In Uniform

Published 12:00 am Sunday, December 17, 2006

Air Force awards new contract to American Apparel

By Dennis Palmer

The Selma Times-Journal

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For the past 20 years, American Apparel has been developing and manufacturing uniforms for the military.

A new contract with the Air Force to manufacture the Airmen’s Battle Uniform will be a boost to the company, which currently employs 1,300 people statewide. Production of the uniform will be at the company’s Selma, Fort Deposit, Oneonta and Opp facilities.

Hodo added that production should be full at all locations and that all plants would be hiring.

In addition to the Air Force contract, American Apparel, headquartered in Selma, is one of the largest military uniform manufacturers in the country.

It also has contracts with the Marine Corp and Army, and hopes to win a contract next year with the Navy, which the company has been working with to develop a new uniform.

The new Air Force uniform features a patented &8220;tiger stripe&8221; camouflage and includes inside map pockets and sleeve pockets. Airmen should expect to see the new uniform early next year.

The move for each branch of the military to create its own unique uniform began five years ago when the Marine Corp decided they wanted a new and improved uniform that distinguished them from the other branches of the military.

Hodo said the research and development of a new uniform is not a quick process, sometimes lasting up to five years before going in to full scale manufacturing.

Hodo said that while top brass is involved in the final decision, the enlisted personnel are heavily involved in every project.

Wayne Vardaman, President of the Selma and Dallas County Centre for Commerce, emphasized American Apparel’s importance to the county and what this contract means to the quality of life here.