How to Wear the ABU

by Shae Hazelton

The Air Force, like most military branches, enforces a strict policy when it comes to being in uniform. A serviceman must wear the Airman Battle Uniform (ABU) properly or face disciplinary action from his superiors. All designated attire must be worn and decorated with the correct badges. A well-kept ABU reflects the serviceman's attention to protocol and level of respect he has for himself and his fellow officers.

Items you will need

  • Air Force badges
  • Pants
  • Belt
  • Desert-sand colored T-shirt
  • ABU coat
  • Boots
  • Tan nylon belt, if necessary
Step 1

Decorate your ABU coat with the appropriate Air Force badges. Attach 4-inch cloth chevrons to each sleeve if you're enlisted or a metal rank-insignia pin if you're an officer. Fasten specialty badges from departments such as Fire Protection and Office of Special Investigations to the left breast pocket of the coat if you have permission to do so.

Step 2

Get dressed. Put on pants and desert-sand colored T-shirt. If necessary, wear a tan, nylon belt. Tuck in your shirt.

Step 3

Slip on your ABU coat over your T-shirt and button it all the way to the top, leaving only the top button unfastened. The bottom hem of the coat must rest at your hips; if it's any longer or shorter, seek a replacement.

Step 4

Put on your military-issued tan or green combat boots. Tuck your pant legs into your boots. Tie your laces, and tuck the loose ends into the tops of the boots.

Step 5

Make sure items that are in your pockets aren't visible. The only item allowed to protrude from your pocket is a pen sticking out from the breast pocket of the ABU coat.


  • Don't roll up your ABU sleeves without permission from a commanding officer. Also, refrain from removing the coat without permission.

About the Author

Shae Hazelton is a professional writer whose articles are published on various websites. Her topics of expertise include art history, auto repair, computer science, journalism, home economics, woodworking, financial management, medical pathology and creative crafts. Hazelton is working on her own novel and comic strip while she works as a part-time writer and full time Medical Coding student.