Keeping Up With the Fashion

If you didn’t recognize the uniform worn by former Chief of Staff Gen. Norton Schwartz and his successor Gen. Mark Welsh at their Aug. 10 leadership transition ceremony, you are not alone. (See photos of the ceremony.) The outfit—called “the Ceremonial Uniform”—hasn’t been seen much since Schwartz premiered it at a Medal of Honor ceremony in 2010. The special uniform—with satiny sheen, a high collar, belt, and no jacket pockets—is for wear only by the Chief of Staff or the Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force, said service spokesman Lt. Col. John Sheets. It was designed to “bridge” between occasions calling for something fancier than the standard Class A uniform, but where the tuxedo-like Mess Dress would be inappropriate, Sheets told the Daily Report on Aug. 28. The high collar and belt are supposed to hearken back to Billy Mitchell and the early days of the Army Air Corps, when those features were part of the unique aviator’s uniform. The retro look dispenses, however, with the jodhpurs and knee-high boots that also went with the Mitchell-era uniform. There are no plans to expand use of the Ceremonial Uniform to the service’s rank and file.