Military exchange personnel program. An American view!

This is an online article of an American Officer who was posted to Marchwood SMC on an exchange program:

The duty uniform in the Regiment is Combat 95, the British equivalent of BDUs. If you don’t own a Gore-Tex parka, I would recommend getting one as it will be very useful in this climate, and I prefer not to wear British gear unless I’m in the field. We are authorized to use and wear British field gear, so there is no need to purchase your own American gear.

The next most frequently worn uniform is “Mess Kit,” or the Army Blue Mess uniform. In my first four months in this assignment, I’ve worn mess dress five times. While it is an optional purchase for a U.S. Army officer, it is mandatory for a British officer. You would look very out of place at many social functions without American “mess dress.” It will be specified in your orders that you must bring it. The Army Green uniform and Army Blue uniform are also necessary, although you will wear those much less frequently, perhaps once or twice a year. From time to time I also have to wear the Class B version of Army Green. Owning the black pullover “wooly pully” is also a must in this Regiment. The bottom line on uniforms is make sure you have everything you’re required to own, plus your mess kit and black pullover. Make sure you have a black raincoat and your dress blue hat.

Come with a nice civilian wardrobe, as the Brits tend to dress up more than we’re used to.
Two conservative suits and a blue blazer is the minimum I would recommend.
Jeans or shorts are never acceptable in the officers’ mess or at a Regimental social function unless it is a cook out; the jeans and sneakers look is not widely accepted here.
Casual means a proper pair of trousers and a long sleeve collared shirt. I apologize to any female officers reading this, as I recognize that I’m speaking in terms of men’s clothing, but I think it gives you an idea of the level of dress required.
Lucky he didn't end up with HCav, or he'd have been in for a right shock!
purple_foot said:
Outstanding said:
Sideshow_Bob said:
Lucky he didn't end up with HCav, or he'd have been in for a right shock!
Because they always wear Jeans and sneakers!!
James Blunt does. At least he does until he decides to throw himself off a cliff. 8O
But only after hes got stoned on tour in Bosnia then commanded an Warrior to blow up a small civilian hovel so he can dance around stoned. Ah the life of an officer......
Sideshow_Bob said:
Lucky he didn't end up with HCav, or he'd have been in for a right shock!
When I was over, they had considered for my stop-off in London on the way home having me spend a day or two with them for my touristing, but my lack of adequate civilian wardrobe put paid to that idea.

Here is the similar extract from my own AAR. I think it's safe to put this bit out without compromising OPSEC:

One lesson learned on packing, is that the British are still rather anachronistic about some things. When I was filling my bags, I thought to bring BDUs, As, Blues (For a dining-in type event), helmet, MOLLE gear, flashlight, GPS, (and other such useful field gear) and a decent amount of civilian attire for any evenings or days free, from jeans/T-shirt through collared shirts and slacks. Never during my selection process did it even begin to cross my mind, however, that it might be desirable for me to pack a civilian suit/blazer deal: I only had so much room for cargo. Imagine my shock, therefore, when upon arriving in quarters and being presented with a copy of the ‘Rules of the Mess’ I discovered that under the section for ‘dress code’, it stated to the effect that for dinner “Officers may wear a tweed jacket, or blazer.”. Whilst Class As would be a military equivalent, it is expected that an officer not required to be in uniform will not be. In a mere shirt/tie I felt drastically underdressed. Recommendation: In future, advise exchange officers to bring a casual-ish civilian suit!

A British ‘Officers’ Mess’ is a sort of combination of BOQ, DFAC and O-Club all together. The food can only be described as excellent, though I was surprised by the accommodation which was not up to the standard I have seen in places like Ft Knox and Ft Riley. (But for $3 a night, you can’t complain). The requirement of suit/tie adds some formality to the dining affair, I presume it’s a cultural thing in their officer’s corps. After lunch, it is apparently standard practice to adjourn to the ante-room, where there are leather chairs, wood panelling, coffee/tea and free newspapers, and all the officers tend to hang out for about 15-30 minutes before returning to their duties. About as stereotypical as you could imagine. In the evenings, adventurous souls may take a dip in the pool, or go riding. On the list of ‘useful numbers,’ the very first one was for the Stables.


I take exception to your signature line!

"The difference between Infantrymen and Cavalrymen is the Cavalrymen get to die faster, for we ride into battle!"

Airborne Infantry (82nd AB, Ranger BNs, Special Forces) drop on the Battle field before any Cavalry gets there! ;)
Hmm. Fair point. The motto is Irish and I learned it back in those days, the Irish Army don't really have an airborne/air assault force.

The phrase probably predates the airborne anyway I'd guess

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