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Army Green to Air Force Blue

The varied uniforms in this photograph illustrate the USAF in transition during the Korean War. Some wear the old uniform of the U.S. Army Air Forces (USAAF) while others wear newly issued USAF blues or a combination of both. (U.S. Air Force photo)

The varied uniforms in this photograph illustrate the USAF in transition during the Korean War. Some wear the old uniform of the U.S. Army Air Forces (USAAF) while others wear newly issued USAF blues or a combination of both. (U.S. Air Force photo)

The Air Force also created a lightweight summer uniform, which 2nd Lt. Gilreath, a member of the 6147th Tactical Control Group, is wearing here. (U.S. Air Force photo)

The Air Force also created a lightweight summer uniform, which 2nd Lt. Gilreath, a member of the 6147th Tactical Control Group, is wearing here. (U.S. Air Force photo)

DAYTON, Ohio -- "Army Green to Air Force Blue" exhibit in the Korean War Gallery at the National Museum of the United States Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo)

DAYTON, Ohio -- "Army Green to Air Force Blue" exhibit in the Korean War Gallery at the National Museum of the United States Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo)

After the U.S. Air Force became a separate service in 1947, it created new blue uniforms. Even so, Air Force personnel during the Korean War continued to wear U.S. Army uniforms from existing stocks, including the famed "pinks and greens" clothing and "crush cap" hats from World War II. In some cases, Airmen wore a combination of Army green and Air Force blue uniforms.

For the enlisted, yellow Army rank chevrons were replaced with silver Air Force stripes. Another notable change was the renaming of some enlisted ranks in 1952 -- the Army ranks of private and corporal became "Airman."

An interesting result of this uniform change was the nickname "brown-shoe Air Force." The old Army uniform had brown shoes, while the new Air Force blue uniform had black shoes. So, "brown-shoe Air Force" referred to the old U.S. Army Air Forces or to a person who had served in the USAAF.

Click here to return to the Korean War Introduction.

Please note Springfield Street, the road that leads to the museum’s entrance, is undergoing construction through the beginning of September. Expect lane reductions and some delays. Please follow the signs and instructions provided by the road crews.

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