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Fort Hood ten-day trial to allow Soldiers to roll up sleeves

By C. Todd Lopez

WASHINGTON (June 16, 2016) -- It's hot down in Texas, and Soldiers at Fort Hood are being given a reprieve from the summer swelter: Chief of Staff of the Army Gen. Mark A. Milley and Sgt. Maj. of the Army Daniel A. Dailey gave Soldiers there permission to roll up their sleeves over the course of the next 10 days.

The decision came during a re-enlistment ceremony, June 16, at Fort Hood that was attended by both Milley and Dailey. Following the ceremony, a Soldier, Spc. Cortne K. Mitchell, A Company, 15th Brigade Support Battalion, 2nd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, pointed out how hot it was at Fort Hood, and asked Milley if he and his fellow Soldiers might roll up their sleeves to stay cool.

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The Army's chief of staff said sure, and invited Mitchell and all Soldiers at Fort Hood to do the same -- for the next 10 days.

The CSA specified, however, that the sleeves be rolled differently than how they were rolled with the Battle Dress Uniforms. Back in the days before the BDU was phased out, in 2005, sleeves were rolled in a way that ensured the camouflage pattern remained on the outside. With the ACU and OCP uniform, and for the 10-day trial at Fort Hood, Milley said sleeves should be rolled the way the Marine Corps rolls their sleeves: with the inside facing out.

For now, this exemption to AR 670-1 policy has several restrictions: it applies only to Soldiers at Fort Hood, it's only for the Operational Camouflage Pattern or Army Combat Uniform, it's only for in garrison, it's only with commander approval, and it's only for 10 days. It's a trial of sorts for the Army to work out the details and see how it will play out.

The results of the trial at Fort Hood could later affect the rest of the Army, allowing Soldiers everywhere to roll up their sleeves this summer. But all that depends on how the Army views what happens at Fort Hood.

According to Lt. Col. Jerry Pionk, a spokesperson with Army G-1, the agency responsible for developing the uniform policy for the Army that is spelled out in AR 670-1, the Army will review feedback from what happens at Fort Hood, and will look at the practicality of the sleeve-rolling experiment there before making any kinds of regulatory changes to current uniform policy.

"Feedback from Soldiers resulted in us wanting to do a trial over the next ten days to see the feasibility of updating AR 670-1 and incorporating in the future for the force to give commanders flexibility in wear based upon their unit's mission," Pionk said.

If sleeve-rolling eventually rolls out across the Army, it'll most likely include a stipulation that commanders will make the ultimate determination about when and where it's permissible. With the BDU, for instance, Soldiers were not allowed to roll their sleeves in field conditions during training exercises.

Additionally, if sleeve-rolling is approved for Soldiers across the Army, AR 670-1 will spell out the details of exactly how the sleeve should be rolled. Implementation of any changes must eventually be approved by the Army's uniform board after reviewing input from trials like what is happening now at Fort Hood.

So for the next 10 days, Soldiers at Fort Hood can cool off by rolling up their sleeves. Soldiers elsewhere can think cool by talking with senior NCOs who were around in the days, more than a decade ago, when sleeve-rolling was commonplace across the force.

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