Tactical Tailor

The Air Force Is Teaching Airmen How To Wear The ACU

It doesn’t matter how much the Air Force refers to their recently adopted Army Combat Uniform as “OCPs” (for the camouflage pattern), the tags will still say “Army Combat Uniform”.

As the 1 October roll out date nears, the Air Force Personnel Center has started releasing guidance to the force on how to wear the ACU. Despite wearing Patrol Caps with the BDU, DCU and ABU, Airmen have apparently forgotten how to wear it. And oh yeah, many are unhappy ballcaps aren’t authorized.

Whoo! All these questions about the new Operational Camouflage Uniform! AFI 36-2903 does the heavy lifting for you, but sometimes you just want to hear it from the source, like us!

First up in our OCP series: The Patrol Cap.

Airmen will wear the patrol cap straight on the head so that the CAP BAND creates a straight line around the head, parallel to the ground. Officer rank is Spice Brown – EXCEPT for first lieutenants and lieutenant colonels who are required to wear black rank (starting next April). Chaplains may wear the chaplain occupational badge sewn-on and centered ½ inch above the visor.

WHEN can Airmen wear the OCP patrol cap? Starting Oct. 1, but of course, if you wear the cap, you should be wearing the entire OCP uniform. No mixing and matching ABUs, BDUs and OCPs!

WHERE do you get OCPs if you want to wear them Oct. 1? First – check with your leadership. They may want to wait until they have your unit/org patches available before they authorize wear of OCPs. Otherwise, Airmen with previously-owned, serviceable OCPs (not multi-cams) can wear them with current patches and badges.

$$ What if you don’t want to buy OCPs just yet? That’s ok, too. The mandatory wear date for all Airmen to wear the OCP isn’t until April 1, 2021, so plenty of time to get your new uniform ready! Visit our website for more info at www.afpc.af.mil/Career-Management/Dress-and-Appearance

26 Responses to “The Air Force Is Teaching Airmen How To Wear The ACU”

  1. Madison says:

    Maybe now the Air Force will start to actually adhere to uniform regulations. Seeing some of them walk around I am reminded of Office Space and its “15 mandatory pieces of flair” line. Also with them not being able to wear ball caps anymore won’t let them use their sidearms as hat racks while indoors.

  2. b_rawrd says:

    Spice Brown lettering…so hot right now #highfashion.

  3. Matt says:

    Even to this day many Airman cant wear their hat right. They cram the thing down on their heads as if it was a ball cap. Many do the ‘ranger-roll’ thing thinking they are Army (prohibited in 36-2903 verbatim). Security Forces sends theirs out to be altered lower (eye roll). C’mon people.

  4. Marcus says:

    Oh please. Any chance to pick on Air Force.

    *rolls eyes*

    This is good guidance because of the recent change. But please spare me the nonsense that Air Force is the only one wearing the patrol cap wrong. I’ve seen plenty of Big Army wearing it like they’re in a rap video or the Club.

  5. WagenCAV says:

    Colonel and General officer rank will be “spice” brown?

    • WagenCAV says:

      And captain?

    • Airborne_fister says:

      How do you tell the difference between a maj and Ltc. col?

      • WagenCAV says:

        Story states that ALL Officer rank will be spice brown with the exception of 1LT and LTC.

        Last I checked, CPT, COL, and all General Ranks wore silver as dress standard, therefore black subdued.

        So my question was: is the AF going to make captains, full birds and generals wear spice brown? Cuz that’s really stupid if true. They’ll look like the ranks worn by highway patrolmen

        • Sam says:

          Not to mention that the Spice Brown thread is significantly harder to dustinguish at distance against a Scorpion/multicam background than the black thread rank. Up until now, black rank was worn by officers, except for 2LT and Maj. With enlisted ranks being SB in color, this is going to make it much more difficult to spot officers in time for a salute prompt enough for the more sensitive folks to not have hurt feelings.

          • WagenCAV says:

            Agreed. Besides, the black and gold ranks are already abundant. Why do the services continually want to reinvent the wheel? Not to mention set themselves up for possible supply shortages and overall lack of availability?

            • Papa6 says:

              Doesn’t really matter what color the “O’s” wear if the enlisted don’t wear rank on their PC’s too. It’s all just sniper bait . . .

  6. MISoldier says:

    Did they change the boots to ours too? Those weird looking green boots with the ABU would look awful with the Scorpion pattern green so I really hope so.

    And what about flag officers, full bird Colonels and Captains? Black or the brown color? Inquiring minds who work purple a lot want to know.

  7. jt says:

    we don’t need to know how to wear a patrol cap, we need guidance on authorized colors for unit patches! c’mon….

  8. GANDIS says:

    Define “previously owned OCP (not multicam)”. AFAIK, and read in 2903, anything previously issued in multicam or scorpion is authorized for wear. This is the first place I have seen saying multicam is not authorized for wear on 1 Oct. Are we talking multicam, as in Velcro flap shoulder pockets are not authorized?

    • JH says:

      I wondered this as well. But, OCPs are not the same pattern as multicams, from my understanding. I have ACUs (multicam pattern) issued twice in 2011-2013 and they are certainly different than the newer OCPs I’ve seen recently. Am I wrong on this?

      • SSD says:

        Well, OCP is a camouflage pattern. It was designed by baselining MultiCam and making it less effective.

        The ACU has also gone a uniform cut change. The most significant change is of the shoulder pockets. The older ones have a top flap and the newer models have a zippered front.

  9. 101guy says:

    You’re telling me. You should see how some of these guys walk around KAF. Morale patches, ballcaps, and they carry weapons like they are some kind of burden forced on them. Let’s not even talk about all of the makeup and earrings that are out there.

    • Sean says:

      Nothing like going outside the wire with USAF OSI in afghanistan and watching them be more concerned about maintaining control of their gatorade bottles than their M4s. *eyeroll*

  10. RN says:

    @Matt I’m AF and work with Army.. all I see them do is ranger roll their PC’s, which is also forbidden in their instructions (AR 670-1). So don’t pretend it’s just AF that does it. Also, Security Forces are allowed to wear the beret still, if the commander authorizes it. So we aren’t stuck with just wearing PC’s. Our boots will be going coyote brown.