PT uniforms uncomfortable, changes in the works

Tinker Air Force Base -- Tight, noisy and heavy physical training uniforms are becoming an additional challenge to staying fit to fight, Airmen said.
   The Air Force uniform board received nearly 500 suggestions on improving the Air Force PT uniforms, which became mandatory wear in Oct. 2006, said Senior Master Sgt. Dana Athnos, Air Force uniform board superintendent.
   "The shorts have run small since day one and we have heard comments that the pants and jackets make too much noise when running," said Tinker Exchange General Manager Flishia Bailey.
   The suits are currently made of a light-weight material coated with a wind and rain resistant finish that proves noisy and adds extra weight.
   The clothing office is researching other fabrics that are lighter, yet would retain the weather-resistant qualities.
   Another major issue is the lining in the shorts. Many Airmen feel the lining is too tight, causing them to buy shorts two or three sizes larger than usual. The Air Force Clothing Office at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio is modifying the lining to make the shorts more comfortable.
   Another option Airmen currently have is to remove the lining, according to an email released in 2005 by Col. James P. Sturch, United States Air Force director of Force Operations. However, no other modifications can be made to other PTU items.
   In addition to these changes, the board plans to introduce optional PT uniform items within a year.
   Some of those items include shorts geared for long-distance runners, a long-sleeve T-shirt, medium weight sweatshirt and a fleece vest with a zipper.
   The board is looking into running shorts with a split halfway up the leg, made with a lightweight, anti-odor, moisture-absorbing stretch fabric incorporated into the lining and outer shell.
   "The PTU is a work-out uniform, designed to provide maximum comfort and visibility for our Airmen," Col. Sturch said in an email.
   "Our intent is to strike an effective balance between utility of wear during fitness activities and display a professional military image," he added.