Sailors will start receiving a new two-piece, flame retardant uniform billed as the “primary at-sea” option before the end of 2022.
The Navy’s objective is to provide an “adaptable” uniform that can be worn in multiple working conditions, including surface ships, submarines and flight decks, but is also approved for use while commuting and off base, Fleet Forces Command spokeswoman Lt. Cmdr. Madie Hansen told Navy Times on Thursday.
The uniform, known as the 2-Piece Organizational Clothing uniform, or 2POC, was approved Monday and features a tri-fiber blend, flame resistant fabric, equivalent to the flame resistance found in the Improved Fire Retardant Variant uniform, according to a Fleet Forces Command internal message obtained by Navy Times.
Fleet Forces Command confirmed the authenticity of the internal message to Navy Times.
The Navy is set to roll out the 2POC to sailors in November and December, starting with sailors assigned to ships in maintenance since it is an at-sea uniform, Hansen said.
Ships will distribute the organizational clothing to sailors free of charge, just as they were provided the Improved Fire Retardant Variant uniform, according to Hansen. The IFRV coveralls are still authorized for wear at-sea, although the 2POC will replace them as the primary option.
“Each sailor serving on board surface ships and submarines will be issued a minimum of two sets of 2POC as organization clothing, with an additional set upon deployment,” the Fleet Forces Command internal message said. “Units are authorized to continue ordering IFRVS until unit has been fully outfitted with 2POC.”
The uniform comes in blue for sailors E-6 and below. A khaki version is available for E-7 sailors and above and officers.
The black NWU fleece liner is approved for use with the 2POC, and sailors may wear command ball caps while wearing it. Additionally, sailors can pair it with flight deck jerseys, eliminating the need for commands to purchase separate flight deck pants. Sailors will wear brown undershirts with the 2POC, and a black rank tab for both blue and khaki options.
The uniform is authorized for commuting and other “normal” tasks, such as stops at child care, gas stations, and off-base shopping, unlike the IFVR uniform, and also is designed to provide options for sailors who don’t want to wear the coveralls, Hansen said.
Consumption of alcohol in the 2POCs off base is not authorized, but alcohol consumption in the garments are permitted on base with approval from regional commanders.
The Navy’s quest for a flame-retardant uniform like the 2POC started in 2012, when a report from the Navy Clothing and Textile Research Facility in Natick, Massachusetts, found that the Type I Navy Working Uniform, known as “blueberries,” would “burn robustly until completely consumed” when exposed to an open flame. That prompted the Navy to introduce non-flammable options like the Fire Retardant Variant, the Improved Fire Retardant Variant, and the Type III Navy Working Uniform.
The so-called “blueberries” ultimately retired from the Fleet in 2019.
Editor’s Note: This story has been updated to reflect all officers wear the khaki 2POC.