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Rod Powers

New Navy Uniforms Arrive

By June 23, 2008

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Five years after canvassing the fleet for suggestions on new and more practical uniforms for the 21st century, the Navy has started rolling out a year-round service uniform for Sailors E-6 and below and a Battle Dress Uniform, or BDU-style, working uniform for all ranks, according to the Navy News Service.

With a digital print pattern incorporating Navy blue, deck gray, haze gray and black, the NWU is a wash-and-wear 50/50 nylon and cotton blend. The majority of Sailors surveyed preferred a BDU-style uniform, one that doesn't show spots, stains or heavy wear like a solid color uniform and allows mending of small tears in fabric, saving money in replacement costs. Due to contracting, production and manufacturing challenges, introduction and distribution of the new uniforms will happen by region over a designated period of time rather than by simultaneous multiple-site deliveries. (Official Navy Photo)

June 24, 2008 at 10:30 am
(1) Mark Tarte says:

What does the Navy need any kind of BDU on board ship and why is it campflauged in a pattern completely useless? Whatever happened to the traditional and workable uniforms of dungaree and bell-bottoms? Sheesh, next thing you know, the Navy will want its sailors to have infantry tactics and carry M4s at sling arms walking the flight decks in full battle gear.

June 27, 2008 at 2:33 am
(2) ET2 says:

The BDU is a more versitile uniform for working purposes. I was quite tired of having to iron my utility uniforms to appear “Squared Away” even though I was just heading to a cleaning crew or working party. Having spent some time TAD with the Security divisions and ASF units I have a great deal of respect for the BDU style uniforms. They are authorized to wear off base, unlike utilities / coveralls. They are easy to maintain, all but the most horrid stains will blend away and not be a big issue. Of course everyone should have their “Inspection” set, but for the most part these are very easy to maintain. They are stronger than the utilities or coveralls. They can be “relaxed” by removing the top when authorized while still providing a military and professional appearance. They are safer, providing protection from heat, exposure, abrasive contact etc… I can’t really see any advantage that the old dungarees or the current utilities have over a BDU style uniform. Also, they are using the camo pattern “to maintain historical navy colors, in keeping with tradition”. Not so we blend into the water.

Also, what’s wrong with learning basic infantry tactics, and why wouldn’t you be in battle gear standing an armed watch onboard a flight deck. If you are patrolling the flight deck then flight opps are not happening, meaning you are what stands between an enemy approach and your ships safty. I would like to have as much help / training / and equipment as they will throw at me. Yeah it’s heavy, and hot, and I’ll gripe & complaine on the mess decks, but I’ll be safe and at the end of the day alive.

July 14, 2008 at 12:36 pm
(3) TOM MOONEY , HMC(FMF) says:


July 20, 2008 at 4:13 pm
(4) Red Pritchard USN (ret.) says:

New uniforms again??? I served 50 years ago (1958 -1978) and went from “zipper fly” dress whites and blues and shiny shoes,w/dungarees for “work”, then came the “chief type” dress blues and cover, thru the V neck T shirt squabble,then the “over the head” blouse, and ball cap for everyday wear. I personally can’t recall that any uniform style change ever affected a man’s work, only the contents of his wallet! Having said that, I firmly believe that a uniformed, well groomed military force is an essential part of this country’s presence in the world.

August 3, 2008 at 3:55 am
(5) Bottech says:

Forgive the obvious, but HMC(FMF)? You did volunteer to wear the Marines uniform.

August 9, 2008 at 12:49 am
(6) DT says:

Honestly, I have to say the new pattern looks sharp, especially in comparison to the ACUPAT. I also have to disagree with both Mark’s and Red’s comments. If you go back and re-read the article, you’ll see that they were preferred by sailors because they both hide the normal everyday soil that comes with shipboard work and because small tears are able to be mended. This would drastically reduce the frequency that uniforms would have to be replaced, thus saving the average sailor money (and hassle) rather than incurring needless cost.

ET2 definitely has the right attitude, especially when we’re fighting on multiple fronts and are needed more than ever to be as flexible as possible to meet the ever-increasing demands being put on uniformed shoulders.

August 9, 2008 at 11:34 pm
(7) CSH912 says:

I myself, and looking forward to wearing these uniforms. Growing up an army brat I was always used to the BDU/ACU’s. Don’t get me wrong I love my navy uniforms as well, but it is entirely too many. And ET2 is right, putting all that money out for a small stain or a small tear is a pain. I for one can’t wait to get my hands on one.

September 16, 2008 at 5:34 pm
(8) J. Stephens says:

Some people like to complain just because its easy to do. I look forward to the new BDU (Basic Deck Uniform)

October 15, 2008 at 6:17 pm
(9) Veteran FC1...Dan says:

To Tom HMC:
Hey Chief, Get over it….4.5 years of my 6 in the great USN was spent @ sea…I wish we had those uniforms in the Artic where it was zero degrees, instead of dungarees and a used winter green jacket….I do agree with you on the running of the Navy, but we can’t bring Ronald Reagan back…Try surving in the civilian world today!! Get out or shut up!

