Posted on May 17, 2015
SSG Air Defense Battle Management System Operator
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Asu_hat
When it comes to the Army Service Uniform (ASU), there are a few opportunities to display your branch colors. The shoulder board rank for officers is colored for that officer's branch, and this is universal. Some things are not.

For example, I'm in air defense artillery and my branch color is scarlet red. During certain special events such as Saint Barbara's Day Ball (the patron saint of artillery) and other events deemed so by the commander, males can opt for a red bow tie in place of the black one. Females, however, have no such opportunity and are instead required to stick with the same black neck tab as always. As an NCO, this is really the only time I'm affected, but it's a shame I can't display my artillery pride. I have intense pride in my branch as it is the first one out of the main three (infantry, artillery, and cavalry) to allow females to serve, but I can't showcase that and am a black neck tab in a sea of red bow ties. Why can't we authorize something like a red neck tab?

This is just one small case, but it gets worse as rank increases. I am looking into either direct commission or going warrant officer. There are 25 options of hats for the ASU for male officers at the company grade level, each displaying a different color for the branch. Whether you are infantry, signal, logistics, or finance, you have a dress blue cap to go with it and signify your branch. Male officers of all branches can display their branch pride. For female officers, regardless of branch, there is one hat. It is the plain black female officer ASU hat- no branch signifier. The only way you can know a female officer's branch is by looking at her lapels and her shoulder board rank, both of which you'd have to be standing next to her to see.

Why are there no options for females to display their branch? Even if it's a matter of supply and demand (females account for approximately 17% of the active duty Army as a whole, 14% of the officer corps), what's the price for allowing everyone in the same branch and unit to be part of the same group, to show the same pride? Instead, the females are just little specks of black in the sea of red (or blue, kelly green, etc).

As of 2012, there were almost 20,000 female officers (commissioned and warrant) in the U.S. Army and just over 80,000 male officers (commissioned and warrant). That means approximately 1 in 5 commissioned and warrant officers in the U.S. Army are female. Can we really not justify branch-specific caps for female officers? We can't justify something as simple as a red neck tab?
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Responses: 11
CSM Charles Hayden
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Edited >1 y ago
Simple, have a tailor shop make a Scarlet neck tab for you. Then, see if anyone wearing a Scarlet bowtie has the gall to challenge you! My guess is that if anyone notices, they will compliment you!

You will wear ADA collar brass?
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TSgt Joshua Copeland
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Submit a suggestion up to your uniform board (or whatever the Army calls it). I will say the army has more options as a whole to share your MOS pride. On the AF side, the only thing that shows what your MOS is are our Occupation Badges.
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Sgt Aaron Kennedy, MS
Sgt Aaron Kennedy, MS
>1 y
We don't even have that, unless you're a pilot.
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CW4 G L Smith
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Edited >1 y ago
USMC has no branch colors and does fine. I think we'd do fine without it also. Sometimes we look like a box of crayolas. :)
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Sgt Aaron Kennedy, MS
Sgt Aaron Kennedy, MS
>1 y
Glad someone in the Army said this.
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SPC Charles Brown
SPC Charles Brown
>1 y
It only takes one voice to speak the sentiments of many Sgt Aaron Kennedy, MS.
CW4 G L Smith Well said Chief.
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SPC Combat Engineer
SPC (Join to see)
>1 y
I think General officers uniforms look the best (no branch colors). I mean, do you have any idea how freaking many branch colors we have? There's no way you can tell who's who. Just go with the dark blue shoulder boards and gold braids on the caps and be done with it.
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SSG(P) Auston Terry
SSG(P) Auston Terry
>1 y
There's not that many actual branch colors. There are 25-ish including enlisted only branches. In the same way you can tell what kind of company a unit is by it's guidon branch colors are relatively easy to identify. The outliers like cyber defense will always have to tell people who they are.
I still think we should go back to officers having to wear their branch in utility uniforms.
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