PACIFIC OCEAN (Feb. 2, 2012) - Seaman Lawrence Duncan stands watch on the port bridge wing aboard U.S. Navy 7th Fleet flag ship USS Blue Ridge (LCC 19). Blue Ridge is underway following a maintenance period at Command, Fleet Activities Yokosuka. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Mel Orr)
It's out with the old and in with the new as the Navy moved in early September to dump some old-timey accessories and move forward with uniforms designed to better protect sailors from hot and cold temperatures and fire risks. Among the 14 uniform changes: black watch caps can be worn with more uniforms; you can buy a new, sharper-looking raincoat; a lightweight version of the Navy working uniform for steamy climates is set to be available in 2016; and new white and blue crackerjacks are still on their way.
as the Navy makes more than a dozen uniform changes that cover everything from knit watch caps and NWUs to command pins and coveralls.
The goal of this uniform shake-up is to improve the functionality and practicality of your sea bag, officials said. Some changes simply replace current uniforms with improved versions, but some historic pieces are headed to the museum while the Navy ushers in a new era of uniformity.
Poly-cotton utility coveralls are getting tossed as a Navy uniform. the top item to get tossed.As of Oct. 1, the utility coverall is no longer an official uniform and will be restricted to dirty work aboard ships, on flight lines and in hanger bays. Service tapes, breast insignia, and rank insignia are to be removed. , Embroidered name tapes will remain over the right breast pocket and sailors are required to salute while wearing it, if covered). Sailors must change into the uniform of the day or civilian clothes when departing their work space.
The change was driven by the fielding of the flame-resistant variant coveralls. Subs were the last group to get FRVs, and are expected to be fully fielded by year’s end. Like the NWU, the poly-cotton coveralls are susceptible to melting in a fire and their fleet use was subsequently restricted. Still, The utility poly cotton coveralls will be issued as a seabag item at Recruit Training CommandNaval Training Center Great Lakes, Illinois, until the fleet fully transitions to the FRV coverallmakes a full transition to the FRV, said Capt. Janet Bristol, head of the Navy Uniform Matters office. During that time, the seabag requirement of two pairs of coveralls will remain, though the replacement cycle will increase from six months to a year.
White and blue crackerjacks
The long-awaited new and improved crackerjacks are getting closer to reality.
Dress whites, which feature the same styling as dress blues, are set to be released in fiscal 2017.YEARfor men and women sailorsmen and women. And service dress blues will start being issued to recruits by October 2016, officials say.
Both highly anticipated uniforms have been slow coming to the fleet; they've been in development for a decade. But the whites had problems with the black piping bleeding into the white fabric. And the male blues were held up as the Navy decides whether to move forward with female blues similar to those worn by men, instead of the suit-style jackets they wear now.
Officials say they expect the new SDBs to be mandatory by 2020 and the SDWs a year later. Dates and details have been finalized for the service dress blues and service dress whites. The new female SDBs, along with an improved version of the male uniform eight years in the making, will be issued at Great Lakes beginning Oct. 1, 2016. Uniforms will be available to the deckplate soon after, and will be mandatory by Jan. 1, 2020. Availability and mandatory dates for the SDWs will follow by one year.
Sailors with whom Navy Times spoke love the side zipper on the SDB blouse, and the trouser’s three pockets (two tucked inside the front and one on the back). After hundreds of wear tests, the Navy opted for a front rather than side zipper on the trouser. Many sailors said the side zipper looked better, but the version with a front zipper fit better. On the other hand, improved versions of the officer and chief service dress blues went with the side zipper. IS THIS FOR WOMEN'S UNIFORMS?
The female SDBDs are likely to will include the "Dixie cup," which has not been a big hit with most women; HAS THE NAVY MADE THIS DECISION YET?. Some expressed concern that they will have to purchase new covers if they change their hairstyle to the degree that it changes the fit. Testers also said they preferred a removable band around the Dixie cup to keep makeup stains in check. While it is washable, there was question as to whether the makeup will fully come clean. They maywill soon find out.
The total cost for these uniforms isn't known, is not yet known, but the SDBs will be pricier than the current one, have a slightly higher cost than the current uniform, Bristol said. Because it has a three-year service life, sailors will see one-third of the replacement cost in your clothing replacement allowance next year.
"We determined that at twice the cost of the current Dixie cup that adding the headband did not make sense," said Sharon Anderson, spokeswoman for Naval Personnel Command. "The current Dixie cup is washable and has been worn and cared for successfully by our Navy female Ceremonial Guard sailors."
