Gen McConnell Service DressGen McConnell Service Dress Close up

General John P. McConnell Service Dress Uniform

1969 - 1994

By 1975, and the changes introduced by General McConnell, there was only one shade of blue authorized for the USAF Service Dress Uniform. Blue Shade 1084 was totally phased out and Blue Shade 1549 was the only acceptable shade of blue. However, the uniform continued to be made in light weight and heavier weight material. All uniforms were considered to be year round all season but the weights of material corresponded to winter and summer. In addition, polyester blends were introduced which had an impact on the USAF Service Dress uniform. By 1978, some terminology changed. The uniform was no longer referred to as the all season blue but rather the "dark blue" service dress uniform.

By 1986, insignia found on the service dress uniform started to change. Silver or silver-oxide color was always the acceptable type of insignia for service dress. High gloss insignia were now covered by regulations. However, one could not mix the different insignia on the uniform. If high gloss was used, all insignia had to be high gloss, same for silver or silver oxide. This practice continued until the McPeak Service Dress Uniform became regulation. At that point all insignia was to be high gloss. High gloss continues to be the norm to present date.

Different shades and materials continued to change in the hopes of improving the USAF Service Dress Uniform. By 1989 the service dress uniform was available in dark blue shade 1578 in wool and polyester, tropical or gabardine; 1598 polyester serge; and 1608 polyester and wool tropical weave. Eventually there was a 100% polyester service dress uniform. Mixing of materials was still prohibited and the cap would be of matching color to the coat and trousers.

Minor changes to the service dress uniform started to become common place. A type of material might be phased in and phased out before anyone knew a change was being considered. One has to remember that for every change to the service dress uniform there are wear testing dates, adoption dates and transition dates for officers to comply. A lot of these dates overlap and different items are used simultaneously until phased out or in one way or another. At time, it is impossible to trace all the minute changes. Sometimes there is a testing period but the change is not adopted. Sometimes there are adopted changes with no transition periods because the change is so small, i.e. changing a number on the nomenclature. At times, some items were slated to be phased out through attrition. Unless one had the transcribed minutes from the USAF Uniform Board, it would be impossible to list all changes and variations.

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