The Retro WWII Uniform Just Doesn’t Fit General Milley

by | Sep 20, 2021 |

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To say that Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Mark Milley is something of a lighting-rod right now would be an understatement. The general has found himself in the middle of one personal controversy after another where rightly or wrongly his judgment has been called into question.

Traditionally the senior military advisor to the president has always remained a fairly low profile individual and has not been someone who finds themselves often in the media spotlight, or their actions under the microscope as General Milley has. It’s hard to recall another Joint Chiefs Chairman who has been embroiled in as many controversial incidents during his tenure.

The CJCS has historically been more of a behind-the-scenes counselor to the president on all matters involving the U.S. military. A steady and quiet voice in the background that a president as Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces can rely upon for advice and guidance. Certainly not someone seeking nor generating much media scrutiny. That would be contrary to his being able to quietly and confidently counsel the president.

But that’s not the case with Mark Milley. While outwardly exhibiting discomfort under all the current media exposure, inwardly I think the general relishes the attention.

Milley sees himself as something akin to a mythical knight in shining armor mounted on his trusty steed, sword in hand as he stands alone and firm in defense of the republic.

I think back on former Army General Alexander Haig who served as Chief of Staff during the turbulent times before the then President Nixon resigned the presidency. Haig is credited with maintaining a steady hand on the Nixon Administration while President Nixon emotionally teetered on the edge facing his impeachment from office. Milley doesn’t conjure up such an image of a steady hand on the ship of state. Maybe it’s all the “white rage” he sees that distorts his view of what his job is.

In recent years the U.S. Army transitioned to a new dress uniform look, one modeled after the uniforms worn by soldiers in World War II, the ‘pinks and greens’ as it has been called. A striking change from the old fairly drab Army dress uniforms that I was issued way back in 1974 – the Class A uniforms of the Vietnam era and beyond.

Back during World War II the Supreme Allied Commander General Dwight D. Eisenhower even had part of the uniform ‘unofficially’ named after him. The short, waist-length outer garment was called the ‘Ike Jacket’, and most of the noted generals of World War II chose to wear it. Photos abound of Eisenhower, Generals Omar Bradley, George S. Patton, and others all wearing the Ike Jacket. During more formal or official events the ‘pinks and greens’ with a full-length jacket were worn, but the Ike Jacket was the choice for daily wear for most.

This new Army uniform change was likely made to try to both honor the Army’s past, and as a recruitment tool to help attract new recruits into the Army with a snappy new uniform look.

But somehow seeing General Mark Milley wearing the iconic World War II uniform like the one that Generals Eisenhower, Bradley, and Patton wore seems out of place. It just doesn’t fit.

Image: CBS video shot

D.W. Wilber

Del is a former under cover employee of the Central Intelligence Agency serving overseas in Eastern and Western Europe, and the Middle East. He currently does consulting work in counterterrorism and writes columns, as well as appears as a guest on a number of programs.

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