The new improved all-weather coat will be issued at Great Lakes starting Oct. 1, and is already in uniform stores. This black, double-breasted coat was adopted from the Army to replace the Navy's current drab raincoat. The new version is a polyester/cotton blend that includes a belt, zip-out liner, and shoulder epaulets. The coat can be worn with the dinner dress blues and whites, full dress and service dress blues and whites, service khaki and summer whites, the enlisted service uniform, and coveralls.AND LINES EXPLAINING THIS DOUBLE-BREASTED BLACK COAT IS BEING ADOPTED FROM THE ARMY AND WILL REPLACE THE CURRENT ALL WEATHER COAT, A DRAB AFFAIR THAT'S TYPICALLY CALLED THE RAINCOAT. NEW ONE COSTS $103.60
Cold weather parka
For those in seriously cold weather, the Navy is offering a new optional jacket to be worn with service uniforms. The 3-in-1 jacket has a waterproof outer shell that sports a center rank tab, like the NWU parka. This heavy-duty coat comes in at a That will be the better choice for thrifty sailors, as the forthcoming cold weather parka comes in at a chilly $330 and so officials are expecting low sales. Bristol said large sales are not expected, soFewer than 100 have been ordered in the initial offering. The parka will be available at Naval Stations Newport, Rhode Island R.I. and Norfolk, Virginia Va.; at Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall, Virginia Va.; and through the uniform call center.
"If we have a run on the small order that we put in, it will take us a couple of months to get it back in stock, but we don't really expect that," Bristol said. "But we put [the parka] out there to provide something people can wear on travel or in cold locations with dress uniforms, service uniforms, and if they remove rank tabs they can wear with civilian clothing. That way, if you travel, you only have to take one coat with you."
Navy working uniform
The seabag requirement for blue and gray Navy working uniforms will drop from four pairs to three of Type I Navy Working Uniforms will be cut from four to three on Oct. 1 — a decrease driven by FRV usage.
In the meantime, You can expect the requirement to remain steady at three pairs of NWUs, Bristol said.
"Having a port and starboard uniform might be a challenge depending on the environment that you are in and laundry availability," she said. "For right now, three sets seem to be the right number. … We are always reviewing our uniform requirements. We have an upcoming change of leadership for CNO, so we are standing by for any thoughts he might have, as well."
Your annual replacement allowance won’t be adversely affected. The $87 that covered the fourth set of NWUs will now be applied toward your new moisture-wicking warm-up suit, which officials say will be available by October. 1, 2016.
Meanwhile, the Navy is working towards designing a prototype uniform that could one day eliminate your blueberries and FRV coveralls, An improved fire-retardant coverall that will begin wear tests later this year could eliminate the NWU altogether, according to the Navy’s top officer.
"If we get a good coverall, why couldn’t that be the working uniform for the fleet?" Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Jonathan Greenert told Navy Times this yearin late March. "We have to get a good coverall though, one that lasts."
He cautioned that any new uniform has to be comfortable, durable, and cost-effective.
For sailors sweating it out in the tropics, there's a new remedy: lightweight blueberries.
These uniforms weigh a third less than issued NWUs and are designed to be have a more breathable fabric. They are made with the same wrinkle-free nylon/cotton twill used with the Type I NWU, but a treatment added to the fabric prior to its manufacture makes it more breathable, Anderson said.CAN WE SAY WHAT ABOUT THE DESIGN OR FABRIC MAKES THEM MORE BREATHABLE? Sets of these are scheduled to be available by next April in For those hampered by the heavy heat of the Pacific, the Lightweight NWU will be available in Bahrain; Diego Garcia; Pearl Harbor, Hawaii; and Guam in April.
Similarly, sailors on the green side will be happy to hear that the woodland pattern Type III NWU will be available in Guam; Rota, Spain; Jebel Ali, United Arab Emirates; Okinawa and Yokosuka, Japan; and Chinhae, Korea in November. The uniform has been available in Bahrain and Djibouti for nearly a year. Individual sailors will not be able to purchase these uniforms, which still require a unit purchase order or government purchase card. But availability means you won’t have to wait days or weeks to get a replacement, and it will allow commands to reduce space required for overseas storage.
Winter wear(Knit cap, pea coat, parka, NWU Type 1 parka, boat cloak)
Speaking of warming up, some big changes are coming to winter wear. Topping the list is the knit watch cap, a block stocking hat that's built buildfor chilly temperatures. New rules OK it with service and service dress uniforms, except expect service dress whites and summer whites. The watch cap is to be worn with the pea coat, reefer, and the bridge coat, as well as the NWU parka. It can also be worn with new uniform items, like the double-breasted all weather coat and the cold weather parka. which can be worn with a bridge coat, reefer or pea coat, cold weather parka, NWU Type 1 parka or all-weather coat. Wear with organizational clothing, such as the heavy "Mustang" coats worn by topsiders, will be determined by the operational command, Bristol said, but it will not be allowed with the Eisenhower jacket since that is not considered cold weather outerwear.
