When the Army was developing its new Army Green Service Uniform it asked soldiers for design input -- specifically female soldiers. And what did they want? Pants.
A panel of female soldiers overwhelmingly expressed a preference for pants to be the default uniform item for the female AGSU rather than a skirt, according to Col. Stephen Thomas, project manager for soldier survivability at PEO Soldier. Thomas said the female panel wanted all soldiers to look the same -- in pants. Thomas called that concept "profound."
"I thought that was pretty profound, for that all-female board to come up with that decision," Thomas said.
Women still have the option to purchase and wear a skirt with the uniform if they choose.
The new AGSU is meant to harken back to the green uniforms of World War II -- a time when far, far fewer women wore the uniform. Army senior leaders pushed for a revamped design to "connect today’s soldiers with the service’s past," an Army release said.
“Designers put together illustrations of different design options for various coat styles. These were early concepts where we started thinking about how we could actually modernize the designs,” Annette LaFleur, design team lead at CCDC Soldier Center said. “The current configuration of the uniform really is very close to what you would have seen during the World War II-era. It really speaks back to that heritage and we haven't changed that much in terms of the aesthetics of the uniform.”
In addition to a different color scheme, the AGSU has curved pocket flaps and a more rugged look than the Army Service Uniform, which the AGSU will eventually replace.
Soldiers have until 2027 when the uniform becomes mandatory to obtain the $500 get-up, but some -- recruiters and drill sergeants as well as senior Army leadership -- are already wearing them.
“They’re very jealous,” Sgt. Rochelle Walsingham, a recruiter in Fort Smith, Arkansas, said. “They said, ‘What? You already get yours?’ I said, ‘Yeah, and I don’t have to pay for it.’”