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PERIOD OFFICER UNIFORM

EXAMPLES

 

ITEMS OWNED BY

OFFICERS

 

USAF OVERCOAT AND

TOPCOAT

1949 Ė PRESENT

 

OVERCOAT

 

The USAF overcoat is a required outer garment. Since the overcoat was adopted, little has changed through the years in regard to style. However, color and types of materials changed over time. The first model adopted in the late 1940s was fabricated from USAF blue shade 85, 28 ounce, all wool velour material. By 1963, the color changed to USAF blue shade 1085 which was a deeper blue tone color. Wool velour was changed to wool velour or serge. By 1971, the overcoat was changed to 60% polyester and 40% wool serge and the color was USAF blue shade 1549. By 1973, the overcoat was given a detachable inner lining to be removed for the different seasons. The liner could easy be detached by the use of a zipper.

 

The overcoat is a double-breasted, six button, beltless model with convertible collar and two buttons under the collar for closing at the neck. The overcoat is fully lined with lining cloth of USAF blue shade 88. The shoulder loops or epaulettes are to extend across the top of the shoulder under the collar. The buttons used on the overcoat are the large 45 ligne one and one-eighth inch on the coat and 25 ligne five-eighths inch on the epaulettes. There are two lower hanging pockets with flaps, with cash pocket inside the right lower pocket and inside breast pocket on the right side.

 

OVC1.jpg

Figure 1: From AFM 35-10 and private collection. First adopted

overcoat style.

General Frank Fort Everest, USAF

 

All general rank officers were required to have sleeve braid on their overcoat. The sleeve braid distinguished them from all other officers. Overcoats used by other officers had no sleeve braid. The braid consisted of two mohair bands around the bottom location on the overcoat sleeve. It would be a one and one-fourth inches braid beneath a one-half inch braid, USAF Blue shade 95. The bottom thick braid would be located two and one-half inches from the bottom of the sleeve. There is a one and one-half inch separation between the lower and upper braid. The rank of the officer was worn on the shoulder epaulettes.

 

OVC2.jpg

Figure 2: From AFM 35-10 and private collection. Overcoat braid

for general and rank on shoulders.

General Frank Fort Everest, USAF

 

Accessory items authorized for wear with the overcoat are gloves and mufflers. The gloves were to be double weave, cotton, gray and gray grain or suede leather. Mufflers were to be all wool, flat-knit, or tubular knit, gray, finished with or without napped surface, width not to exceed ten inches.

 

Instruction for the proper fit has changed little over time. The overcoat should always be fitted when the service coat or jacket (Ike Jacket when they were regulation) is worn. It is a semi-form-fitted garment slightly suppressed at the waist. The shoulder should fit sufficiently loose to accommodate the shoulders of the service coat without binding at the armholes when the arms are moved. The sleeves should extend one-half inch beyond the service coat sleeve. The bottom of the coat should extend to the bottom of the kneecap.

 

In the beginning of the 1970s there was change in the USAF overcoat in regard to material and color.By the 1980s, the overcoat remained the same but was referred to as the Menís Overcoat Outer Garment. There were two different styles of menís Overcoat Outer Garments. The first menís Overcoat Outer Garment was USAF Blue shade 1549, wool and polyester serge, double breasted, six button, and with provisions for removing the liner. The coat has epaulettes, is semi-form-fitting, slightly suppressed at the waist. The shoulders should fit over the service coat and should fit loose enough to accommodate the shoulders of the service coat without binding at the armholes when arms are moved. The sleeves of the coat are to extend Ĺ inch beyond the sleeve of the service coat and the bottom of the coat will end two inches below the bottom of the kneecap. The neck button may be left unbuttoned and the coat may be worn with all service and dress uniforms and over the pullover sweater. It was not recommended for use with civilian clothes because of the USAF buttons on the coat and, in the case of the general officer, military braid around the lower sleeves.

