GREAT FALLS -- Security forces airmen at Malmstrom Air Force Base have begun receiving the new Operation Enduring Freedom Camouflage Pattern uniform.
The new uniform includes cold-weather gear, which officials say provides seven levels of protection against the extreme weather conditions encountered in Montana, as well as new duty gear and personal protective equipment that has been redesigned with the missile field mission in mind, where security forces airmen often spend hours at remote sites across Montana in harsh sub-zero conditions.
Airman First Class Brandon Valle said in a press release that security forces troops at all three intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) bases -- Malmstrom, Minot AFB in North Dakota, and F.E. Warren Air Force Base in Wyoming -- are no strangers to the harsh weather at these "northern tier" bases, as well as challenges that come with the remote missile field terrain.
“They're a camouflage uniform that blends with our operating environment to provide better concealment, functionality and survivability advantages,” said Lt. Col. Michelle Stringer, the director of security at 20th Air Force, which oversees all ICBM bases.
Stinger added that the uniform is part of the Model Defender Program that provides new "optics" for weapons and 40 other pieces of equipment.
Other items include ballistic glasses, new pouches, knee and elbow pads, multi-tools, plate carriers, and the extreme weather clothing.
“I think the new uniforms are really cool,” said Airman Dean Fedrizzi of the 790th Missile Security Forces Squadron at F.E. Warren AFB. “I wasn't excited at first, but now that I see them, I'm really psyched to get them.”
The first group of airmen will begin wearing the uniform February 9, and distribution of the gear is expected to be complete by the end of March.
The new gear is part of the broad Force Improvement Program, which was launched to improve operational readiness and quality of life following recent scandals in the Air Force nuclear mission.