A sailor aboard the amphibious assault ship Bataan unpacks flame-resistant coveralls Wednesday. The Bataan's crew will be the first to wear the new, dark blue uniforms. (Navy)
The Navy has started distributing flame-resistant coveralls to its sailors, with crew members aboard the amphibious assault ship Bataan receiving the first batch.
The service announced in May it would phase in flame-resistant clothing for every sailor who goes to sea aboard surface ships and aircraft carriers. On Wednesday, sailors aboard the Bataan at Naval Station Norfolk, Va., unpacked their new, dark blue cotton clothing.
The FRV coveralls will be worn underway in place of the Type I Navy working uniform in nearly all cases — exceptions being special events such as manning the rails, change-of-command ceremonies or receptions held at anchor, according to a Navy news release. Sailors will continue to wear other organizational clothing on flight decks, for example, or “while performing work on electrical systems requiring arc-flash protection,” the release said.
Testing in 2012 revealed the camouflage nylon and cotton blend uniforms worn by most sailors aboard ships will burn and melt until they’re completely consumed. The Bataan was chosen by Fleet Forces Command to receive the new uniforms first because it is deploying soon. The Navy says distribution to all other sailors should be complete by the end of the year.
“The new coveralls are a big step for us,” Command Master Chief Kevin Goodrich, the Bataan’s senior enlisted crew member, said in the Navy release. “All sailors are fire fighters first, and now with everyone wearing these uniforms, our response time will be even faster in the event of an onboard emergency.”
The uniforms, which have a design similar to existing coveralls, are not part of the seabag and will be provided at no cost to sailors. They’re expected to last 18 to 24 months.
Army and Marine combat uniforms already are designed to be self-extinguishing.