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ABU has creases.

We just received the Spring 2007 issue of Airman magazine and I and several coworkers were wondering what the point is of a "wash and wear" uniform --which is not allowed to be dry cleaned--when the only picture of it (centerfold poster) shows it ironed and pressed. Pictures like this one provide the standard for the new uniform, and if none of them show the new Airman battle uniform as a true wash-and-wear uniform, it never will be.

The current battle dress uniform was also not supposed to be starched and pressed because it would lose its "camouflage integrity"--but now that is the standard. It is just God's good fortune that those in harm's way wear their issued "desert cammies" instead of their starched and pressed BDUs from home. No doubt they would be better targets during a night maneuver wearing their shiny, and pressed, uniforms.

Staff Sgt. Richelle Stewart

Goodfellow Air Force Base, Texas

I have to comment on the poster-size ABU photo (Spring 2007 issue). The "no-iron-needed" theory already seems to be messed up with the wonderful crease on the Airman's pants (in the photo). I hope this isn't the future of the new ABU.

Master Sgt. Art Hoven

Offutt AFB, Neb.

I just saw the picture of the Airman battle uniform in your publication (Spring 2007). It shows the uniform pressed with creases. Please correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't the ABU supposed to be wash and wear with no starching or pressing? This picture will send the message that pressing the ABU is the accepted norm.

Master Sgt. Frederick Leach

Southwest Asia

In the center of the Spring 2007 edition of Airman, it shows the Airman battle uniform. The picture shows it pressed and creased. At the bottom left of the page it describes "no ironing needed" and "dry cleaning not allowed." I've been told the uniform is not to be dry cleaned or pressed. I assumed that meant no ironing. I realize I may be assuming too much, but if you cannot press it, I believe the photo sets a bad precedent with the creased pant legs.

Master Sgt. Dean Harris

Charleston AFB, S.C.

This is regarding the recent issue of Airman magazine and the centerfold of the new Airman battle uniform. This was a wonderful way to get a look at the new uniform to the Air Force community. However, I'm concerned that one of the most-prized things of wearing the new uniform is that there is no need to press it. But the picture in the magazine is in fact that of a pressed uniform. We've been told many times that the first person to press this uniform would be in trouble. So I'm wondering if you aren't sending a wrong message to our Airmen in the magazine about the presentation of this uniform.

Staff Sgt. Mitzi Ebensteiner

Luke AFB, Ariz.

I just received the Airman (Spring 2007) issue and, as I pulled it out of the distribution box, the magazine opened up to the Airman battle uniform centerfold. The first thing I noticed was the crease in the pants. Of course you couldn't get this crease without ironing. It seems to me we set ourself up for failure when (the Air Force) releases information (no ironing or dry cleaning) and the first thing we publish to the masses is a photo of a pressed uniform. Next thing we'll see is someone trying to polish the boots. No matter what you do next, the standard has been set.

Master Sgt. Chad Carter

Barksdale AFB, La.

Editor's note: We sure received many comments on the Airman battle uniform poster in the Spring 2007 issue. We want to thank you for bringing up the creases on the uniform. Your concerns are our concerns. First of all, we took the photo at the Army and Air Force Exchange Service head-quarters in Dallas, using their one and only--and brand new--uniform. However, the AAFES folks assured me they didn't press the uniform. They took the uniform out of the package, put it on a mannequin and put it out for display.

To further set the record straight, we called and talked to the chief of the Air Force Uniform and Recognition Programs Branch to ask about the creases. He said the uniform goes through a permanent-press treatment that gives the blouse sleeves and trouser legs permanent creases. The same treatment makes the uniform wash and wear. The branch chief said that to keep the uniform looking sharp, just wash it in warm water with a detergent that doesn't contain optical brighteners or bleach. Make sure only to tumble dry the uniform at low heat and take it out and hang it. And never use starch or sizing, nor hot press or dry-clean the uniform because it deteriorates the cloth fiber, which damages its permanent press and near-infrared features.
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Title Annotation:AIRMAIL
Author:Stewart, Richelle; Hoven, Art; Leach, Frederick; Harris, Dean; Ebensteiner, Mitzi; Carter, Chad
Article Type:Letter to the editor
Date:Jun 22, 2007
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