 

Accouterments for the coat include the scarf, gloves earmuffs and Blue Winter Cap. The scarf is Gray USAF shade 1155 or 1164, all wool or cotton simplex, with or without napped surface. The scarf may be flat or tubular knit with a width that does not exceed ten inches. The scarf must be worn tucked in. The gloves are USAF gray shade 1155 knitted wool or black or gray leather plain design without ornamentation or zipper. The earmuffs may be commercial design of any material but they must be plain, solid dark blue, black or gray. The Blue Winter Cap is to be USAF shade 1578, wool and polyester serge mouton, with a snap fastener cover. The cap may be commercial design with ear and neck flaps, ribbon tie or strap with covered metal snap fasteners. This overcoat was to be worn only with a military uniform, not for civilian use.

 

OVC8.jpg

Figure 3: Private collection. Menís Overcoat Outer

Garment Shade 1549 introduced

in the 1970s. Sleeve braid for generals remained the same.

Brigadier General Walter P. Paluch, Jr., USAF

 

The officers are to center regular size metal grade insignia five-eighths inch from the end of the epaulette. Enlisted members are to wear four inch sleeve chevrons centered halfway between the shoulder seam and elbow when the elbow is bent at a 90 degree angle or metal collar grade insignia centered one inch up from the bottom of the collar, parallel to the outer edge. Generals are to wear three-quarter or five-eighths inch stars while lieutenant, major and brigadier generals wear one-inch stars.

 

The second design Menís Overcoat Outer Garment is USAF blue shade 1605. The second design is made of polyester/wool gabardine, is double breasted, is with belt and buckle, has a button throat closure, has shoulder and sleeve straps, center back-vent, facing tabs, has a zip out liner and is water resistant. It should be fitted over the service coat and the shoulders should fit loose enough to accommodate the shoulders of the service coat without binding at the armholes when the arms are moved. The sleeves are to extend one-half inch beyond the sleeve of the service coat and the bottom of the coat will end two inches below the bottom of the kneecap. The neck button may be left unbuttoned. The coat may be worn with all service and dress uniforms and over the pullover sweater. It may be worn with civilian clothes if grade insignia is removed. Very much like the original USAF topcoat.

 

Accouterments for the coat include the scarf, gloves earmuffs and Blue Winter Cap. The scarf is Gray USAF shade 1155 or 1164, all wool or cotton simplex, with or without napped surface. The scarf may be flat or tubular knit with a width that does not exceed ten inches. The scarf must be worn tucked in. The gloves are USAF gray shade 1155 knitted wool or black or gray leather plain design without ornamentation or zipper. The earmuffs may be commercial design of any material but they must be plain, solid dark blue, black or gray. The Blue Winter Cap is to be USAF shade 1578, wool and polyester serge mouton, with a snap fastener cover. The cap may be commercial design with ear and neck flaps, ribbon tie or strap with covered metal snap fasteners.

 

OVC9.jpg

Figure 4: From AFM 35-10. Menís Overcoat Outer

Garment Shade 1605 with dark blue buttons.

 

The officers are to center regular size metal grade insignia five-eighths inch from the end of the epaulette. Enlisted members are to wear four inch sleeve chevrons centered halfway between the shoulder seam and elbow when the elbow is bent at a 90 degree angle or metal collar grade insignia centered one inch up from the bottom of the collar, parallel to the outer edge. Generals are to wear three-quarter or five-eighths inch stars while lieutenant, major and brigadier generals wear one-inch stars. The coat may be worn with all service dress uniforms and over the pullover sweater. It may be worn with civilian clothes if grade insignia is removed.

 

Topcoat

 

The first adopted optional topcoat was for both winter and summer use. It would eventually be known as the ďall seasonís topcoat.Ē It was to be manufactured with a removable inner lining for the changing of the seasons. The topcoat is a double-breasted military trench coat of water repellent all wool Venetian gabardine for the shell. The liner is 10 to 13 ounce all wool and the shell is made of 13 to 15 ounce material. Barathea material was optional for officers only.

 

There are eight plain composition buttons, dark blue, USAF blue shade 83, fastening the coat. The two top buttons are totally concealed by the collar for closing at the neck. A protective yoke is incorporated on the right shoulder with provision for buttoning down in front with a dark blue composition button. The shoulder loops or epaulettes extend along the shoulder and under the convertible collar to button with two additional dark blue composition buttons.Each sleeve has a two-buttonhole adjustment tabs buttoned with dark blue composition buttons.

