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Sweetpea3829
Recruit

Posts: 6
Unit: NY212

« on: November 08, 2019, 02:51:05 PM »

Folks, please please help! It took me quite awhile to find ABUs that properly fit my 12 yr old son, as he (like me) is rather short.  I ended up getting lucky with Vanguard but as has been mentioned here, their quality is questionable.  In fact, we have already had to sew on replacement buttons. And...I don't even see CAP ABUs on there anymore.

My son is about to promote to Staff Sergeant and will be eligible to begin wearing the service jacket (I think it's called). 

Now...I understand that this jacket is optional.  But my Great Uncle wants to buy him one as a congratulations gift.  He will be flying in to do my son's pinning (he is a retired Master Chief) and wants to present it to him then. 

I am so confused on where to get one, and the differences between the cadet version and the adult version. 

His squadron leaders suggested eBay, but I'd like to see if we can find a new one.

We do NOT live near any air Force bases and the army/navy surplus stores are few and far between.  Moreover, they did not have CAP stuff when we went looking for ABUs. 

Who sells these online?  What do I need to know in purchasing this upgraded Blues uniform?

In addition...where can I now buy CAP ABUs online?  I have two more sons who will be joining over the next two years and they're going to need small uniforms as well.
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Eclipse
Too Much Free Time With Silver Clasp
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« Reply #1 on: November 08, 2019, 03:05:12 PM »

In addition...where can I now buy CAP ABUs online? 

https://www.vanguardmil.com/collections/cap-abu-uniform
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Sweetpea3829
Recruit

Posts: 6
Unit: NY212

« Reply #2 on: November 08, 2019, 03:13:17 PM »

 
In addition...where can I now buy CAP ABUs online? 

https://www.vanguardmil.com/collections/cap-abu-uniform

Thanks for that link.  When you click on the Vanguard drop down for CAP, it doesn't show an option for the ABU uniforms.  Turns out you have to actually search for them.

How about the service coats?
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Eclipse
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« Reply #3 on: November 08, 2019, 03:53:16 PM »

The only official source for service coats is AAFES, and CAP does not have privileges for purchase there.

You mention you are not near any Air Force bases, so an MCSS location is likely out of the question as well.

Your best bet is going to be local surplus or ebay, and I would suggest you stick to the old-style 4-pocket jacket
which can still be worn by cadets.

There are a couple unofficial sources online for new service coats but they are prohibitively expensive, especially
for a growing cadet, and have limited size options.

You can expect to pay $200+ for an enlisted jacket, and the small size issue will continue to be a problem.
http://www.uniforms-4u.com/p-usaf-enlisted-service-dress-uniform-3244.aspx
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Eclipse
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« Reply #4 on: November 08, 2019, 03:56:12 PM »

Ebay: https://www.ebay.com/sch/i.html?_from=R40&_trksid=p2380057.m570.l1311.R1.TR5.TRC0.A0.H0.Xair+force+service+.TRS0&_nkw=air+force+service+coat&_sacat=0

You're going to find a lot more enlisted vs. officer jacket on the secondary market, either is fine,
however you have to be careful as the enlisted stripes sewn on the sleeves have to be removed and
often that leave a scar that ruins the garment.
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abdsp51
Salty & Seasoned Contributor

Posts: 2,657
Unit: Classified

« Reply #5 on: November 08, 2019, 05:20:57 PM »

What size is he currently?  I have a coat that I haven't used in years that's in good shape.  Also he was eligible to wear the service coat when he became a cadet unless the unit has an SOP and then from your statement it reeks of elitism and shouldn't be going on.
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NIN
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Posts: 5,406
Unit: of issue

« Reply #6 on: November 08, 2019, 05:34:09 PM »

What size is he currently?  I have a coat that I haven't used in years that's in good shape.  Also he was eligible to wear the service coat when he became a cadet unless the unit has an SOP and then from your statement it reeks of elitism and shouldn't be going on.
It may not be elitism, maybe more of the unit recognizing that a cadet doesn't *need* a service coat until they're an NCO. Or perhaps restated: their duties and circumstances don't require mom and dad to go out and blow money on a service coat until they become an NCO.

most cadets (with obvious exceptions) don't truly need a service coat anyway, especially in Phase I.
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The contents of this post are Copyright © 2007-2019 by NIN. All rights are reserved. Specific permission is given to quote this post here on CAP-Talk only.
abdsp51
Salty & Seasoned Contributor

Posts: 2,657
Unit: Classified

« Reply #7 on: November 08, 2019, 05:36:09 PM »

What size is he currently?  I have a coat that I haven't used in years that's in good shape.  Also he was eligible to wear the service coat when he became a cadet unless the unit has an SOP and then from your statement it reeks of elitism and shouldn't be going on.
It may not be elitism, maybe more of the unit recognizing that a cadet doesn't *need* a service coat until they're an NCO. Or perhaps restated: their duties and circumstances don't require mom and dad to go out and blow money on a service coat until they become an NCO.

most cadets (with obvious exceptions) don't truly need a service coat anyway, especially in Phase I.

