Tactical Tailor

Posts Tagged ‘ABU’

Air Force Chooses Stain-Resistant Boot

Tuesday, February 2nd, 2010

When the Air Force adopted the ABU and its associated Digital Tiger Stripe pattern, they also selected a new rough out Sage Green boot to complement it. Unfortunately, for those Airmen working in industrial areas such as the flight line, fuels, and maintenance the suede absorbed fuel, lubricants, and other liquids and not only looked awful, but were hazardous as well.

Sage Green, full-grain leather boot with rubber heel and toe reinforcements

In a 45 day test at Luke Air Force Base, Arizona, 200 Airmen in the maintenance, medical, and civil engineering career fields tried out four different boot designs.

· “Style A” – A hot weather, safety-toe boot construction with full-grain, smooth sage green leather.
· “Style B” – A temperate weather boot constructed with full-grain, smooth sage green leather. This test boot was the only non-safety toe boot included in the wear test. This boot was only tested on Airmen in non-flight line, non-industrial work environments that did not require a safety toe.
· “Style C” – A hot weather, safety-toe boot constructed with full-grain, smooth sage green leather. The heel and toe areas of the boot had rubber reinforcements that are also sage green in color.
· “Style D” – A temperate weather, safety-toe construction with full-grain, smooth sage green leather.

In the end, the Air Force Uniform Office recommended the adoption of a Sage Green, full-grain leather boot with rubber heel and toe reinforcements. As an interim solution, Air Force maintenance troops have been wearing Black boots due to the poor performance of teh standard issue boots in industrial applications. However, they will have to transition to the new Sage Green boots as they become available. It is important to note that this boot will be solely for use by Airmen working in industrial areas.

100% Cotton ABU Now Available From Propper

Thursday, November 27th, 2008


Propper has struck a major coup for Airmen everywhere by offering a 100% version of the ABU. This is an excellent alternative to the current issue garment which has drawn a lot of heat from the field due to its heavy fabric.

Men’s 100% Cotton ABUs are already available and women’s sizes will also be available in the next 2-3 weeks.

ABU Coat ABU Trouser

The men’s coat comes in sizes 36-48 in short, regular and long lengths and the men’s trousers are available in sizes 30-42 in short, regular and long lengths. Women’s sizes for both the coat and trousers are size 4 in short and regular lengths and sizes 6-16 in extra short, short, regular and long lengths.

The 100% Cotton ABU does not have a permanent press finish but is NIR-compliant.

Propper’s Part numbers are:
F542555 – Men’s coat
F542655 – Women’s coat
F521555 – Men’s trouser
F521655 – Women’s trouser

Contact Propper for more information.

Photos from Propper.

The Danger of Optical Brighteners

Monday, June 9th, 2008

This article courtesy of

Some detergents a hazard for ABUs

EIELSON AIR FORCE BASE, Alaska--Pictured, the Army Combat Uniform, with material identical to the Airman Battle Uniform, shows the difference optical brighteners make under ultra-violet lighting. Laundry detergents with additives known as
Download HiRes

by compiled from staff reports
354th Fighter Wing Public Affairs

9/4/2007 – EIELSON AIR FORCE BASE, Alaska — Laundry additives known as “optical brighteners” should not be used for washing the Airman Battle Uniform.

Laundry instructions for ABUs specify not using any laundry detergents that contain optical brighteners.

Optical Brighteners make the ABU more detectable by night vision equipment and make the ABU more visible in a low-light environment of any kind, by reflecting more of any available light.

Optical brighteners are chemicals that absorb the ultraviolet and violet region of colors in a fabric. They trick the eye into seeing a brighter shade and reflect more light.

Near Infrared (nIR) capability of the ABU is degraded when washed with detergents containing optical brighteners. Because most commercial detergents contain optical brighteners, there is generally no indication on the packaging.

The impact of optical brighteners is permanent, it cannot be washed out.

Laundry detergents that do not contain optical brighteners:
Bold Powder
Cheer Liquid (all versions)
Cheer Powder (all versions)
All Powder (all versions)
Surf Powder (all versions)
All Detergent Free Clear Country Save Liquid Detergent
Allen’s Naturally Laundry Detergent (liquid and powder)
Bi-O-Kleen Laundry Detergent (liquid and powder)
Charlie’s Soap (liquid and powder)
ECOS Free and Clear Laundry Detergent
Mountain Green Liquid Laundry Detergent
Nature Clean (liquid and powder)
Ecover Ecological Liquid Detergent
Oxy-Prime Powdered Laundry Detergent
Planet Ultra laundry detergents
Seventh Generation Laundry detergents
SportwashSun and Earth LiquidSurf Powder (not Surf Liquid)
Woolite, original and dark.

*No federal endorsement of products intended

Field Jacket – a Eulogy

Thursday, May 29th, 2008

Don’t expect to see a tear filled goodbye to the Field Jacket from me. Instead I am jumping for joy. Starting in FY09 the Army will cease fielding the M-65 Field jacket. Instead, each Soldier will be issued a Gen II ECWCS (Extreme Cold Weather Clothing System) parka in UCP (Universal Camouflage Pattern) and it will be transferred as an OCIE item with the Soldier from assignment to assignment much like the laundry bag.

It amazes me to see so many still wearing the venerable M-65. The basic design for the M-65 hails from WW II and remained relatively unchanged over the years. Soldiers wore the M-43 Field Coat during their march to Berlin. Over the years there were small changes like a redesigned collar or the introduction of Quarpel (Quartermaster Water Repellent), the precursor to today’s DWR treatments. In the 80s the Field Jacket was transformed from OD Green to Woodland Camo but the basic design didn’t change. Later a 3-Color Desert variant was issued as Organizational Clothing for operations in the CENTCOM AOR. Finally, when the ACU was fielded the Field Jacket saw its latest change. The pattern was changed to UCP and velcro was added to the sleeves for shoulder sleeve insignia and to the zipper flap for rank.

Its replacement, the Army version of the Gen II ECWCS parka is also in UCP and began its life as a Marine Corps garment. The Marine Corps wanted a replacement for the first generation of ECWCS which featured out dated design features. The Marine Corps has moved on to an even more improved version of the garment called APECS (All Purpose Environmental Clothing System). The USAF has also adopted APECS in conjunction with their switch to the ABU.
ACU Field JacketUCP Gen II ECWCS