 

The topcoat is belted at the waist and is very full cut, with two lower inside diagonal hanging welt-type pockets, having a pass through opening. The belt has six rows of through-and-through stitching and a plastic buckle. The topcoat did not use the general officer braid found on the overcoat. However, the rank of the officer was to be worn on the shoulder epaulettes.

 

Before being phased out, the original design topcoat went through slight changes over time. When first adopted, the topcoat was USAF blue shade 84. By 1963, it would be a deeper blue USAF blue shade 1084 and the material remained the same. By 1967, USAF blue shade 1084 was giving way to USAF blue shade 1549, however, both colors continued to be used. The Venetian gabardine material was changed to all wool Venetian gabardine, barathea or elastique.

 

OVC3.jpg

Figure 5: AFM 35-10 and private collection.

Optional winter and summer topcoat.

General Frank Fort Everest, USAF

 

Accessory items authorized for wear with the overcoat are gloves and mufflers. The gloves were to be double weave, cotton, gray and gray grain or suede leather. Mufflers were to be all wool, flat-knit, or tubular knit, gray, finished with or without napped surface, width not to exceed ten inches.

 

OVC10.jpg

Figure 6: Private collection. Top: Rank as worn on the topcoat.

There is no sleeve braid for general

on the topcoat. Bottom: Regulation gray

suede leather gloves worn with the overcoat

or topcoat.

General Frank Fort Everest, USAF

 

The following are the instructions for the proper fit of the topcoat. The topcoat should always be fitted when the service coat or jacket (Ike Jacket when they were regulation) is worn. In addition, since it has a removable liner, the fit of the coat should be tried both with and without the liner to assure proper fit. The fit of the shoulders should be sufficiently loose to accommodate the shoulders of the service coat without binding at the armholes when the arms are removed. The sleeves should extend one-half inch beyond the service coat sleeves. The bottom of the coat should extend to mid-calf.

 

OVC4.jpg

Figure 7: First style winter and summer topcoat worn by

(left to right) the twin brothers USAF Major Generals Marvin and

Melvin McNickles, Major

General C.B. Root and Colonel Curtis D. Sluman.

 

OVC5.jpg

Figure 8: Private collection. Second USAF Chief of Staff,

General Hoyt S. Vandenberg

wearing the first style winter and summer topcoat.

 

Prior to 1965, a black topcoat was authorized but considered optional. It was authorized for wear with either the mess dress or formal evening dress uniforms. The black top mess dress cap was to be worn when the black topcoat was used. Few regulations existed on the black topcoat as it was considered a civilian topcoat and could be purchased commercially. However, there were some guidelines. It was to be a civilian style topcoat, of all wool cavalry twill, has half raglan sleeves, a fly front, slashed pockets, and the bottom of the topcoat extends to the bottom of the kneecap. Pin-on shoulder boards were to be used to distinguish rank. The boards were to be the mess dress type but with pins found on the rear instead of a strap which goes through loops as on the mess dress uniform. Gloves and scarf are plain white. The topcoat could be used for civilian use provided the shoulder boards are removed. The black topcoat was no longer listed in the Air Officerís Guide by 1983.

 

By 1976, the first design military trench coat style topcoat was phased out of use. It was replaced another blue topcoat which was considered optional. The new topcoat was single-breasted three-button, fly front, USAF blue shade 1549 wool/polyester serge. The coat has slashed pockets, fixed epaulettes, with matching zipper liner, and may be worn in lieu of the raincoat or overcoat except in troop formations. The bottom extends two inches below the kneecap.

 

In the early 1980s, the topcoat was replaced with the Menís All-Weather Coat Outer Garment, and eventually the Men and Womenís All-Weather Coat Outer Garment. The Menís All-Weather Coat Outer Garment is single breasted, fly front, with a zip-out liner, split raglan sleeves, a stand-up collar, slash through pockets, a center vent and epaulettes. The color is USAF Shade 3356 blue and the material is 50% cotton 50% polyester poplin or 65% polyester and 35% cotton.

