SIG Sauer Academy

USAF Updates Uniform Instruction AFI 36-2903


(Click to view .pdf)

Late last week, the US Air Force issued an update to AFI 36-2903, “Dress and Appearance of Air Force Personnel.” While there are numerous changes, I am happy to see a few. To be honest, most of these changes were happening anyway. It just made them OK.

Morale T-shirts are back! Like they ever went away. Squadron color T-shirts may once again be worn with the ABU or flight suit when in-garrison or on-station during unit temporary duty assignments and contingency deployments. Shirts must be one color throughout the squadron, and may have only a small squadron patch up to 5″ in diameter over the left chest. But, only on Fridays.

Morale Patches are back! if you’re wearing a bag anyway. And, only on Fridays. Remember those pithy little tabs everyone had made that went on the pen pocket Velcro when you cut off the flap? Those are back too. But only on, you guessed it, Fridays.

Sister Service Qualification Badges are back! Looking at the AFI, it appears that it’s now game on. Not only are sister service aeronautical badges authorized but also the Army badges previously authorized with the BDU such as Air Assault and Pathfinder. Based on what I saw in the AFI it also looks like badges such as USN warfare pins are now also authorized for wear on the ABU and service dress a similar fashion to a Group 4 badge in the US Army. Additionally, tabs like ‘Ranger’ and ‘Special Forces’ are also once again authorized for wear. However, for some odd reason, the US Army ‘Airborne’ tab is in the AFI and it has never been an individual award but rather a part of a unit’s Shoulder Sleeve Insignia. Although, admittedly, back in the day I saw Airmen assigned to joint units like JCSE wear it stand alone on their sleeve.

Unmanned Aerial System / Sensor Operator Badges? Yep, they join Cyber Operations and have their own badges now so they can be held in contempt by the other ‘Operators.’

No More Color Restrictions for Running Shoes! Pretty self explanatory.

No More Reflective Belts! That is unless your CC is a spineless, risk averse toad. Then, you’re screwed. It’s up to the local commander now.

No More Wire Hangers! I just threw that one in for fun. It’s only a rule if you’re named Christina Crawford.

You Can Wear Black Socks for PT Not sure why you’d want to, but you can.

Maintainers Must Wear Green Boots Black boots are out, sorry guys.

Cell Phones No Longer Have to be Black This is the one change to AFI 36-2903 that will have the biggest impact. Everybody is carrying a cell phone and most everyone has been out of regs for the past few years because somebody wanted everyone to have the same color of phone. The only guys with Black phones were the ones with taps on their low quarters. So, now that’s fixed and no more Letters of Counseling for that hot pink phone. Just don’t attach it to your uniform or purse and you’ll be ok.

Now, if the Army could just itself together and release the update to AR 670-1.

45 Responses to “USAF Updates Uniform Instruction AFI 36-2903”

  1. Alex says:

    So now the 3 or 4 former US Army Infantry guys I know who are now in the AF can wear their Combat Infantry Badges on their AF uniforms? Same with the JTACs, CCTs, PJs, etc that have been assigned to Army units and been awarded them? Very cool.

    • SSD says:

      I doubt an Air Force guy has been awarded a CIB. Was probably a CAB. The CIB was in Air Force uniform regs going back to right after WW II when many crossed over to the new service. When the ABU came along, most everything came off. Now, they are back.

      • Flymedic05 says:

        I was in the Army for 4 years @ Ft. Drum 2-14 Inf, i was awarded my CIB for Iraq and i was pissed when i couldn’t wear my CIB when they changed the regs for ABU’s and Class A’s. So glad I can wear it again.

        • SSD says:

          Just remember to wear it below everything else.

          • BluewithaGreenheart says:

            I am also an ex 11B now in the Air Force. I now currently have a CIB on my ABU’s earned from the Sandbox. No where does the AFI state that it must be worn under any other badge nor would any true Grunt allow it to be. I also had it custom made to be black on sage just like my Army jump wings. Not blue on sage. I am proud to be a NCO in the AF but the greatest honor I have had is earning that badge under fire with my brothers. I am glad for the changes but to my fellow Green to Blue grunts and CAB holders. Never drop those badge beneath any less than a MoH!

            • Simp says:

              I earned the CAB while attached to a army unit in afghanistan the regulation if very vauge on placement. I was going to put it above my AFSC bage, and colors of these. Just says it has to be a patch, Is black autorized?

              • sandsock says:

                I’m guessing there will be an official version of the CAB by the summer, because the only mandatory badge will be Commander Pins, so others like the CAB should follow around the same time (because Clothing Sales will look at it as a way to boost profits)

            • AFRgrDoc says:


              Where do you find a custom made black-on-sage CIB? I also went from Green to Blue and all I can find is black-on-ACU or black-on-OD (for the old woodland BDU) to go on my ABU. Thanks!

    • Riceball says:

      Yes, but only on Fridays. j/k

    • MikeP says:

      In order to be awarded the CIB your primary MOS must be either 11 series (Infantry) or 18 series (Special Forces). I do not know of any members of the Air Force (JTAC/CCT/PJ or not) whose primary MOS is an 11 or 18 Series…

      • SSD says:

        Exactly. You could have been awarded it in while in US Army.

