Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Planning Proceeds Apace

We got our initial round of uniform shopping done out at Cannon Airplane Patch's Military Clothing Sales Store yesterday and the good folks working those fertile fields were most helpful, indeed.  I was greeted with "Can I help you find something?" as I entered the door... to which I replied "You can help me find a LOT.  I need a complete Service Dress uniform, please."  And we were off.  Here's some of the paraphernalia we acquired:

That would be my stripes, collar brass, and those damned ribbons that I have to assemble into a cohesive whole sometime in the near future.  But we digress.  The overall shopping experience was pleasant, and the sales people were both knowledgeable and friendly as I noted above.  The former came in pretty handy even though I'd taken the time to read up on AFI 36-2903 (the current uniform reg) before venturing out to Clothing Sales.  For instance: I couldn't find shoulder boards for my dress shirt and was politely informed that "we don't do that anymore... we wear the smaller stripes on the shirt sleeves."  Well, OK then...

We only had one minor glitch in that there was no blouse (service coat, for the uninitiated) in stock that fit my skinny-assed frame.  But special order was just a few keyboard taps away and I was assured the blouse would arrive no later than tomorrow.  AAFES is speedier than they used to be, and that's A Good Thing.  For there is the sewing on of stripes and hemming and altering to be done, Gentle Reader.  That takes time.

Just one other thing... I bought a complete Class A uniform and no one asked to see my ID, not once.  I find that strange.


There's lotsa other stuff happening tomorrow... including this, supposedly:

That would be the arrival of my laptop, all the way from Shanghai.  I was under no illusions that a Hewlett-Packard laptop... being an American brand... would actually be manufactured in these United States.  But I still find it jarring, to say the VERY least, to see the box is being shipped directly from Shanghai.  I suppose that makes sense - there's no reason to incur additional overhead by maintaining stock in a US warehouse.  But it still feels wrong.

And I have my doubts that the box will actually make it to P-ville by 1630 hrs tomorrow if it's sitting in Anchorage as I type.  But mebbe FedEx hasn't updated their database lately.  They happen to be VERY good at what they do... and they rarely miss delivery dates.  So here's hoping.


  1. I find it amazing that you can just go in an buy ribbons and stripes and such - kind of blows my mind. But I am glad YOU can and that your experience was good.

  2. The experience WAS good.. I kinda wondered about the ID card thang, tho.

  3. As the picture unrolled, the edge of red plastic caught my eye and I expected to see a pile of condoms.

    I'm giggling right now.

  4. The excitement builds!!!

    You had to show ID to get on base, right? I'm told that the Air Force is a little less strict about DoD decals and such -- maybe the no-ID-to-buy-uniforms is part of that.

    A few years back (but after 9/11) when Pepper went to Mexico to meet with the SecDef, one of his uniforms was stolen from his suitcase -- and all kinds of investigators got involved!

    One does wonder.

  5. I don't know Buck, but them stripes look all backwards...chevrons should be at the bottom, with the rocker at the top. And where's the crow holding the whole thing up?

    JK, of course. Glad it went well. So, do you have get a regulation haircut? I will never wear my uniforms again, cause I do not ever want to shave my beard.

  6. Daph: Heh!

    You had to show ID to get on base, right?

    True, dat, Moogie. But all other facilities on base... BX, commissary, the pharmacy at the clinic... all ask to see your ID at the point of service. I'm thinking this was just oversight on their part. And you're right about vehicle decals - Cannon dropped the requirement two or three years ago. It's "show your ID at the gate" now... everyone, no exceptions.

    BR: Heh on the stripes! Our star holds it all together, of course. We're ALL stars on the E-side, yanno? As for the beard thing... I'm beginning to soften on that. I told SN1 of my intent NOT to shave and he had no objections; SN2 has read the comments in my first post on this subject and he had nothing to say. But, that said... it used to be my habit to shave the beard off every June and put it back sometime in November (summer, and all that: it gets HOT here). I may just go ahead and do that. And I WILL get my semi-annual haircut next week, but there will be NO "high and tight" shit.

  7. Let's be honest: if someone was going to buy a uniform to be a fake warrior, he wouldn't be buying an AF enlisted men's rig. Also, there's no law against acquiring all of those components. Some people do have collections of uniforms (most of them live in Gettysburg, PA).

    It's wearing it, and attempting to pass yourself off as an honored former, that's against the "stolen honor" law.

    You could buy most of the components (if not all) at a military surplus store. I sold mine when I got out; but I removed all of the rank and branch insignia before I sold them.

  8. Buck, Hope your HP arrives on time.

  9. I think it is pretty cool to be able to go to your SN1's Change of Command in uniform.

    Lucky Fella!

    You're gonna look great.

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  11. I sold mine when I got out...

    I finally got rid of my Class A's in the Great Goin' Out o' Bid'niz Sale in 1999. I think they went to Goodwill, sans stripes and such.

    Dan: I checked FedEx's web site this morning... the box was in Clovis (the next town over) at 0758 hrs. Amazing.

    Darryl: Slight correction: SN2 is the one assuming command. He's always one step ahead of SN1... except in service affiliation. ;-) Thanks for the kind words!

