AVIANO AIR BASE, Italy –
Six hours ahead of the Eastern time zone, airmen at Aviano Air Base, Italy were the first to purchase the Operational Camouflage Pattern utility uniform Oct. 1 ahead of their U.S. counterparts.
Airmen from the 31st Fighter Wing began waiting in line almost two hours before the Army and Air Force Exchange Service sales store opened to purchase the new uniform, said Air Force Maj. Blake Johnson, Defense Logistics Agency Troop Support Europe and Africa operations officer.
“The enthusiasm was very high as airmen waiting in line said that they were eager to make the transition,” Johnson said.
More than 17,000 uniforms were delivered to five military clothing sales stores Oct. 1: Aviano Air Base, Shaw Air Force Base, South Carolina, the Pentagon, Washington, D.C., Joint Base Charleston, South Carolina and MacDill AFB, Florida.
Airmen will wear the OCP utility uniform currently worn by the Army. Previously, most Airmen only wore the uniform during deployments.
Prior to opening, Johnson gathered feedback from Airmen waiting for the new uniform. Some said they were ready for the “cooler” look of the uniform, while others looked forward to wearing the same uniform at home and during deployments.
“Everyone agreed that it was more comfortable and functional as well,” Johnson said.
DLA Troop Support's Clothing and Textiles supply chain worked with its Air Force counterparts and other key stakeholders since April to ensure the first wave of the roll-out went smoothly, customer cell chief for Air Force recruit clothing David James said.
“This will be the first step in a 30-month process to outfit the entire Air Force,” James said. “So far we’ve received positive feedback from our customers. Airmen are excited about the change.”
The general manager for AAFES Italy Consolidated Exchange, Susana Sorbrino, said that she was pleased with the support her stores received from the DLA Troop Support team tracking and filling orders.
“The amazing efforts and planning from the team made possible to realize in one single day the sales normally achieved for the entire month,” Sobrino said.
Approximately 500 Air Force customers purchased $51,688 worth of uniforms provided by DLA at the Aviano sales store, Sobrino said. By set, the total cost of the coat, trousers and cap is $104.
DLA Troop Support will continue to work with the Air Force on a phased roll-out plan, James said. The mandatory wear date for all airmen is April 1, 2021.