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Cold weather uniform regulations at Peterson

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. – ’Tis the season for frigid temperatures, blustery winds and extra layers of cold weather gear, just as long as it is in accordance with AFI 36-2903 regarding uniform regulations. The 21st Space Wing has issued supplemental cold weather gear regulations to help Airmen keep warm in the unique climate at Peterson while maintaining uniform standards and good order. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Kelly Timney)

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. – ’Tis the season for frigid temperatures, blustery winds and extra layers of cold weather gear, just as long as it is in accordance with AFI 36-2903 regarding uniform regulations. The 21st Space Wing has issued supplemental cold weather gear regulations to help Airmen keep warm in the unique climate at Peterson while maintaining uniform standards and good order. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Kelly Timney)

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- Cold weather has embraced Colorado, along with a few installation-specific regulations for cold weather uniform items. A recent Air Force Space Command supplement outlines how Airmen can stay warm as well as stay in regulations and maintain a professional appearance.

The AFSPC supplement to Air Force Instruction 36-2903 addresses the wearing of the sage green fleece indoors and watch caps, requiring installation commander approval for both.

According to a guidance memorandum endorsed by Col. John Shaw, 21st Space Wing commander, Peterson Airmen may wear the sage green fleece over the Airman Battle Uniform indoors in immediate work areas when prudent in colder environments as determined by unit leadership. However, it may not be worn while interacting with customers or clients.

The black watch cap is approved for wear with the physical training uniform in conjunction with authorized outer garments when prudent in cold weather conditions. The sage green watch cap is approved for wear in PTUs or ABUs in conjunction with authorized outer garments when prudent in cold weather conditions. Watch caps are not authorized for wear with blues or service dress.

This supplement applies to all partner and tenant units assigned to Peterson AFB, and wing leadership wants supervisors and commanders to lead and make decisions that are in the best interest of the health and welfare of personnel while ensuring a professional image across Team Pete, said Chief Master Sgt. Richard Redman, 21st Space Wing command chief.

"Uniform accessories, especially the watch cap, should be worn only out of necessity, not as a fashion statement or a matter of convenience," Redman said.

"Ultimately, the intent is to allow commanders and supervisors to make the decision for their own work area," he said. "But personnel should use common sense. For example, if the customer service area is in an unheated hangar, it is prudent to wear the fleece even in front of customers."

Redman answered a few commonly asked questions that many Airmen have in regards to the policy and how it effects them.

1. What constitutes a customer service area?
A customer service area is an open area or private office where customers or clients are seen with regularity (normally daily or several days a week). A customer or client is someone who is seeking a service or resource and is not a member of that immediate unit (i.e. one's flight or section). Common customer service areas include the commander's front offices, Military Personnel Flight, Civil Engineering customer support, finance, medical treatment areas and legal.

2. Do I have to remove my fleece when traveling to break areas or the restroom?
When traveling to break areas, restrooms or other public areas outside of the immediate work area, the fleece should be removed. Local units should decide which restrooms or break areas are outside of one's immediate work area.

3. I am cold in my workplace but my supervisor says it isn't... what is my recourse?
If a supervisor says that the fleece is not appropriate and you disagree, you have two options. First, you can wear warmer clothes under the ABU blouse. Second, you can use the chain of command to appeal your issue just as you would with any decision. After telling your immediate supervisor of your intentions, speak to your next higher level supervisor. Unit commanders have the final say.

4. Who/how is "prudent in cold weather conditions" defined? I am from Florida and it has been cold here since September!
Prudent weather conditions are meant to be subjective to account for individual needs. In general, if you need to wear outer garments (a prerequisite to wearing the watch cap), you can justify wearing the watch cap. However, if you are not wearing a PT jacket and pants or not wearing a fleece, the AFI prohibits watch cap wear. Local supervisors are to ensure this policy is not abused. If it is cold in the morning and warms up during the day, personnel should change their covers as appropriate.

5. What can we wear with "blues" to keep our head/ears warm?
AFI 36-2903, paragraph 6.3.8 authorizes a scarf, gloves and earmuffs when the weather is cold. Personnel may also wear their service dress jacket, the overcoat and other items to keep warm in blues or service dress. If one's head is still cold, then it means they are outdoors too long. Duties for extended periods in cold weather should not be undertaken in blues or service dress.

To review the cold weather uniform guidance memorandum, go to the 21st Space Wing Sharepoint page.

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