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Air Force, Army permit wear of uniforms off base

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Madelyn Keech
  • 86th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

For the first time in more than seven years, Airmen and Soldiers assigned to the Kaiserslautern Military Community can once again wear uniforms off base.

Out of an abundance of caution due to threats at the time, U.S. European Command in 2014 ordered all troops serving on the continent to limit wearing uniforms off base to the maximum extent possible. The original mandate applied across all of EUCOM, meaning even areas identified as low-threat felt the impacts of the blanket policy.

Last year, EUCOM delegated the approval authority to each service to determine its off-base uniform policy.  U.S. Air Force Maj. Gen. Randall Reed, Third Air Force commander, authorized wing commanders in Germany, Italy and the United Kingdom to implement local uniform policy changes at their discretion with an effective date of Feb. 1, 2022. U.S. Army Maj. Gen. James Smith, 21st Theater Sustainment Command commander, also issued a change in policy effective Feb. 1 for Soldiers stationed in the area and other parts of Europe.

The uniform policy changes are a long-awaited return to normal after months of careful analysis and discussion by the services, providing service members more flexibility in their daily lives.

The policies permit both services to wear military uniforms between a person’s residence and official duty locations, at off-base establishments including restaurants and cafés, barbershops, gas stations, drugstores, quick convenience stops at shops, and other similar locations within the local area of one’s commute.

However, some locations and services remain prohibited in uniform for both services including off-base bars, nightclubs, dance clubs, and hookah lounges.  Additionally, service members are prohibited from consuming alcohol off base while in uniform.

The Air Force and Army policies contain some minor differences in permitted activities.  Personnel should review the policy letters carefully and check with unit supervisors if they have questions. 

Air Force leaders and security forces personnel have worked in tandem to ensure this policy change implements procedures that best balance risk, the welfare of Airmen, and bolster community relations. The uniform policy will be evaluated on a regular basis to determine if changes are required based on the threat and risk at the time.

“This policy opens the doors to many great new opportunities for both our service members and host nation partners here in the KMC,” said Tech. Sgt. Jacob Petersen, 86th Security Forces Squadron Antiterrorism/Force Protection noncommissioned officer in charge. “It is extremely vital with this new freedom of movement within the local area that all personnel continue to make smart decisions while off installation and keep operations security in the forefront of their minds. Remember that a solid OPSEC and Antiterrorism Program requires every individual to maintain awareness, practice personal security measures, and report suspicious activity.”

As Airmen do stateside, they should be prepared to practice safety and security precautions, and report any suspicious activity through the Eagle Eyes program.