(To read the rest of our series on Band of Brothers, please click here.)
Luckily for Michael C, his two weeks of mid-tour leave during his deployment to Afghanistan coincided with a banquet in honor of our dad winning his high school’s “Teacher of the Year” award. Our dad asked him to wear his uniform.
Michael C wore his ACUs to the ceremony. (Though it seemed a little informal to me, civilians didn’t think so. A young six year old asked Michael C to take a picture with him.) Later, when I asked Michael C why he didn’t wear his dress uniform, he told me he didn’t want to be mistaken for the waiting staff.
He's not alone. Generals prefer ACUs as well.
Most of the posts in our Band of Brothers’ series deal with serious issues. Executing prisoners. War at its worst. Rules of engagement. Life or death issues. Take, for example, the very emotional episode “Crossroads”: Framed around the writing of an after-action report, Lt. Winters shoots a young German soldier, leads an attack, captures Germans, and gets promoted.
I’m going to ignore all that, because all I could think watching the episode was, “Damn, World War II era dress uniforms sure looked good.”
Is this complaint inconsequential? Maybe. But it’s equally infuriating. To me, and Michael C (though he didn’t want to write this post, he agrees with me), the current military service uniform is terrible. It’s ugly. It’s objectively not a good uniform (though I don’t have scientific evidence to prove this).
For those who don’t know what the current uniform looks like, here it is:
This just looks bad, wrong. As I wrote above, and as Michael C has told me, it looks like something a waiter would wear. My biggest criticism is that it doesn’t look like an Army uniform. The blues and blacks--in lieu of traditional Army browns and greens--make it look like something from the Navy.
Now, compare that to Lt. Winters and Lt. Nixon:
The World War II era uniform just looks better.
“Sure, those guys look good.” you may be saying, “But those are attractive, well-lit movie stars. They could make the Air Force’s uniforms look good. It’s not a fair comparison.”
Okay, how about this guy:
Unlike Rich Uncle Pennybags from the Monopoly game, Eisenhower won’t be winning any beauty contests anytime soon, and he still makes the old uniform look good. That’s how good that uniform was.
I hate complaining about something without providing an alternative. In this situation, the alternative is obvious: go back to a uniform inspired by World War II era uniforms. The uniforms that the officers and sergeants wear in Band of Brothers look terrific. They look noble. Better.
Just a thought.