Army Dress Code
Col. Riaz Jafri (Retd)
I wonder what are the Dress Regulations for the wearing of the uniform in the army these days. In a recently passing out parade of the 126th PMA Long Course the cadets were shown in summer uniform with their sleeves rolled up (as used to be the norm in the days bygone) while the rest of the army wears the summer uniform shirts with sleeves fully rolled down now a days (probably to avoid their arms getting over-tanned!). On the same occasion the Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee General Khalid Shameem Wynne, the highest ranked serving soldier, was shown wearing no belt (Sam Brown) over his Summer Ceremonial Dress! I don’t know why. How could a soldier be without the belt? In our days the belt was taken off to place a person under Open Arrest, but now it seems that the entire army is under open arrest as it is most of the time working without the belt. I wonder how is someone placed under open arrest now-a-days in the army! ;
Our General Staff Officers – Brigadiers and above have also started wearing ‘5 point stars’ on their shirts’ collars and field caps like the Americans do. Ironically, these ‘5 cornered stars’ are also displayed on the ‘Star Plate’ of the Staff Cars and Jeeps etc. of the GS Officer travelling in them. If this novelty is introduced for aping the Americans, then let it be known to all that in the US army all officers wear actual insignia of their rank on their collars and cap. A Lieutenant wears a Strip, a Captain a Rail Road, a Major a Golden Maple Leaf, a Lt Col. A Silver Mapple Leaf and the full Colonel an Eagle. Five pointed stars are worn by the Brigadiers and above.
Talking of generals and officers almost all of them carry their coshes and Malacca canes like the Havaldar Majors carry the ‘Pacer Stick’ on the drill square, that is holding its heavy head with the left hand four fingers and thumb while tucked under the left arm pit. Canes (coshes) are to be held in the armpit straight and parallel to the ground while the left arm is stretched down on the side close to the body with the fist clenched. It is done so while saluting on the march or halt, standing at Attention or At Ease. While marching the stick is held by three fingers – index, middle and the thumb – of the right hand and swung forward and backward but all the time keeping the stick parallel to the ground.
There is yet another ‘dandyism’ gaining fast favours with our officers, especially the young officers. That is wearing of the beret cap with the cap badge resting above the left temple instead of the left eyebrow. I don’t know the reason for doing so but still more surprising is the lack of moral courage on the part of the seniors not to check it.
May I remind the present generation military personnel that the morale and the fighting fitness of a unit can be judged by simply looking at the turnout of a soldier and the way he carries himself when he is out of the unit lines. And, wearing of the uniform properly and smartly wins not only him the laurels but also speaks high of his Paltan.
Pak Army Zinda Bad.
Col. Riaz Jafri (Retd)