Military Connection: New Navy Uniforms: By Debbie Gregory

UniformsThe Navy is close to approving several uniform changes that could take place as early as next year.

The first change could be the long anticipated addition of a warm-up suit. The Navy has been testing a moisture-wicking running suit that would be similar to the warm-up suit worn by Marines. A suit of this type would offer sailors better comfort, warmth and protection against exposure. The color scheme has not yet been determined. It is most likely to be a Navy blue color with gold or silver reflective lettering on the back, chest and possibly pant legs, as well as reflective trimming to provide optimum visibility for Sailors who PT early in the morning or in the evening. The suits will likely be made available for personnel to wear with their civilian attire.

The warm-up suits are very likely to get approved. The Navy will be running a test of the new PT gear this fall. If all goes well, the Navy could be adding these warm-up suits to the sea bag by end of fiscal year 2015.

Another possible uniform change would affect female chiefs and officers only, as female E-7 and above are set to start wearing choker collars, similar to the men’s dress whites for these pay grades. Along the same lines as the current wear-test in progress that has female enlisted personnel wearing the iconic “cracker jack” dress blues uniforms and “Dixie Cup” white caps, the Navy is also looking to streamline the uniforms in the wardroom and the chief’s mess.

Currently, female chiefs and officers wear a white coat and black tie. The Navy wants to replace that uniform with the high-collar “choker” worn by men, which clasps at the neck and is not worn with a tie.

A wear-test has been scheduled to hit the fleet in 2016. If approved, the current female dress uniforms could be replaced by the end of that year.

The Navy is also finishing a 60 day wear-test of a lighter version of their Navy Working Uniform. Over 230 Sailors wore lighter versions of the blue and gray camouflage uniforms in locations including Hawaii, Guam and Bahrain. The Navy intends to offer a more breathable option of their NWU for personnel in locations given to heat and tropical climates.

The Navy has also chosen a new cold weather waterproof parka that is similar to those worn by the Coast Guard. The new parkas offer better protection against the elements with its 3-in-1 design. The parka has an outer shell that is waterproof and two zip-in liners. One liner is an insulating fleece liner and the other is a jacket that is lighter and water repellant and can be worn as a stand-alone garment. Both the outer shell and the light jacket have rank tabs on them.

With the Coast Guard already wearing these parkas in blue, the Navy opted for their parkas to be black. Most uniform changes take up to three years to implement. The Navy hopes that because this style of garment is already being used by the Coast Guard, that this change can be applied much sooner.

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Military Connection: New Navy Uniforms: By Debbie Gregory