Cloaks and capes
And don’t plan on wearing it with your boat cloak or your cape — those vintage accessories are getting axed, too. The boat cloak, worn by male chiefs and officers in formal dress uniforms, is a dark blue coat is three-quarters of a circle that extends two inches below the knee. Topped by a circular bent collar, the cloak is noted for its silk or mohair fasteners. Similarly, women will have to retire their capes, worn with formal and dinner dress jackets since World War I.
The boat classThough authorized for male officers and chiefs in formal dress, Students of American history will know the boat cloak well. It was a favoritepreferred garment of President Franklin D. Roosevelt, who had served as assistant secretary of the Navy. FDR’s boat cloak is prominent in photos of the Yalta Conference — a meeting of leaders from the United States, United Kingdom and Soviet Union to discuss Europe's post-war reorganization. His statue at the FDR Memorial in Washington, D.C., also features the cloak.
Dumping these antique accessories dismayed some readers. The elimination caused a slight stir among some. Many who responded to an Aug. 14 Navy Times story announcing the change cited naval heritage as a reason to keep the boat cloak.
"The boat cloak is one of the oldest uniforms still left in the sea bag and a direct historical connection to the Navy's age of sail," said Michael Zampella. "No harm would be done if the cloak were allowed to remain as an optional item, thus allowing an item with significant naval tradition to survive (even more significant in its rarity)."
Tiaras and berets Women's items (capes, tiaras, berets)
Female formal uniforms are about to get less princessy. The tiara's days are numbered. Women will lose their navy blue capes, worn with formal and dinner dress jackets since World War I, as well as tiaras and berets. For decades, women have been allowed to wear the small, crescent-shaped headgear with formal and dinner dress jackets. The black velvet tiara may be tiara is a unique piece of navy formal wear. Made of black velvet with cap device embroidered at the center, it is worn by commanders, captains, and admirals. in formal and dinner dress jackets and can remain on while indoor It can be worn indoors. Nonetheless, Bristol said paltry sales show the tiara is going out of style.
Say goodbye to the beret, too. Women's Still, the Navy saw "few sales of tiaras," Bristol said. The black, semirigid beret authorized for women at all ranks is getting phased out, in favor of a new combination cover for chiefs and officers that fared a little better as it was authorized for females of all ranks, but the Navy is reducing headgear options to emphasize wear of the alternate combination cover that will be available later this year. Female sailors have begun wearing the "Dixie cup" in wear tests, and will continue to wear them when the uniform makes its official debut; a decision on that is expected soon.
These changes come as the service moves to discard some women's specific uniforms and styling, as part of an effort to make them better fit in with their male peers. Many have hailed the initiative for allowing women to wear iconic uniforms, like the blue crackerjacks, but others say it is eliminating feminine styling.
Hey chief, it's time to hang up your well-loved khaki jacket. Yep, the Navy has finally come around to dumping the khaki windbreakers, often seen on the fleet's saltiest chiefs and officers. It's a holdover from the days when those ranks wore working khakis. With those long gone, the khaki windbreaker Now, worn by officers and chiefs are also out as itis "just an old leftover item" that doesn’t flow well with the direction uniforms are headed, Bristol said.
"There's really no place left for the khaki windbreaker other than a little bit of nostalgia," she said.
Time to slip off those overshoes, too. Just don’t plan on taking your overshoes. The slip-on, low-cut black rubber galoshes were authorized for officers and chiefs in dress or ceremonial uniforms to protect footwear from getting wet from rain and snow. Now, you better watch your step, or buy a pair of rain or snow boots, which remain authorized.
On the horizon
More uniform changes are in the works. Other changes are on the horizon. Women in coming years may see a pencil design skirt in white and khaki, and a beltless khaki slack for wear with the overblouse. Whether it will have a front or side zipper has not been determined, though the latter provides no gig line to align the overblouse and has no pockets other than the interior welt pocket.
More than 200 female chiefs and officers are wrapping up a wear test of new service dress whites, commonly known as "choker whites." This prototype has the same high collar common to the male uniform, no chest pockets, and buttons that are smaller yet proportional. The goal is to make these uniforms available in the fall of 2016, officials said.
Correction: A previous version of this article incorrectly stated a location where the lightweight NWU will be sold. It will not be sold in Bahrain.