1949 - 1964
The blue USAF Shade 84 and Tan 193 service dress jacket was also known as the Ike jacket. It was fondly called the Ike jacket after General Eisenhower popularized the style during World War II. The Ike jacket was probably the most popular uniform during the war. Its popularity continued beyond World War II. When the US Air Force established its identity after the separation of the services in 1947, the Ike jacket remained the most popular style but went from its original US Army color to USAF winter blue shade 84 and summer tan shade 193. However, the tan Ike jacket was considered an optional garment while the blue service jacket was regulation and mandatory. The Ike jacket was introduced in 1949 and remained in use for a number of years. The Ike jacket was officially phased out of use on 31 May 1964.
The material for the winter jacket is all wool serge, 15 or 18 ounces. The summer jacket could be made of a various materials. The different materials for the summer jacket included all wool tropical worsted 10 ounce, all wool gabardine 11 ounce, all wool charmeen-type gabardine 10 ounce, tropical worsted or gabardine 8 to 11 ounces in a mixture of 60% maximum polyester fiber (Dacron) and 50% maximum wool, and finally, tropical worsted in a mixture of 60% maximum polyester fiber (Dacron) and 50% maximum viscoat rayon.
The standard jacket is single breasted, fly front or button model with a one piece bloused back. Though a button front was authorized, the most popular closure was the fly front or zipper. The jacket is fully lined with a banded bottom and side vents to close with two dark blue composition buttons on each side of the waistband and one buttonhole on each adjustable tab. The jacket is closed at the waistband with a concealed button and snap fasteners and is closed at the apex of the lapels with a snap fastener to prevent gapping and to conceal the zipper. The jacket will be of sufficient fullness to overlap and partially cover the waistband. Upper line of the label notch is horizontal and the sleeves have a banded cuff buttoned a dark blue composition button. The jacket has pleated breast pockets with snap fastened flaps and inside pockets. Shoulder loops will extend under the collar and are stitched in place.
Figure 1: Private collection. Original first design USAF Ike Jacket.
The original pattern date was 2 May 1949. The one pictured
is dated 9 June 1950. Most originals had button front and
officers had them changed to the zipper front. By 15 March 1952 this
style was no longer authorized. However, officers could continue
to wear the old style until they were no longer serviceable.
The first design blue jackets used by the USAF were carbon copies of the US Army style but in Air Force blue and tan. After the first design was authorized it became evident that minor changes were needed in style for a more comfortable fit. A second design was authorized which incorporated a horizontal cut lapel, adjustable rear tabs, zipper closures, one button sleeve closure and, most importantly, a full size fit. The full size fit allowed free arm movement and a jacket that would not be a tight fit. First design, old style jackets were authorized for use by officers until they were no longer serviceable. The new style Ike jacket was authorized for wear on 15 March 52. However, since there was no phase out date, both designs continued to be found until the jacket was no longer authorized in 1964. In addition, private tailors, especially overseas, produced variations. Privately produced jackets were made in both designs and mixtures in style and design.
Figure 2: From 35-10. The new style Service Dress Ike Jacket
and how it is to be worn as authorized
15 March 1952.
Figure 3: Private collection. The above jacket is dated
1958 and was made in Germany. It should have been a
second design jacket. However, notice the lapel cut is not horizontal, the
sleeve closure has two buttons and it is not a full fit style.
General Frank Fort Everest, USAF
Figure 4: Private collection. Top - Winter Blue Shade 84 produced
privately but not dated. A perfect example of second
design. Has the horizontal lapels, a single
button sleeve closure and is full fit style.
Major General Clements McMullen, USAF
Bottom Summer Tan Shade 193 produced privately
and dated 1950. Should be a first design jacket but
it is full fit and has a one button sleeve closure as in the second design.
Major General William Henry Powell, Jr., USAF
Proper Fit Instructions: The service coat should always be fitted when the undergarment shirt and tie is worn. A well-fitted service jacket will have ease in the shoulders, chest and underarms. The sleeve should extend to Ό inch from the heel of the thumb when the arms are hanging naturally. The waistband of the jacket must fall on the waistline. The jacket should blouse over approximately one-half the width of the waistband. To prevent gapping between the jacket and trousers, suspenders should be worn.
The trousers are to match the coat in color blue shade 84 and tan shade 193. The material used for the trousers should be identical to that of the jacket. Trousers are full cut, straight hanging, and without cuff. When pleats are worn they will face in towards the fly. Rear pocket tabs are required on all service dress trousers. In regard to the Ike jacket, to prevent gapping between the jacket and trousers, suspenders should be worn.
Figure 5: From AFM 35-10 and private collection.
Service dress trousers for both winter and summer used with the jacket.
Jacket and trousers should be matching material
Blue Shade 84 for winter and Tan Shade 193 for summer.
Proper Fit Instructions: Trousers should be trim fitting without bunching at waist or bagging at seat. Standard stock trousers come in extra short, short, regular, long, and extra long inseam length. Personnel should familiarize themselves with one of the mentioned sizes which best fits their physical dimensions. Prescribed length is without a break in the crease and with the bottom of the trousers barely resting on the shoe in the front.
Suspenders are recommended with the Ike jacket. If a belt is used it is for both winter and summer. The belt will be USAF Shade Blue 89, of woven cotton webbing material with silver color metal tips. Buckles are plain satin finish, nickel silver-color medal. The prescribed width of the belt is 1 Ό inches. The prescribed buckle is approximately 1 ½ inches wide and 2 inches long. The end of the belt will not extend beyond 1 ½ inches of the buckle. Optional fabrics will include elastic and plastic materials in blue. Suspenders must be of plain solid blue material. Suspenders must be worn underneath the jacket and not be exposed at any time.
