Posted on May 17, 2015
SSG Mack Rixe
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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: 10
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
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We don't even have that, unless you're a pilot.
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MSG Tom Earley
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Edited >1 y ago
If your commander can authorize the Red Bow Tie, he/she can surely authorize something Red for the female troops to where. I'm an old Cavalry Scout, and whether you were male or female if you had earned your spurs you wore your spurs at unit functions. If you had a Stetson you wore it, with the cord on the Stetson in the color of you specific branch.
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