The Navy has approved an alternative rank insignia that can be worn with Navy working uniform Type III — following complaints regarding the “limited visibility” of the camouflage pattern rank insignia that has historically accompanied the uniform.
“Your concerns have been heard,” Navy Personnel Command said in a Facebook post Friday. “The Navy has now authorized a new and more recognizable rank tab for optional wear.”
Sailors now have the option to use the cold weather parka rank insignia on the NWU Type III parka, black fleece liner and shirt, according to a NAVADMIN released Thursday. The order applies to E-4 through O-10 personnel.
The insignia’s background is solid black with gold, silver and scarlet thread and slides onto the NWU Type III rank tab.
“The camo version is still authorized for regular wear as is the new option,” the Navy said in a Facebook post. “However, camo must be worn in tactical and training environments when camouflage protection is needed.”
The policy is effective immediately, and was enacted following feedback from the fleet during a rank insignia wear evaluation and question-of-the-day video responses, along with other complaints.
Sailors have been wearing the NWU Type III uniform since October 2019 — replacing the NWU Type I uniforms commonly referred to as “blueberries.”
With that uniform, the rank insignia rested on the blouse collar. But the woodland cammies have the rank insignia resting in the middle of the chest — prompting complaints about the placement of the rank insignia and the subsequent stares.
“We have gotten an earful of feedback,” Fleet Master Chief Wes Koshoffer said last fall during a Facebook live event. “One of the issues, visibility of the rank insignia on the chest and the fact that female sailors, many have communicated that they’re uncomfortable with that.”
Koshoffer and Chief of Naval Personnel Vice Adm. John B. Nowell Jr. said at the time they were examining potential changes to the placement of the rank insignia.
Navy Personnel Command did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Navy Times.
The uniform change to NWU Type III was also accompanied by a cover change. Instead of covers with rank insignia on them, the Navy approved an eight-point cover with the anchor, the frigate Constitution and eagle.