 

OVC11.jpg

Figure 9: Private collection. The blue service dress cap is the only

authorized cap for wear when using the overcoat or topcoat.

The color of the cap changed as the service uniform

changed over the years. Even if the mess

dress uniform is worn, if the outer

garment is the overcoat or top coat,

the blue service dress cap is worn. When

the blue mess dress was introduced the

chin strap changed to silver.

 

The coat is fitted over the service coat and should fit loose enough to accommodate the shoulders of the service coat without binding at armholes when arms are moved. Sleeves will extend one-half inch beyond service coat sleeves and is knee length. The top button may be left unbuttoned. The Menís All-Weather Coat Outer Garment may be worn with all service uniforms, fatigue uniforms, dress uniforms, functional uniforms and over the pullover and white cardigan sweaters. This coat may be worn with civilian clothes if grade insignia is removed.

 

OVC6.jpg

Figure 10: From AFM 35-10. Menís All-Weather Coat Outer Garment

and placement of rank insignia.

 

Officers are to wear regular size metal grade insignia on epaulette. Enlisted personnel wear metal collar insignia on collar. Examples above show placement of each type grade insignia. Generals wear three-fourths or five-eighths inch stars. Lieutenant, major and brigadier generals wear one inch stars.

 

Accouterments for the Menís All-Weather Coat Outer Garment are the scarf, gloves earmuffs, and blue winter cap USAF Shade 1578. The scarf is to be gray shade 1155 or 1164, all wool or cotton simplex, with or without napped surface. They may be flat or tubular knit with a width that does not exceed inches. The scarf must be tucked in. The gloves are to be gray shade 1155, kitted wool or black or gray leather. They must be plain design without ornamentation or zipper. The earmuffs are to be of commercial design of any material; however, they must be plain and solid dark blue, black or gray. The blue winter cap is to be USAF shade 1578, wool and polyester serge mouton, snap fastener cover. Commercial design with ear and neck flap, ribbon tie or strap with covered metal snap fastener.

 

The Men and Womenís All-Weather Coat Outer Garment is double breasted, with a stand-up collar, six button front, shoulder epaulettes with buttons, and sleeve straps with buckles. The menís is split raglan and set-in in the back. The womenís is raglan. The coat is to be USAF shade 3376 made of 65% cotton and 35% polyester poplin with water repellant finish. The sleeves will extend Ĺ inch beyond service coat sleeves and the coat is knee length. The Shoulders should fit loose enough to accommodate the shoulders of the service coat without binding at armholes when arms are moved. The neck button may be left unbuttoned. The coat may be worn with all service uniforms, fatigue uniforms, dress uniforms, functional uniforms and over the pullover and white cardigan sweaters. The coat may be worn with civilian clothes if grade insignia is removed.

 

OVC7.jpg

Figure 11: From AFM 35-10. Men and Womenís All-Weather Coat

Outer Garment.

 

Wearing rank on this garment is as follows: Officers center regular size metal grade insignia five-eighths inch from end of epaulette. Enlisted members wear metal collar grade insignia centered one inch up from bottom of collar and parallel to outer edge. Generals wear three-fourths or five-eighths inch stars. Lieutenant, major and brigadier generals wear one inch stars.

 

Accouterments for the Men and Womenís All-Weather Coat Outer Garment are the scarf, gloves earmuffs, and blue winter cap USAF Shade 1578. The scarf is to be gray shade 1155, all wool or cotton simplex, with or without napped surface. They may be flat or tubular knit with a width that does not exceed inches. The scarf must be tucked in. Women may wear white scarves. The gloves are to be gray shade 1155, kitted wool or black or gray leather. They must be plain design without ornamentation or zipper. Women may wear white gloves. The earmuffs are to be of commercial design of any material; however, they must be plain and solid dark blue, black or gray. The blue winter cap is to be USAF shade 1578, wool and polyester serge mouton, snap fastener cover. Commercial design with ear and neck flap, ribbon tie or strap with covered metal snap fastener.

 

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