Read her statement.  Her cadet will become eligible.  The cadet was eligible to wear the service coat as soon as he became a member
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GZCP31
Member

Posts: 60
Unit: Somewhere

« Reply #8 on: November 08, 2019, 07:06:54 PM »

What size is he currently?  I have a coat that I haven't used in years that's in good shape.  Also he was eligible to wear the service coat when he became a cadet unless the unit has an SOP and then from your statement it reeks of elitism and shouldn't be going on.
It may not be elitism, maybe more of the unit recognizing that a cadet doesn't *need* a service coat until they're an NCO. Or perhaps restated: their duties and circumstances don't require mom and dad to go out and blow money on a service coat until they become an NCO.

most cadets (with obvious exceptions) don't truly need a service coat anyway, especially in Phase I.

Read her statement.  Her cadet will become eligible.  The cadet was eligible to wear the service coat as soon as he became a member

Some squadrons still have the old notion that you "cannot" wear the service coat until you reach a certain grade. I always tell them to show me in the Regulations where it states that.

On the other hand. The service coats are hard to get at some squadrons and they will not "issue" one until they reach a the minimum grade in the squadron. This is understandable. It does not prohibit the cadet from sourcing their own.
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Eclipse
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Posts: 30,387

« Reply #9 on: November 08, 2019, 07:32:55 PM »

Honestly, the opportunity to wear a service coat as Junior NCO are going to be few and far between.
Holiday party, maybe, but wouldn't even be to normal meetings unless just for warmth, since
odds are that would not be UOD.

Most cadets don't even wear them at encampment graduation, so while a nice gesture, probably
not worth the expense and hassle.

Have Great Uncle get him a Wright Brothers coin and call it a day...
https://www.vanguardmil.com/products/civil-air-patrol-wright-brothers-coin
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Spam
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Posts: 1,343
Unit: GA-090

« Reply #10 on: November 08, 2019, 08:00:12 PM »


Or, better than a coin, something useful:  a set of field gear if he's interested in Ground Team training, or money for Ground School if flight training!

 ;D

Cheers
Spam
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Sweetpea3829
Recruit

Posts: 6
Unit: NY212

« Reply #11 on: November 09, 2019, 10:28:01 AM »

What size is he currently?  I have a coat that I haven't used in years that's in good shape.  Also he was eligible to wear the service coat when he became a cadet unless the unit has an SOP and then from your statement it reeks of elitism and shouldn't be going on.

And here's the big thing with sizing.  I HAVE NO IDEA...lol!  His ABU top is a size 12 (I believe from Vanguard).  Sizing his CAP stuff has been an adventure in and of itself.  If it helps, he generally wears a size 12 in civilian clothing.  He's turning 13 in a month, and I anticipate a growth spurt. 

As for the eligibility...I honestly have no idea.  I was under the impression that a cadet needed to achieve C/SSGT in order to wear the service coat.  But that may have been my own misunderstanding.  Our unit is very small with only a handful of regular attending cadets.  Of those, two are quite a bit older and are nearing Spaatz, a third just turned 18 and is technically a senior member now but only a TSGT.   

We lost two cadets last year to graduation/college.  The two older boys, and one of the graduated cadets from last year, are the boys who wear service jackets.  Typically anytime they wear Blues. 

P.S. I have no idea what an SOP is. 

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Sweetpea3829
Recruit

Posts: 6
Unit: NY212

« Reply #12 on: November 09, 2019, 10:41:42 AM »

Honestly, the opportunity to wear a service coat as Junior NCO are going to be few and far between.
Holiday party, maybe, but wouldn't even be to normal meetings unless just for warmth, since
odds are that would not be UOD.

Most cadets don't even wear them at encampment graduation, so while a nice gesture, probably
not worth the expense and hassle.

Have Great Uncle get him a Wright Brothers coin and call it a day...
https://www.vanguardmil.com/products/civil-air-patrol-wright-brothers-coin


Great Uncle gave him a Master Chief challenge coin for his very first promotion.  <3  He enjoys encouraging the boy in this way, but I see what you are saying about the expense and hassle at this point. 

I'm wondering if it just would make more sense to wait until he's further along in his progress.  Maybe for his Mitchell promotion.  Or more likely his Earhart, as he should be a bit older by then and probably of a more conventional size. 

Here's what I don't understand about all of this...

Obtaining uniforms has been the least enjoyable aspect of CAP.  At least for me, as Mom.  It's almost like this mysterious process, lol!  You can get some parts of the uniform at Vanguard, but sizing there is limited, finding what you need on their website is a challenge unless you know how to look,
 and the quality there is not the greatest. 

Add in the difficulty with obtaining a full Dress Blues uniform, jacket, etc. 

And the eleventy-billion page uniform manual?  Not helpful for those of us who have very little military background.  Between the different terms, abbreviations, etc., it's difficult to know exactly what you need and how to get it. 

Wish they'd streamline this a bit more for those of us who do not have a military background. 


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Sweetpea3829
Recruit

Posts: 6
Unit: NY212

« Reply #13 on: November 09, 2019, 10:55:20 AM »

So just clarifying a few points...

