U.S. Army photo

The history behind the iconic "Pinks and Greens"

December 18, 2018 - 12:05 pm

The Pinks and Greens uniform worn by soldiers of the Greatest Generation is getting a new lease on life.

Senior Army leaders recently announced plans to begin issuing a new World War II-style uniform known as the Army Greens Uniform beginning in the summer of 2020.

In many ways, the history of the Pinks and Greens is the history of the Army during the first half of the 20th Century. In the mid-1920s, the Army switched its World War I uniform, which had been known as the Army Officers Winter Service Uniform, to the iconic Pinks and Greens uniform.

The original Pinks and Greens featured an olive drab jacket and lighter colored trousers or jodhpurs that had a slight pink caste when viewed in a certain light. The uniform was embraced by many high-ranking Army leaders of the time, including Gen. George S. Patton, who was often seen and photographed wearing the pink jodhpurs.

National Portrait Gallery
Gen. George S. Patton is pictured wearing the Pinks and Greens Uniform during World War II.

The Pinks and Greens fell out of favor with the development of the Eisenhower jacket in 1944. By the 1950s, Pink and Green style uniforms were being issued to prisoners. The Green Service Uniform was adopted by the Army in 1954 and remained in use until 2007 when a black, blue and yellow uniform was introduced.

Now the Army is bringing that history back. PEO Soldier served as the lead in developing the uniform and worked with teams from the Army Natick Soldier Research, Development and Engineering Center to make it more durable and comfortable.

Brig. Gen. Anthony Potts, head of PEO Soldier, said in an Army release there are differences between the historic uniform and the one today’s soldiers will soon wear.

“Differences in materials, slight differences in design, but keeping the authentic feel of that original uniform,” he said.

The Army’s first all-female uniform board also provided feedback, recommending slacks and low-quarter dress shoes instead of a skirt and pumps for female soldiers. Headgear options include the garrison cap and the beret, which will be issued. Soldiers will also be able to purchase a service cap.

The uniform will be issued with an all-weather coat and soldiers will be able to purchase an Eisenhower waist-length jacket and a leather bomber jacket.

Sergeant Major of the Army Dan Dailey stands with Soldier models wearing the proposed Pink & Green daily service uniform at the Army-Navy game in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania December 9, 2017. (US Army photo by Ron Lee)

Fielding is slated to begin in the summer of 2020 with soldiers who are reporting to their first duty assignments and will also be available for purchase then. The new uniform will be cost-neutral for enlisted soldiers, who will be able to use their clothing allowance to buy it.

Sgt. Maj. Of the Army Daniel A. Dailey said the troops he’s talked to about the uniform are excited about it.

“They’re excited for the same reasons why we wanted to do this,” he said. “The uniform is very much on the minds of many Americans.”

The uniform will first be distributed to 200 soldiers, mostly recruiters, who deal with the public each day. The mandatory wear date for all soldiers is 2028.