USAF LIEUTENANT COLONEL SHOULDER BOARDS FOR MEN'S AND WOMEN'S MESS DRESS

Lieutenant Colonels in the United States Air Force wear shoulder marks on the Men’s and Women’s Formal Dress and Mess Dress uniforms. The marks are attached by unbuttoning the shoulder board, sliding the bottom half through loops sewn onto the shoulders of the Mess Dress coat, then buttoning the board when it is properly positioned on the uniform. Regulations call for the board to be placed so that the rank insignia is as close to the shoulder seam of the coat as possible.

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The United States Air Force introduced shoulder boards when it added the Mess Dress to its uniform lineup in 1958. Originally, the Mess Dress uniform came in two styles, Winter and Summer, with both featuring black trousers and seasonally colored coats (white for summer, black for winter). At the same time, the Air Force introduced a black formal dress overcoat that also featured shoulder boards; it was designed for wear for wear with the two Mess Dress uniforms and the Formal Evening Dress (FED) uniform. (The FED eschewed shoulder boards, instead using elaborate sleeve-braid ornamentation for rank insignia that blended Army and Navy styles.)

Shoulder boards were also used for display of rank insignia on several obsolete Air Force uniforms, including the Informal Black and the White or Blue Ceremonial Dress uniforms; the White Ceremonial was officially phased out 1 March 1993, followed by the Blue Ceremonial uniform on 1 August 1994.
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