December 12, 2008 at 12:26 am
(10) Former MA2 says:

After 4 years active and 2 years reserve haze grey and under way, I must admit that the new uniforms make sense. They were talking about going to them back in 1995. This, I’m sure, has been studied to death. The only regret is that the BDU’s used to set apert the MA’s,SEABEE’s, SEAL’s, etc,. Alas, that distinction is now gone. I used to be proud about wearing my BDU’s. Nothing will set us apart now. You really have to look to see a rank much less a rate…

March 2, 2009 at 3:07 pm
(11) IC1(SW) says:

I am looking forward to wearing the new navy BDU’s. I wore BDU’s in Iceland in ASF and loved them. They are comfortable, sharp, and warm. It has been proven people sometimes feel the way they dress. If you dress like a warrior then you feel and act like a warrior.

March 3, 2009 at 12:31 pm
(12) Still in DEP says:

I know i havent earned the right to have an opinion amoung you guys yet, but i loved the dress blues, i will regret not being able to were them.

August 9, 2009 at 8:15 am
(13) MotoDoc4USMC says:

HMC Tom: what a disgrace to the motivated corpsman serving in harms way next to the devil dogs. do you know ANY history about corpsmen and their marines? what a dirtbag nasty navy you are part of. piece of shi…. thank god you will obviously be part of the new high year program. GET OUT

DEPPER: dont sell yourself so short. you are one of us. and u still get the dress blues. just not some of the working uniforms.

August 19, 2009 at 4:24 am
(14) OIFtoUSC says:

Having survived the “old” new uniforms in the 70s and having served as a DoD investigator in western Iraq thirty years later, I guess I can say a lot has come and gone, and sometimes returned in the Navy. I remember the summer whites with the black visored combination cover issued in boot camp. They looked smart until it was decided to can the white pants and give us the “salt & pepper” look. The winter service uniform with black pants, button down long sleeve shirt, black tie, and combination cover looked smart too, until it was decided to scrap the combination cover along with the “old” new dress coat, mix and match the winter service uniform with the return of the “old Navy” white cover and refer to that mish-mash as the “Johnny Cash.” To cause further injury, the 70s utilities, which were bad enough, went through the ugliest evolution of any military working uniform.

At various points in history, utilities were utilities and dungarees were dungarees; then somebody tried to merge the two which can still be seen today. From a distance, I couldn’t tell the difference between the civilian contractors and the sailors at the local Marine air station where I worked, and still frequent. God bless those Navy airmen. They still managed to portray professionalism alongside the Marine airmen in spite of the crappy uniforms they had to wear. They certainly deserved better.

Now the NWU (Didgy Blues) are cut well and quality made of good material and stitching on par with the fairly new Marine Corps MCCUUs (Marine cammies) except for different breast pockets and pointed collars. The only problem is the “preponderance” of the color blue. Couldn’t the Navy use a little “less” blue, and a little more green and lome? Better yet, if they HAD to have a pattern, couldn’t the Navy go with a 3-tone gray? Funny thing was that when I was in Iraq, all of the Navy personnel there, except Navy corpsmen, Navy chaplain and Navy program specialists were wearing desert DCUs. I see they are all wearing Marine type desert cammies today. I still see them wearing the old woodland BDUs when assigned to woodland field duty and I assume that there is a date to replace them with Marine type woodland MCCUUs. So, what does that mean? Will sailors be faced with “three” issues of three different digital cammies; Navy versions of woodland MCCUUs, desert MCCUUs, and shipboard NWUs? Regardless, anything is better than those “util-aries” or “dunga-ities” hybrids that are on the way out.

Next, what about the new service uniform with the short sleeve khaki shirt, black pants, black belt, and black side cap? I see a lot of sailors wearing them on Parris Island and Marine Corps Air Station-Beaufort and they look really sharp. However, what is the plan for the winter months? Will sailors receive long sleeve khaki shirts and a neck tie (I assume black) similar to the long sleeve Marine Corps Bravos with their khaki tie? Will the Navy issue at least a shell jacket like they did with the “Johnny Cash?” Will the shell jacket be black or khaki? Will pea coats still be worn? Will Navy raincoats be cut in the same trench coat style of the other services? Will the visored combination cover return.

By the way, I was issued three sets of Marine Corps desert cammies (MCCUUs), a desert field jacket, and USMC boots among my issue during my one and only deployment into Iraq and while assigned to 1st MLG in Anbar Province. They are better than any utility type uniform prior to them and certainly better than the “Velcro Deluxe” ACUs of the Army. I can’t speak for the new Air Force ABUs, but if the other services are smart, they’ll at least look into the MCCUUs or NWUs for “material quality standards, cut, and fit” before they invest in something they can’t get rid of later.

December 17, 2009 at 8:03 pm
(15) Stephen Hurling says:

Yikes!! Nothing like back in my day. We wore the Coast Guard crap. Then went back to dunguress.

March 16, 2010 at 8:22 pm
(16) Don Hogan says:

My Army daughter calls me Air Force puck. I did not like my VN greens and dislike the so called modern camo’s even less. I REALLY LIKE THE NEW NAVY BDU. I am going to get some and wear with pride.

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