22, 10:02 AM PST
New Army Uniforms Driving Soldiers Away
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The U.S. Army, already reeling from
falling re-enlistment rates because of poor political leadership,
suffered yet another blow to its retention efforts when it unveiled
its "next generation" uniform last week, due to be
rolled out by 2007.
the dismay of soldiers everywhere, the service's new duds feature
stylishly puffy sleeves and pants, no-wrinkle fabric, a sweet
beret and a pair of tan booties.
"Dude, is that a skirt?"
wondered Sgt. Matt Schnur upon viewing the uniforms on the Internet.
"No way -- I ain't gonna re-up just to get laughed at by
Schnur's reaction appeared to
reflect the thinking of most soldiers. Within days of the new
uniform's unveiling, the number of the personnel who had intended
to re-enlist dropped from 68 percent to a mere 11 percent.
The news couldn't be worse for
the Army, which has had to employ a controversial "stop-gap"
measure in order to prevent the all-volunteer force from voluntarily
And yet the news is worse
-- recruitment numbers among the youth of America have also sunk
to such new lows, that many who feared a return of the military
draft are now resigned to it.
"That unifrm is fer teh
fag0rts [sic]," wrote Daniel "G8t0r" Mesker, 15,
a would-be soldier who posts on forums devoted to the Army-created
computer game, "America's Army."
"If teg gheys dress my solider
in that fag0rt thing, i asplode game," Mesker added.
But gay soldiers beg to differ.
"You can bet your sweet
ass that I won't be re-enlisting," said one such soldier,
echoing many others' sentiments. "A boy loves a boy in uniform,
but that fashion disaster looks like a fat girl's pajamas."
The new uniform, which features
"digital camouflage" that's meant to blend in to both
urban and natural environments, is the brainchild of Brigadier
General James Moran and fashion designer Calvin Klein.
"I don't understand everyone's
reactions," Moran said, shaking his head. "We designed
it big to fit armored plates into them."
"And Calvin Klein designs
everything to be beautiful," Klein declared. "Calvin
Klein only designs beautiful underwears and uniforms."
Moran, however, did express some
doubts regarding the new regalia. "I guess I just don't
understand the pale tan booties."
"This is because, unlike
Calvin Klein, you are a fashion barbarian," Klein retorted.
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