"Re-bluing" your headgear

  • Published
  • By Senior Master Sgt. Arvie McGinnis
  • First Sergeant, 452 SFS
There comes a time in every career when we either have a lack of knowledge about the proper wear of the uniform or requirements change causing us to need a little reminding (or Re-Bluing).

Let's look at this in perspective; there are 365 days in a year, and the majority of us put on the uniform just two days a month on the UTA weekend. That equals 24 days a year or only 6.5% of the year that we are in uniform. If you add the 15 days of annual tour then we are in uniform for a grand total of 39 days a year it's just a little over a month a year. No wonder we sometimes forget how to wear the uniform correctly.

Let me refresh your memories with a couple of key points that are frequently forgotten. If you have been in the Air Force for more than five years, you may not be cognizant of the fact that we can no longer go "coverless" (without headgear) when we are under an awning like at the gas station across the street, or at the lodging office courtyard area.

If memory serves me correctly, the predecessor to the current Dress and Appearance Standard (AFR 35-10) used to state that we could remove our headgear when we were "covered" outside under an awning of at least eight feet. The current standard (AFI 36-2903) changed that requirement to state the member MUST wear "headgear" when outdoors--period.

It also states that we must wear headgear when operating two-wheeled vehicles. The only exception to that is while wearing a helmet (safety equipment). At that point the helmet would be your headgear. It does not mean that you can walk from the parking lot to your building wearing your helmet, or walk or run into your building without your hat on. Take the time required to remove your helmet and put on your hat. If you are driving a vehicle, put your hat on before you get out of the vehicle or put it on immediately after you close the vehicle door.

There are a number of "no-hat" areas as designated by the wing commander, such as the flight line and the area outside Sally's Alley where it is authorized to not wear headgear. All other locations require every Airman in uniform to wear the appropriate headgear.

Bottom line, we are representatives of the United States Air Force. Whether we know it or not, there are people watching us all the time. As a uniformed representative, we need to maintain the proper and approved wear of the uniform at all times, including and especially the headgear.

Please do not hesitate to review Air Force Instruction 36-2903 regarding the proper wear of the uniform or contact your first sergeant if you have any questions.