There is not an actual Civil Air Patrol specific service jacket.  I have to purchase an Air Force Enlisted or Officer jacket.  What are the specific requirements for that jacket? 

The only place to really purchase one is at the AAFES or a nearby MCSS.  (I had to Google to figure out what those are...lol).  When we were searching out ABUs, we went to a couple of military surplus stores...one about an hour from here, and one located an hour south of Boston, while we were on vacation.  Neither had anything remotely close to the correct sizing for a 12 yr old cadet. 

As for AAFES...while WE don't have privileges to shop there, I believe we can have folks we know shop there.  Can anybody who is from any branch of the military shop there?  Retired folks too? 

Suppose I am able to find him a jacket at a good price.  What else do I need to know regarding his uniform at that point?  Does he need a different undershirt? 

At the end of the day, it sounds like we are better waiting until my cadet is a bit older before investing in one of these jackets.  But I'm going to see what we can do with the AAFES.
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abdsp51
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« Reply #14 on: November 09, 2019, 01:04:13 PM »

So just clarifying a few points...

There is not an actual Civil Air Patrol specific service jacket.  I have to purchase an Air Force Enlisted or Officer jacket.  What are the specific requirements for that jacket? 

The only place to really purchase one is at the AAFES or a nearby MCSS.  (I had to Google to figure out what those are...lol).  When we were searching out ABUs, we went to a couple of military surplus stores...one about an hour from here, and one located an hour south of Boston, while we were on vacation.  Neither had anything remotely close to the correct sizing for a 12 yr old cadet. 

As for AAFES...while WE don't have privileges to shop there, I believe we can have folks we know shop there.  Can anybody who is from any branch of the military shop there?  Retired folks too? 

Suppose I am able to find him a jacket at a good price.  What else do I need to know regarding his uniform at that point?  Does he need a different undershirt? 

At the end of the day, it sounds like we are better waiting until my cadet is a bit older before investing in one of these jackets.  But I'm going to see what we can do with the AAFES.

I have a jacket that I'm willing to part with.  It may be  a bit big though..
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Eclipse
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« Reply #15 on: November 09, 2019, 06:47:59 PM »

As for AAFES...while WE don't have privileges to shop there, I believe we can have folks we know shop there.  Can anybody who is from any branch of the military shop there?  Retired folks too? 

Generally speaking it's Army and Air Force personnel, but there's also a laundry list of other in special circumstances,
such as DOD employees, etc., and MCSS shop vs. online has it's own list, so when questions arise it's best to ask them.

A couple of years ago the word was that retired service members were no longer allowed to purchase uniform items.
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Ohioguard
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Posts: 54

« Reply #16 on: November 09, 2019, 07:29:00 PM »

Retired military member can buy from clothing sales and the exchange. 


JCW
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PHall
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« Reply #17 on: November 09, 2019, 08:55:16 PM »

Generally speaking it's Army and Air Force personnel, but there's also a laundry list of other in special circumstances,
such as DOD employees, etc., and MCSS shop vs. online has it's own list, so when questions arise it's best to ask them.

All service members from any branch are authorized to shop at AAFES and the MCSS. There are no restrictions.
DoD employees are not normally authorized to shop in the MCSS since they normally don't wear uniforms.
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Fester
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Posts: 336

« Reply #18 on: November 11, 2019, 05:52:55 AM »

My two cents....

He has absolutely no need for a Service Coat at his age or grade (what some call rank).

As a cadet in the 90's, my mother never needed to read a single one of the manuals.  It was my interest and my hobby.  If I needed a uniform, it was my responsibility to get it.  Luckily for me, I am an Air Force brat and MCSS was an easy, short walk from the house.  If I needed something sewn on a uniform, I had to do it myself or tell her EXACTLY where it went.  Your son is a Cadet NCO now.  Next time you have a question about what the manuals and regulations say, task him with finding the answer for you.  :D

But if you really do want him to have a Service Coat, eBay is best.  As is the "old style" service coat.  The one with four pockets with four pocket flaps.  I think phase out date for those for Cadets isn't until 2021.
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PHall
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« Reply #19 on: November 11, 2019, 08:48:40 AM »

My two cents....

He has absolutely no need for a Service Coat at his age or grade (what some call rank).

As a cadet in the 90's, my mother never needed to read a single one of the manuals.  It was my interest and my hobby.  If I needed a uniform, it was my responsibility to get it.  Luckily for me, I am an Air Force brat and MCSS was an easy, short walk from the house.  If I needed something sewn on a uniform, I had to do it myself or tell her EXACTLY where it went.  Your son is a Cadet NCO now.  Next time you have a question about what the manuals and regulations say, task him with finding the answer for you.  :D

But if you really do want him to have a Service Coat, eBay is best.  As is the "old style" service coat.  The one with four pockets with four pocket flaps.  I think phase out date for those for Cadets isn't until 2021.


Actually, per CAPM 39-1 dated 26 Jun 2014, there is no phase out date for cadets wearing the old style service dress coat.
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