Some Don't Like It Hot: Shorts on the Way for Maintainers at Nellis Air Force Base

Maintainers from Hurlburt Field, Fla., and Cannon AFB, New Mexico prepare a V-22 Osprey for takeoff, June 5, 2019, at Nellis AFB, Nev. (U.S. Air Force photo/Jeremy Wentworth)
Maintainers from Hurlburt Field, Fla., and Cannon AFB, New Mexico prepare a V-22 Osprey for takeoff, June 5, 2019, at Nellis AFB, Nev. (U.S. Air Force photo/Jeremy Wentworth)

Pants are overrated, anyway.

Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada, is getting ready to give its maintainers some breathing room while they're tending to aircraft on scorching flight lines.

They’ll soon be able to wear shorts on the job, according to the 57th Wing.

The news was first reported by Air Force Times last week after photos surfaced on the popular, but unofficial Air Force Facebook page Amn/Nco/Snco.

"The initial test cadre is currently being selected and sized for shorts, [and] initial delivery of the shorts is expected within the next 45 days," the 57th Wing told Military.com in an email Thursday. "The proposed items are currently for personnel assigned to the 57th Maintenance Group. Implementation for the wear of shorts will be a phased approach, and we expect within the next four months that shorts will be widely fielded throughout the group."

The high-stress, high-heat environment -- which in the summer can reach above 120 degrees -- prompted officials to get utility shorts for its maintenance crew, officials said.

But that's not all.

"The group has issued cooling vests, obtained lightweight work pants, and provided ballistic sunglasses that also serve as eye protection," public affairs officials said.

Not officially part of any Air Force uniform, the shorts can be worn in maintenance and flight line areas only. Technicians still must wear proper protective clothing when required.

It wasn't immediately clear why leaders didn't opt for zip-away, convertible cargo pants, which allow pant legs to be zipped off or reattached as required. When asked, officials noted senior leaders believe the shorts and cooling vests are the best options.

"The shorts are not the only initiative the 57th Maintenance Group has pursued to improve quality of life for technicians in their work areas," the email states.

It's likely the shorts will be allowed year round, Nick Janeway, a spokesman for Nellis' 57th Maintenance Group, told Air Force Times on July 12.

Could the shorts be approved for wear by maintainers across the service? It's too soon to tell.

"Investing in our airmen is critical to ensure America's air dominance and success in the high-end fight," wing officials said.

-- Oriana Pawlyk can be reached at oriana.pawlyk@military.com. Follow her on Twitter at @Oriana0214.

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