This Independence Day, we want to show our American patriotism and recognize our soldiers. Some of the most notable uniforms of all time belong to soldiers, and we want to learn more about what different aspects of these uniforms mean! So here’s a quick look at the uniforms for the different branches of the armed service.
The United States Army uniform has seen some serious changes in the over 200 years it’s been in existence. This awesome video does a great job of summing up the different looks over the years, but here are a few more nuanced nuggets:
- A service cap was instituted in 1821, in order to save the expensive uniform cap from fatigue duty. That cap has evolved into the one used in today’s army combat uniform.
- In 1902, the officer’s chinstrap was made gold, a tradition that continued with the new Army Green uniform of 1954.
- The well-known chevron insignia first appeared in 1821.
- Up until 1902, blue was the main color for army uniforms. With the adoption of service dress in khaki and olive drab that year, green became the main color and blue was reserved for dress uniforms.
- Currently, the Army has four different iterations of its uniform: the combat uniform, the officer uniform, the blue Army service uniform, and the physical fitness uniform.
The first Navy uniform was created way back in 1817. In the early days, the War Department declared that enlisted sailors would wear “blue jackets and trousers, red vest with yellow buttons and a black hat,” but funding was short and these guidelines were scarcely enforced.
Now, the United States Navy has three main uniforms, all of which have strict guidelines:
- Dress uniforms. These are designed for formal occasions, and include numerous subcategories, ranging from less formal to most formal.
- Service uniforms. These are designed for daily use, and are intended to wear in office environments, public, and watch situations.
- Working uniforms. Intended for wear in non-office working environments at sea and ashore.
Variations of all these uniform exist between Enlisted Sailors and Commissioned Officers.
The Air Force uniform was borne out of the Army uniform, as the two branches of service were intertwined for much of their history. In 1946, the Air Force split off as its own organization, and the leaders decided the uniforms would be blue. In 1950, the first distinctive blue Air Force uniform was introduced. Now, there are many different versions of the uniform, which include:
- Service/Mess Dress
- Physical Training
- Flight Duty
The United States Marine Corps was formed in November of 1775. The earliest uniforms were made with green broadcloth, and the iconic dark blue we see in today’s Marine uniforms was instituted in 1798. The first official uniform guides required coats made of dark blue broadcloth with red facing. Instead of regular buttons, the coats featured brass naval buttons.
Now, the uniforms are broken up into three main categories:
- Field: MARPAT desert and woodland coat and trousers (sweater or sweatshirt optional).
- Dress: Generally a blue coat and white trousers/skirt/slacks.
Service: Green coat or khaki long-sleeve shirt w/green trousers/skirt/slacks.