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SSC-Natick Press Release

U.S. Army Soldier Systems Center-Natick
Public Affairs Office
Kansas Street
Natick, MA 01760-5012

Contact:  Public Affairs Office

Date: November 15, 2007
No: 07-41

Updated uniforms for Coast Guard

new features of USCG uniform The U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) Clothing Design and Technical Office in Natick, Mass., looked at a variety of designs while working to improve USCG uniforms. Some of the newer features pictured include a shirt worn outside the pants and shorts.
Click for Larger Photo

NATICK, Mass. -- The U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) Clothing Design and Technical Office located here is working to improve Coast Guard uniforms.

There are currently two major projects ongoing, said Joseph DeBlase, chief clothing designer. "We are moving out quickly on the programs. We want to get the items out to the field as soon as possible."

The first program is a design modification to the current Operational Dress Uniform (ODU). The shirt is being changed from a tucked-in shirt to a shirt worn outside the pants, similar to the way it is in the other services.

"The product is also going to be updated," DeBlase said. "The shirt will be a better fabric, more stain-resistant, wrinkle-resistant, and with an expected wear life of three years."

Another significant improvement for the ODU is a change to the T-shirt. It will be made of a higher-grade cotton and will be embroidered with the USCG logo. The idea is that the T-shirt could be worn with the uniform when a guardsman is working on a mission where they need to take their coat off.

The second project currently being worked on is a hot weather uniform, with a few different designs that could change based on the work the service member is performing. Although still in the planning stages, three main designs are being considered.

The first option is the current ODU coat with a cotton T-shirt and short. This ensemble would be worn with black socks and waterproof, ceramic toe, six-inch black boots, similar to the current eight-inch boots.

The next option is a wickable T-shirt or polo shirt with the short, boot and socks as above.

The third option is a wickable T-shirt or polo shirt with shorts, white socks and deck shoes.

All the T-shirts and polo shirts would have the embroidered USCG logo.

Many of the changes occurring are happening because of the members themselves. "The Coast Guard looked at the suggestions of its members," DeBlase said, "and is moving out on them."

He mentioned that a few years ago guardsmen were allowed to cut down their current ODU pants to wear as shorts if they got them tailored to one inch above their knee. There were problems with some tailoring where the items would not fit correctly, and in various locations in the field, it was hard to find services to do the tailoring. Therefore, the Coast Guard decided to develop an option for shorts.

For the change to the ODU shirt, originally it was thought that a tucked-in shirt was safer so it would not get caught in items on the deck or in the engine room. Through day-to-day use, it was discovered that this is usually not a problem. The guardsmen themselves have asked for the change to the shirt in order to have a look similar to other military service uniforms.

"Having the similarity assists with creating a great esprit de corps among the members," said DeBlase.

While working on these programs, other design features on clothing items have been modified to ensure comfort, practicality and safety. Some of the changes include:

- Eliminating the velcro on pants pockets and going back to buttons because the velcro would not hold the cargo pocket closed continually - Elasticizing the cargo pocket so it won't sag to the back of the pant
- Having a zipper fly
- Offsetting the crotch seam to make the pants more comfortable
- Adding more pant sizes for the female population
- Having double stitching to reinforce portions of the uniforms
- Adding embroidered shields on the flap of the pants and the cuffs of the coat
- Ensuring a more comfortable fitting coat
- Having an inside pencil pocket
- X-stitching on all buttons
- Using nylon thread in all abrasive wear areas
- Changing belt loop to a large, wide loop
- Having a two-piece waistband
- Resizing the shirt so it is shorter in length and more comfortable

DeBlase said everyone is looking forward to the new uniforms. "Admiral Thad Allen, Commandant of the USCG and Master Chief Skip Bowen, Master Chief Petty Officer, are both looking forward to having the new products out in the field. They feel it will be a great morale booster."

This page last updated on 10 May 2006.