  12. I kinda wondered about the ID card thang, tho.

    Mmmm, hmmm. Yes, it was probably an oversight, or it could've been a judgment call by someone who knows ya.

    Minor point to be made: Just because you do have the ID to get on base, does not mean you belong in a uniform by any means. Presuming everything is on the up-&-up, the most that is proven is that you have business on the base. Which I did, across dozens and dozens of bases all across the fruited plane, in the months & years just following 9/11. My memory is a little bit fuzzy on when I did & did not require an escort, it seemed to depend more on the service branch than the color-code threat level.

    Maybe it was my mode of thinking as a security guy (not as impressive as it sounds, I was a sort of Barney-Fife security guy), but I never did patronize a base store without looking quizzically back at it on my way out, thinking "well that was easy, I wonder if I really was allowed to do that."

    Well hey. When you've been gulping coffee all day long and you're driving through all those states meeting people for the very first time, you just gotta have that stick of gum.

    Never was able to envision a serious threat to base security originating in the store. Until I read your post right here. A crackdown might be a good idea.

  13. Post pictures once it all comes in, please?! Betch'all look rather handsome in that uniform of yours!!


  14. My memory is a little bit fuzzy on when I did & did not require an escort, it seemed to depend more on the service branch than the color-code threat level.

    It prolly depended more on WHERE you went on base. Some areas are off limits to nearly everyone but those with a demonstrated need to be there.

    KC: Oh, yeah... there WILL be pics. Rest assured.

  15. Did I miss the part about WHY you got rid of your ribbons? Didn't you earn them? And I just thought those kinds of things would at the very least be in a "dresser valet box" (notice I didn't say jewelry box), no matter your living situation storage limits.

    Or in a nice small shadowbox? That was such an important part of your life.

    (And, no, leave out the argument between you and whichever SN it was, bec. even if you think they weren't all such wonderful ribbons, they were still yours and now you're buying them back.)

    I'm so confused.

  16. Ribbons...are not the same as medals. I'm not even sure which ones I was awarded; I suppose it's on my DD214. Probably the Good Hygine Medal, the Never Got Arrested Ribbon, and the Overseas Drinking Award (with oak leaf cluster).

    I can't speak for Buck, but for me, since I didn't do anything particularly dangerous or memorable, I didn't feel the need to commemorate any of it. His career was much longer, and more interesting.

  17. Or in a nice small shadowbox?

    I have one of those, but it's way-old and the ribbons are aged and discolored. I COULD wear those, but I won't... coz the uniform has to be perfect. And Gordon is right, there's a difference between ribbons and medals. I wear nine ribbons on my uniform, six of which were for just showing up and not gettin' caught at anything, or "bein' there" awards.

    ... the Overseas Drinking Award (with oak leaf cluster)

    Heh. I have that one, with a couple o' SILVER OLCs.

  18. I get it now. My bad, I wasn't thinking.

    And, plus which, nice fresh crisp new ribbons will look VERY NICE on brand new uniform, too!!

    You three will be turning heads for sure!

  19. Hey, G&T at the Raffles...that's a silver OLC right there.

  20. You did that too? But I was a civilian when I made my visits... just normal, everyday, garden variety consultant behavior. Heh.

  21. I just noticed that they have changed the stripe pattern for Master Sergeant. I like the change. MS insignia should be distinctive from Tech Sergeant.

    I also noticed that nearly everyone gets a badge nowadays. I once designed an Air Weather Service badge. My commander sent it up the line, and it was never seen again.

  22. Nah, I just remembered that you did it, and I was jealous. That's a bucket list item, you know.

  23. I also noticed that nearly everyone gets a badge nowadays.

    NEARLY everyone? I'm thinking even the weeds 'n' seeds guys have one, too. I thought ever so briefly about trying to figure out what sort of badge I would have worn but gave it up almost immediately. First, USAF re-numbered all the E-AFSCs, so there's no 1:1 comparison possible and second, I was never awarded a badge, anyhoo. Back in our day we could honestly say "we don't NEED no steenkin' BADGES!"

    All that said... I kinda like the new stripes now, too. I wasn't thrilled at first, as the old stripes worked pretty good for about 40 years or so. TRADITION!!

    Lastly... Raffles should be an item on everyone's bucket list. At least those of us in the English-speaking world.

  24. Sam Pennington18 June, 2010 17:44

    I will be sporting a "High and Tight"; that's what I do.

    I'm getting excited about the event... more so to see my closest friends and family in one place.

    The only reason I'm "a step ahead" is that I got lucky with timing. I'm confident Buck will end up a Colonel and I'll retire at my current rank, but I'll look sharp doing it! Chicks dig the whites. ;)


  25. Congratulations, Sam, on your new command. I know Buck Sr. said he had to special order the blouse, but the real reason is that he's so swollen with pride.

    And what father wouldn't be?

  26. Sam Pennington19 June, 2010 07:09

    Thank you very much... Much of what I've done in life is direct reflection of my Mother's and Father's guidance and example. I'm very fortunate to have them in my life.
    I'm also very proud of them.


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