Brooks to serve as initial venue to test fit new service coat - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Brooks to serve as initial venue to test fit new service coat

BROOKS CITY-BASE, Texas. - About 150 Airmen from Brooks City-Base, Lackland and Randolph Air Force Bases in Texas, will participate in a fit test of the new Air Force Heritage service dress coat here Jan. 28 - Feb. 1.

Subsequent fit tests in February and March are slated for the Air Force Academy and Maxwell-Gunter AFB, Ala. prior to an official wear test period scheduled for this summer.

The initiative to replace the current Air Force service dress coat was inaugurated in 2006 by Gen. T. Michael Moseley, Air Force Chief of Staff.

"Only the service coat is being replaced," said Capt. Jonathan Pellum, Heritage Coat program manager for the 648th Aeronautical Systems Squadron here. "General Moseley wanted the coat updated to reflect Air Force heritage."

The 648th AESS, part of the 77th Aeronautical Systems Group, is tasked with conducting the series of fit tests for Airmen.

"Once we complete the fit test at Maxwell, we will be able to provide initial data by May to the Air Force Chief of Staff," Captain Pellum said. "This data will determine if changes or modifications to the coat are needed before the garment is wear tested. About 200 active-duty members Air Force-wide will test wear the new coat."

The Air Force Uniform Program Office at Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio, is responsible for making modifications to the new coat that currently is a 55 percent polyester/45 percent wool blend.

According to a story by Staff Sergeant J.G. Buzanowski from the Secretary of the Air Force Public Affairs Office, the new service coat has gone through several prototypes. Air Force leaders have since settled on a design similar to the uniform worn by Gen. Henry "Hap" Arnold during World War II.

In Sergeant Buzanowki's story, Brig. Gen. Floyd L. Carpenter, Airmen Development and Sustainment director, said, "We tried several design variations with different lapel styles and sizes, with and without buttons, belted and unbelted, as well as versions with a wide variety of pocket configurations. The prototype coat being tested pulls the strongest mix of detail preferences into one coat and combines them with the latest in textile assembly industry."

General Carpenter said the Air Force Uniform Board will make the decision on final coat modifications. General Moseley has final approval on the new design prior to its production. Captain Pellum estimates, if the program becomes mandatory, the initial cost to be $125 million to manufacture the new coat for the active and Reserve components.

The captain said the Air Force Honor Guard will be among the first to receive the new coat.

by Rudy Purificato
311th Human Systems Wing

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