform, distribution was expected to take two years, but was completed in half the time. In early 2004, the new solid blue-colored "operational dress uniform" became the official working uniform, replacing both the working blue and undress blue uniforms. As noted in the 2006 Uniform Issue of Reservist, the ODU went from the drawing board to the field in under 18 months, making it the fastest uniform redesign in the history of all military services. The lower blouse pockets were removed in order to tuck the blouse into the matching dark blue trousers, which boasted useful cargo pockets. The brass belt was replaced with a black riggers' belt, and the blouse sleeves could be worn down or accordion-rolled up. The black boots and ball cap from the working blue uniform remained. Adm. Sally Brice-O'Hara called the it "the single largest change to our uniform inventory in the last 25 years." During the responses to Hurricane Katrina and Deepwater Horizon, Adm. Thad Allen appeared in media interviews, cutting an impressive and authoritative figure in the more militarily-styled ODU. Behind the scenes, though, there was more fine-tuning being done. The now-retired MCPOCG #9, Master Chief Petty Officer Charles "Skip" Bowen, remembered being on a trip to the Army's Sergeants Major Academy. While there, he wore their battle dress uniform himself, and found it to be much more comfortable than the tucked ODU. Upon his return to Headquarters, Bowen worked with the Uniform Program to prototype a new blouse. In 2012, the ODU officially got an update. Carol Brewton, the Coast Guard's Uniform Program manager at the time, said, "By untucking [the blouse], it gives us more FIVE RESERVE MEMBERS OF A MARITIME SAFETY AND SECURITY TEAM PARTICIPATE IN AN ADVANCEMENT CEREMONY WHILE WEARING THE DESERT CAMOUFLAGE UTILITY UNIFORM. PHOTO BY PETTY OFFICER 1ST CLASS ALLYSON E.T. CONROY Uniform Issue • 2019 � RESERVIST 11

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