Wear the uniform with pride

  • Published
  • By Chief Master Sgt. Robert Cluka
  • 934th Airlift Wing Command Chief
The military uniform goes back centuries; as armies trained and organized they dressed in uniforms. From the Romans to the British, uniforms gave members a sense of pride and loyalty to their countries, it gave leaders the ability to recognize and direct their armies on the battle field, a great advantage not all leaders had. During the Revolutionary and Civil Wars the Continental Army and the armies of the North and South were unable to supply and cloth their troops. Some of the uniforms worn by the North looked closer to the uniforms of the South, confusing both sides and in some cases causing deadly decisions.

We must be prepared not only to don our uniform, but wear it with pride. To say I only wear my blues once a year, or I didn't have time to update everything, or the AFI changed and I wasn't aware of the requirement is no excuse. We must take the time to show off our blues whenever we can. Not only to keep our uniform up to date, but also for the sense of pride that it gives us.

We are a nation at war, and members of the armed services are fighting and dying protecting our nation in uniform. That alone should motivate us to ensure when we're out in public we are looking sharp and within the standards that the Air Force has set forth. We must also understand and wear the uniform properly within work areas and within our installations. To mix and match any combination because it keeps me warmer, or it fits me better, or that item wasn't in stock, reflects poorly on us as Airmen, leaders, and members of the Armed Services.

I recently attended a high school function that required the class to dress formally. I saw a young man wearing his dress greens from the Army National Guard. I thought wow, he looks sharp. As he approached I saw that he was wearing an earring. I was shocked and my wife asked me if you were allowed to have earrings in uniform. I said no and he knows better. He offended several generations of vets, and for what? To impress his buddies?

In the 28 years of serving my nation, I too have taken for granted the opportunity to wear my uniform. Other than my wife and children most of my families have never seen me in uniform. My parents had only seen me in uniform when I was a young Airman. I had plenty of chances to wear my blues or invite them to one of the many events when I was in my blues, but just didn't seem to have the time. Recently my family saw me in my blues for the first time in many years. The same day I laid my father to rest at the Veterans Cemetery at Camp Ripley.

My father would have enjoyed seeing me in uniform, a veteran of 30 years he would have understood the special feeling you get from wearing a uniform. Take advantage of the time you service and wear your uniform with pride.