Days are numbered for women's junior-enlisted bucket cover, as women at Recruit Training Command Great Lakes, Illinois, were fitted for "Dixie cups" at uniform issue on Monday, according to a Navy release.
For the first time, new Navy recruits will don the same covers, as part of a junior enlisted uniform overhaul led by Navy Secretary Ray Mabus to promote gender equality in appearance.
Women in the fleet have until Oct. 31 to switch out their covers, as outlined in NAVADMIN 236/15.
"It's really awesome how something as simple as our cover is so symbolic in regards to equality and the uniformity in the military," Seaman Recruit Madeleine Bohnert said in the Navy release.
Similarly, female officers and senior enlisted are making the switch to new uniforms based on traditional men's styles, with combination covers and mandarin-collar dress whites.
"We're already part of a team and this just promotes it in a better way," recruit division commander Engineman 2nd Class Shanice Floyd said in the release. "Junior enlisted males and females already wear the same dress white uniform so this way when we get into the same dress blues uniform we'll look more as a unit."
Women at boot camp will begin receiving restyled gender-neutral blue crackerjacks in October, followed by the white version in October 2017.
Senior enlisted women have until January 2020 make the switch with their dress whites, while junior enlisted women have until that date to get blue crackerjacks, followed by the white version no later than October 2021.
Meghann Myers is the Pentagon bureau chief at Military Times. She covers operations, policy, personnel, leadership and other issues affecting service members.