As winter comes...

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. R. Michael Longoria
  • 319th Air Refueling Wing Public Affairs
Summer and autumn start to become distant memories as the temperature drops and the first snow fall of the year approaches. All signs that winter is about to make its grand entrance. The problem is North Dakota winters are long and utterly freezing, just to call them cold would be a vast understatement.

I've spent one winter here, which in my opinion is one winter too many. So as I ready myself to face the arctic-winter again, I understand the importance of staying warm. It is easy to stay warm when I'm off-duty; I just don't go outside. But on the days that I must venture out into this icy-wasteland that we all call home to head to work, I like to be prepared.

Truthfully, I'd like to wrap myself up in as many blankets and layers I can but, since we are in the military, there are some rules as to what we can wear when the weather drops below freezing. To help ensure I stay within the regulations, I pulled out Air Force Instruction 36-2903, Dress and Personal Appearance of Air Force Personnel. I listed some of the helpful information I found below:

-A black scarf can be worn with the uniform. The scarf must be tucked into the coat. Also, the scarf must not be wider than 10 inches and must be either all wool or cotton simplex with or without a napped surface.

-Black earmuffs are also authorized for wear but only with the service dress uniform and with the sage green fleece. The earmuffs can be a commercial design made out of any material.

-Watch caps (blue, black or sage green) can only be worn when a coat is worn.

-Authorized outer garments include the Improved Rain Suit (IRS), the cold weather parka, All-Purpose Environmental Clothing System (APECS), blue all-weather coat, the black or sage green fleece and the Gortex coat and pants.

-Authorized under garments for the Airman Battle Uniform include the desert sand colored turtle neck, a green or brown colored sleep shirt, white, cream or desert sand colored thermal underwear.

-The black or sage green fleece is authorized as an under garment to the APECS. Gloves, watch caps (black or sage green) and black scarves are authorized items to wear with the fleece.

-A Gortex coat can be worn with either the Gortex pants or by itself. The Gortex pants can only be worn with the Gortex coat.

-Airmen may wear their outer garments with civilian attire as long as all Air Force paraphernalia (rank, name tapes and patches) are removed.

According to the AFI 36-2903, Airmen should use good judgment in choosing appropriate outer garments for wear based on weather conditions and duties.

For more information, refer to the AFI 36-2903 or log on to the Air Force Personnel Center.