The required undergarment shirt to be worn with the blue Ike jacket is USAF Blue shade 120 cotton poplin or blue shade 126 cotton oxford cloth. The shirt worn under the jacket is the one-pocket civilian type (no shoulder loops). It may be of poplin material, with medium pointed, non-flaring collar or of oxford cloth, with modified spread collar. For the summer tan shade 193 Ike jacket, the shirt design is the same as above and the material is cotton poplin or six ounce broadcloth, tan shade 1. Sleeves should extend to the heel of the thumb so as to permit approximately Ό inch to extend beyond the sleeve of the coat.
The 10.5 ounce all wool flannel blue shade 84 outer garment shirt was authorized but not required to be worn in colder climates with winter service dress Ike jacket. This would have been the darker shade blue, two-pocket shirt with epaulettes authorized as an outer garment with appropriate insignia.
The necktie required to be worn with the under garment shirt is for winter and summer. The necktie for the service uniform will be USAF Blue 84, four in-hand civilian type, unlined and constructed of all wool tropical worsted fabric 8 to 10 ounces without design or sheen. Optional fabrics would include all wool, synthetics, and blends thereof in tropical worsted, twill, or woven weave without design or sheen.
Figure 6: From AFM 35-10: Blue shade 120 cotton poplin or blue shade
126 cotton oxford cloth for winter.
Tan shade 505 cotton poplin for summer.
The Service Cap and Flight Cap are both appropriate for use with the winter blue or summer tan Ike jacket. The service cap is the visor type with dark blue, Ύ inch braid and a front chin strap of black leather. Material is wool serge, blue, for winter and summer. Caps are packed with a medal packing grommet that must be removed before wearing. The wearing of the service cap without the soft rolled grommet is prohibited.
A lightweight service cap is also approved. A lightweight service cap of gabardine material is authorized for optional wear. It will be of the same basic design as the required service cap except the head band will be of an open mesh construction to give clear firm openings through the braid. Also as optional wear on all service caps, a rear chin strap of black leather.
Figure 7: From AFM 35-10 and private collection.
Service Dress cap used with both summer and winter Ike jackets.
The required fabric for the service cap is Blue 84, 15 ounce wool serge. However, optional fabrics were allowed as the cap was regulation for both summer and winter. The optional fabrics are: all wool gabardine, 13 to 15 ounces; all wool (Venetian) gabardine, 13 ounce; all wool tropical worsted, 8 to 10 ounce; and all wool barathea, 15 ounce for officers only.
On the service cap, persons are distinguished by use of aluminum wire on the visor as follows: General Officer black broadcloth covered visor embroidered in aluminum wire with the Air Force lightning, cloud and dart design identifying general officers; Colonels black broadcloth covered visor embroidered in aluminum wire with Air Force lightning cloud, and dart design identifying colonels; and Officers, Warrant Officers and Airmen black leather visor without design.
Figure 8: From AFM 35-10 and private collection.
Top: General Officer - Middle: Colonel (eventually will also be
lieutenant colonel and major) Bottom: all officer ranks below colonel.
The flight cap is the overseas type with insert braid corresponding to the grade. Persons are distinguished by use of braid inserted on the flight cap as follows: General Officers silver colored braid; Officers and Warrant Officers silver color and blue brain in diamond pattern; and Airmen blue braid. Material is wool serge, Blue 84, 15 ounce for winter and summer. As an option, Venetian gabardine is authorized for winter and summer, tropical worsted is authorized for summer and barathea material for both winter and summer.
Figure 9: From AFM 35-10 and private collection.
The flight cap, also known as the garrison and overseas cap, was authorized
with the Ike Jacket.
Figure 10: Private collection. Solid silver colored braid for general rank officer.
The only USAF officer cap that changes in design is that of the USAF Chief of Staff or if the person also becomes the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. In this case, the clouds with lightning bolts found on the visor also go around the band of the cap as well.
Figure 11: Private collection. USAF Chief of Staff cap
worn by General Charles Gabriel.
Figure 12: Second USAF Chief of Staff, General Hoyt S. Vandenberg (far left)
wearing the Chief of Staff cap
with his blue second design full fit Ike jacket.
The shoes for service dress Ike jacket are low quarter, black, laced, smooth or scotch grain leather, with plain or plain-capped toes, and without perforations, buckles or straps. The upper part of the shoe is not to exceed above the ankle bone. Socks are of black wool, worsted, cotton, synthetic type or silk, without decoration.
How the winter Ike jacket service uniform is worn. Uniform items: Headgear service cap or flight cap, blue shade 84; Tie blue shade 84; Belt blue shade 89; Shoes black; and Socks black. Materials in the coat and trousers are to match. Blue shade 84 service jacket with blue shade 84 trousers and blue shade 120 or 126 undergarment poplin or oxford cloth shirt.
Figure 13: From AFM 35-10
USAF Blue Shade 84
How the summer Ike jacket service uniform is worn. Uniform items: Headgear service cap or flight cap, blue shade 84; Tie blue shade 84; Belt blue shade 89; Shoes black; and Socks black. Materials in the coat and trousers are to match. Tan shade 193 service jacket with tan shade 193 trousers and tan shade 1 undergarment shirt of cotton poplin or six ounce broadcloth.
Figure 14: From AFM 35-10
USAF Tan Shade 193
Summer Service Dress Ike Jacket
Figure 15: Private collection. Major General Clements McMullen wearing his second
design Ike jacket.