CAP Corporate Field Uniform
CAP Corporate Field Uniform
The Corporate Field Uniform or "Blue BDUs" (hereinafter “BBDU”) is a work/utility uniform that is the CAP-corporate equivalent to the USAF-style ABU uniform. We’ll take a quick dive into the wear of this uniform.
The wear instructions for the BBDU are covered in CAPR 39-1, CAP Uniform Regulation, paragraph 5.2.1. Something to note: While the wear instructions give information for cadet grade insignia on the BBDU, this uniform is only authorized for wear by cadets who are over the age of 18 and do not meet the CAP weight standards for wear of the USAF-style uniform (CAPR 39-1, para 188.8.131.52).
The basic wear pattern for this uniform mostly mimics the wear of the ABU uniform in terms of insignia placement, etc. You can read all of that in the regulation. Things that were mentioned previously for ABUs (ie. buttoning pockets/buttons, etc) can generally apply to this uniform. When in doubt, or if it's not clear, it's probably a safe bet to follow the same sort of wear methods and patterns that folks wearing USAF-style are doing.
A few items to note:
Obtaining the uniform: You can buy the BBDU uniform from any commercial source that offers a “4-pocket BDU-style” uniform shirt, or “BDU-style” trousers. Different manufacturers call the colors slightly different things (ie. Propper calls it “LAPD Navy” while TruSpec just calls it “Navy”).
Watch out: there are tactical police and USCG uniforms available commercially with just two-pocket shirts, and different, non-BDU trousers. These are not the same thing! Look carefully before you buy! Its also helpful to match your manufacturers between shirt & trousers, along with fabric weight (ie. ripstop vs temperate weight cotton).
Grooming & weight standards: Because this is a corporate-style CAP uniform, you do not need to meet the USAF-style grooming standards or CAP weight standards for wear of the USAF-style uniforms. Like your hair a little long? Great. Rocking the Santa beard year-round? Super. This is definitely the work/utility uniform for you.
Insignia: This uniform is worn with the “silver-on-dark navy blue” insignia now. After 15 June 2021, the old “white-on-ultramarine blue” insignia will be phased out. If you still wear the BBDU with white-on-ultramarine blue insignia, now is the time to switch.
As with other corporate uniforms, military badges or insignia (apart from CAP grade insignia) are not worn on this uniform. CAP badges only! (para 184.108.40.206.2.10)
Uniform care: Much like I mentioned for ABUs, cold-water washing and hang dry will extend the life of this uniform. It doesn’t need to be pressed/starched into oblivion. This will maintain the colorfastness of this particular uniform, too. The BBDUs tend to fade quickly, so anything you can do to slow that fading will make your uniform last longer. This is another area where matching your uniform parts (top & bottom) between manufacturers and fabric type will help avoid color differences as the uniform ages.
Headgear: You can wear this uniform with either the “blue field cap” (basically a BBDU version of the ABU patrol cap) or a CAP baseball cap. Grade insignia can be sew-on or metal pin-on.
The BBDU can also be worn with no headgear. To preserve commonality with the USAF-style, some form of headgear is definitely preferred, especially if you’re in situations like encampment or other activities where saluting occurs. The blue boonie hat mentioned in para 220.127.116.11.3 is not preferred for normal day-to-day CAP operations (ie. unit meetings, missions, encampments, etc). When worn, headgear will be worn squarely on the head much like the ABU patrol cap.
Footwear: Much like headgear, for commonality with the USAFstyle wear pattern, black boots are the preferred footwear. Technically you *can* wear black shoes with the BBDUs, but I’ve never actually seen this combo worn that way. Trousers should be bloused over combat boots in the same way as described for ABUs previously, at the top of the boot.
Sleeve rolling: The BBDU sleeves are rolled in the same way as ABUs, folded in such a way that the “outside” (what would be the ABU pattern on ABUs) is exposed when complete. If you don’t know how to roll these sleeves like that, track down a cadet and ask them to show you. They’ll love that you asked and will take great joy in demonstrating and helping you.
Outergarments: A blue “field-jacket”-style coat may be worn with insignia (para 6.1.12). This jacket is worn with not only Blue BDUs but with the Corporate Flight Duty Uniform (Dark Blue Flightsuit) or the Corporate Working Uniform (polo shirt combo). You can also wear a conservative-colored coat that covers the shirt. (while not specifically called out, the USCG has a dark blue Goretex jacket that can be worn with this uniform in the same way. It is not a cheap option, however).
The black fleece with nametags and grade insignia (para 6.1.13) may also be worn with this uniform (and the other corporate uniforms).
Remember, no matter what CAP uniforms you choose to wear, it is your responsibility to wear them correctly and with pride. Our uniforms are an outward representation of Civil Air Patrol to the public, and we should always strive to wear them correctly, no matter which style.
As always: CAPR 39-1, Civil Air Patrol Uniform Regulation, is your guide for any wear of the CAP uniform. If you have any questions, ask your mentor, your unit personnel officer or your squadron commander. They are always your first stop for uniform questions.