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US Space Force OCP Guidance

The US Space is only a year old so it hasn’t gotten around to issuing much in the form of regulations or guidance yet, but it has issued guidance on how to wear the Operational Camouflage Pattern uniform, aka the ACU.

Space Force Guidance Memorandum 2020-36-01 published late last month spells it out. Although there aren’t many enlisted in the fledgling service yet, they’ve already started deploying space support teams to ongoing operations, taking over the role long filled by USAF Space Professionals.

As far as insignia goes, the minimum configuration consists of a full-color US flag patch, grade insignia, occupational badge, and name and service tapes with space blue embroidery on three-color OCP background. Insignia can be sewn on or Velcro, but it all must be the same.

USSF occupational badges are mandatory, but sister revive badges are optional. However, only two can be worn at a time.

The full-color US flag will be worn on the left sleeve, “centered at the top of the velcro, and worn unless deployed to a contingency operation that aligns under separate/independent OCP wear guidance.”

A higher headquarters patch is required to be worn centered below the flag patch on the left. Spice brown subdued patches are authorized until space blue patches are available. The assigned unit patch is required to be worn centered on the velcro patch of the right sleeve.

Space Professionals will wear velcro or sewn-on space blue name tapes on the back of their patrol caps, and officers will also wear rank insignia on the front.

No word on the configuration of enlisted ranks yet, as the service is waiting to see whether they’ll be forced to use naval ranks. But my money is on USAF-style stripes with the star replaced with the Space Force Delta like CMSgt Roger A Towberman is wearing in his official photo as Senior Enlisted Advisor of the United States Space Force.

Regardless, there’s a grace period until April 1, 2021, for members to update their uniforms to the Space Force-specific configuration. Former Airmen may also continue to wear ABUs until 1 April.

17 Responses to “US Space Force OCP Guidance”

  1. Matt says:

    Interestingly, the memorandum of uniform wear begins:

    “By Order of the Secretary of the Air Force, this Space Force Guidance Memorandum immediately establishes USSF OCP uniform wear guidance.”

    If the Space Force is now a new separate service, why is the Secretary of the Air Force dictating its’ uniform policy?


    • Matt2 says:

      The Secretary of the Air Force is the civilian head of component the same as the Secretary of the Navy is the head of the US Marine Corps.

    • FormerDirtDart says:

      Because the USSF falls under the Department of the Air Force, and the SecAF is their service Secretary. Just like the USMC falls under the Department of the Navy, and the SecNav is their service Secretary

    • Dan says:

      There is no Secretary of the Space Force.

      “The USSF was established within the Department of the Air Force, meaning the Secretary of the Air Force has overall responsibility for the USSF, under the guidance and direction of the Secretary of Defense.”

  2. FormerDirtDart says:

    Personally I think if they’re going to keep the Air Force style enlisted rank, they should replace the roundel in the stripes with the delta.

    • SSD says:

      That’s what I think will happen.

      • FormerDirtDart says:

        Yeah, the current hot mess they’re using won’t really work if a USSF Command Chief Master Sergeant is ever selected to be Senior Enlisted Advisor to the Chairman.

        Plus, once they get around to designing/selecting their own branch service uniforms they should look at changing the rank insignia’s coloring.

  3. AbnMedOps says:

    Glad they are not doing that abominal (scratch that, I’m sometimes too harsh in expressing my opinions – substitute “mistaken”) reverse-image US flag patch.

    • Bob says:

      It’s not reversed, it’s oriented in the direction of movement.

    • GANDIS says:

      With the union to the left, per flag code.

      • Bob says:

        The flag code only specifies that when the flag is displayed on a wall.

        • Ex11A says:

          Man, those Space Men are smart. They’ve already figured out how to wear the flag without having to get reversed flags. Too bad the Army couldn’t figure that out. Now wait for all the Army Sergeants Major to run around and tell the space guys they have their flags on the wrong shoulder.

          • SSD says:

            That will be amusing

          • Bob says:

            Ever look at the flags painted on the right side of the tail of a C130?

            They are all “reversed” because they are correctly oriented in the direction of movement.

          • AbnMedOps says:

            Yes, the right side is traditionally the position of honor (“Right-Hand Man “, “Right of the Line of Battle”, and all that…), but flag patches were traditionally worn on the left because it is closer to the heart.

      • AbnMedOps says:

        I’ve read the Flag Code backwards and forwards (see what I did there?), and to my best interpretation, it pertains to real, actual flags, not representations of the flag. Possibly ambiguous. The flag patch, and the flag decal on the C-130’s, are representations of the flag, not actual flags flying from a pole…so I still maintain that the “backwards” patch is an affectation – well intended, but mistaken.

        Supporting evidence: when a representation (patch or decal) of a mono-sided State Flag (for example, one with words or a motto) is displayed on a uniform or vehicle, there is no corresponding reverse image version.

        Anyway, I’m still saving my pennies for a little bitty old airplane, so one day I can put the flag stickers on the tail my way, and feel smug in my contrariness. 🙂

  4. jjer says:

    Putting navy style rank inisgnias on USAF uniform would propably get USSF looking like those “McPeak” uniforms from early 90ties.