        • Alex says:

          My bad, I thought it was an “on the side” thing that was awarded for AFSOC guys supporting Army units (ODAs, etc).

          • SSD says:

            USAF members have been awarded the Combat Action Badge.

            • Nate says:

              Someone might want to inform this JTAC then:


              • SSD says:

                Other than improperly wearing it, how do you know he didn’t earn it in the Army?

                • nate says:

                  I was there when he was awarded it

                  • SSD says:

                    Army regulations make it impossible to award a CIB to anyone who is not an 11-series or 18-series (minus 18D which is eligible for the CMB). As there are no equivalents to either MOS in the USAF, it is quite impossible that he was properly awarded a CIB.

                    The US Army created the Combat action Badge to recognize non-Infantry/SF Soldiers who have engaged in combat with the enemy. This badge has, on occasion also been awarded to Airmen who accompany Army units into action.

                    • Ryan says:

                      Pay attention to detail. That airman was obviously in the Army before the Air Guard. He has five Army awards to include the army service ribbon, NCO prof dev ribbon, army good conduct medal, etc.

              • JTAC says:

                Just so you know. TSgt Delaney was an 11B before becoming a JTAC. That is why he and many others wear the CIB. Most other battlefield airmen can wear the CAB. FYSA

    • MedicW-1 says:

      Does it say how many badges are authorized and there placement or dose it fall in the same category as the Army.

    • Joe says:

      Can someone site the paragraph in the updated 2903 where it states the wear of the shoulder tabs such as Ranger, SF, or Airborne so I can review.
      Cannot find the specific entry on this.

  2. Scott says:

    Well I know at least one thing, reflective belts will never go away since its left up to commanders….

  3. DGR says:

    I still say its a trap. In 3 weeks they will silently switch back, write a bunch of LOCs and LORs for violations, which puts you on the rollback list and then poof, 25k Airman gone!

    This is the only reason why I can see them allowing neon running shoes with black socks….. I can hear a thousand crusty old Chiefs rolling in the grave.

    • Buckaroomedic says:

      Oh, you mean the “crusty old Chiefs” who won’t give up their huge sleeve rank?

  4. majrod says:

    Casual Fridays exist in the Air Force just like the corporate world?

  5. Sgt. B says:

    Sadly, the reflective belt requirement still exists outside of the PT uniform.

    • SmeliDeli says:

      Actually, I think the only regulation pertains to mx personnel and others jobs that would require it due to safety. At our base it’s not required, we use a “common sense” methods in regards to the wear of it.

  6. James says:

    Nothing in this regulation is an improvement until the ABU goes away. There is no way to improve this uniform aside from scrapping it all together!

  7. Gruntled says:

    And the Army still can’t update 670-1. Oh well if I need to look up how to wear BDU’s and Class A’s (Greens) I know where to look.

  8. Nate says:

    Anyone know if my Coast Guard permanent Marine Safety Insignia is authorized?

  9. Chuck says:

    Get rid of the stupid V neck undershirt!!!!!!!!!!!! I feel like I should be heading to the disco with my gold chains on….

  10. 10thMountainMan says:

    I have to say this is a rare occasion of the Army being smarter than the Air Force. They realized local commanders would never stop making us wear PT belts so they decided to save us money and remove reflective material from the new PT Uniform. Glad they made peace with reality.

  11. James B. says:

    Does anyone know if these changes allow for the wear of the CAB in ABU’s now? I see people discussing a previously earned CIB in ABU’s, but not if the CAB is allowed. I received one recently while in Afghanistan w/ an Army unit, and would be thrilled if I could actually wear it now.

  12. Collins says:

    Does anyone know all the tabs that were approved to be worn on the crest of the sleeve in ABU’s. Obviously the ranger and SF were. I was wondering more on tabs such as the arctic tab.

    • SSD says:

      Arctic tab? Lol. That isn’t exactly something you wear in the Army outside of Alaska. What the heck, if you’re in the Air Force, go for it.

      The reg has an illustration with Airborne (for whatever reason), Special Forces, Ranger, and Sapper.

      Missing are the President’s One Hundred and Honor Guard tabs. One is earned, the other part of an SSI.

      Read the narrative. It isn’t real specific.

      But this makes me wonder if the SERE Specialist tab is back in or not.

      As an aside, I bet Air Force grads of the Mountain Leader Course could get away with wearing the Ram’s Head now.

  13. Jerry says:

    All those badges and 50 cents still only get you a cup of coffee. Now we will have a bunch of clothing sales hero”s who”s going to ask all these retards to prove they earned all those badges. I think the AF Force got it right when they banned all of them.

  14. Nooner says:

    I keep reading through this “new guidance” and my question is this:

    I want to know if all of us former Army guys and/or current AF guys that were attached to Army units can wear their unit combat patch.(right sleeve)

    We were given them in an Army formation with certificates. We wore them the entire time we were attached to them. Where is the guidance on this?

    combat veterans are authorized permanent wear of the SSI of the unit they fought with on their right shoulder. This shoulder sleeve insignia recognizes “former wartime service” and is frequently called a “combat patch”. Per Army Regulation 670-1

  15. Mark says:

    RPA Sensor Operators have had their own wings since 2010. This isn’t new.