Army Testing Rolled Up Sleeves at Fort Hood, Wants to Know What Soldiers Think
June 22, 2016
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Fort Hood Soldiers have been given a 10-day reprieve from the summer swelter — they were given permission to roll up their sleeves until Sunday, Jan. 26, by Chief of Staff of the Army Gen. Mark A. Milley and Sgt. Maj. of the Army Daniel A. Dailey.
It’s only a trial, but the results at Fort Hood could later affect the rest of the Army, allowing Soldiers everywhere to roll up their sleeves this summer.
Lt. Col. Jerry Pionk, a spokesman with Army G-1, the agency responsible for developing the uniform policy for the Army that is spelled out in Army Regulation 670-1, the Army will review feedback from what happens at Fort Hood, and will look at the practicality of the sleeve-rolling experiment there before making any regulatory changes to current uniform policy.
“Feedback from Soldiers resulted in us wanting to do a trial over the next 10 days to see the feasibility of updating AR 670-1 and incorporating in the future for the force to give commanders flexibility in wear based upon their unit’s mission,” Pionk said.
If sleeve-rolling rolls out across the Army, it will most likely include a stipulation that commanders will make the ultimate determination about when and where it’s permissible. With the Battle Dress Uniform, for instance, Soldiers were not allowed to roll their sleeves in field conditions during training exercises.
Additionally, if sleeve-rolling is approved for Soldiers across the Army, AR 670-1 will spell out the details of exactly how the sleeve should be rolled. Implementation of any changes must eventually be approved by the Army’s uniform board after reviewing input from trials like what is happening now at Fort Hood.
Pionk told the Army Times that, “Future guidance, if any, would be disseminated through routine command networks and via the [website] with augmentation through Army social media and command information networks.”
Milley approved the trial after a re-enlistment ceremony June 16 at Fort Hood that was attended by both Milley and Dailey. After the ceremony, a Soldier — Spc. Cortne K. Mitchell, A Company, 15th Brigade Support Battalion, 2nd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division — pointed out how hot it was at Fort Hood, and asked Milley if he and his fellow Soldiers might roll up their sleeves to stay cool.
The Army’s chief of staff said sure, and invited Mitchell and all Soldiers at Fort Hood to do the same — for the next 10 days.
The CSA specified, however, that the sleeves be rolled differently than how they were rolled with the BDUs. Back in the days before the BDU was phased out, in 2005, sleeves were rolled in a way that ensured the camouflage pattern remained on the outside. With the Army Combat Uniform and Operational Camouflage Pattern uniform, and for the 10-day trial at Fort Hood, Milley said sleeves should be rolled the way the Marine Corps rolls its sleeves: with the inside facing out.
For now, this exemption to AR 670-1 policy has several restrictions: it applies only to Soldiers at Fort Hood, it’s only for the OCP or ACU, it’s only for in-garrison, it’s only with commander approval, and it’s only for 10 days.
So for 10 days, Soldiers at Fort Hood can cool off by rolling up their sleeves. Soldiers elsewhere can think cool by talking with senior NCOs who were around in the days, more than a decade ago, when sleeve-rolling was commonplace across the force.
“Feedback will be submitted through the NCO support chain to the sergeant major of the Army,” Pionk told the Army Times.
Dailey told the Army Times that Milley will be receive the findings and make the final decision, and Milley said that he’s receptive to direct Soldier feedback, if anyone wants to share their thoughts.
“I am always interested in hearing from Soldiers,” Milley said in a written statement to the Army Times. “I frequently receive email directly from Soldiers and I answer them directly back. My email is in the global address book that Soldiers have access to.”
No word on exactly when that decision will be made. But Dailey told the Army Times that he thought it would be a fairly quick process if feedback is positive: “There is no major change in uniform, no procurement. This is a quick policy change.”