WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Navy announced Thursday plans to phase out an unpopular blue and gray camouflage working uniform later this year.
In its place, the Navy Working Uniform (NWU) Type III will become the service’s primary shore working uniform beginning October 1, 2016.
The NWU Type III is a green camouflage uniform. The blue and gray camouflage uniform has been known as NWU Type I.
The Navy says it will take three years for the transition to happen. During that time period, Sailors will be allowed to wear either uniform. However, effective October 1, 2019, all Sailors will be expected to don the NWU Type III as their primary Working Uniform when ashore or in port.
“As the CNO and I travel to see Sailors deployed around the world, one of the issues they consistently want to talk about are uniforms,” said Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus in a statement. “They want uniforms that are comfortable, lightweight, breathable … and they want fewer of them. We have heard the feedback and we are acting on it. As a direct result of Sailors’ input, effective Oct. 1, we will transition from the NWU Type I to the NWU Type III as our primary shore working uniform.”
Changes to the Working Uniform are what the Navy calls the first step in a multi-phased process to streamline and consolidate Navy uniform requirements. They also hope to improve uniformity across the fleet.
Sailors have complained about the NWU Type I uniforms for years, including a common criticism that the only camouflage it provided was for Sailors who fell overboard at sea.
The green camouflage uniforms will be issued to recruits starting October 1, 2017.
Other uniform changes announced by the Navy include:
- The Navy will transition to the black Cold Weather Parka (CWP) starting Oct. 1, 2018, as outerwear with the Service and Service Dress Uniform. Navy All Weather Coat, Pea Coat and Reefer coat will become optional items. Mandatory wear date for the parka is Oct. 1, 2020.
- Women, E7 and above, are now authorized to wear men’s uniform khaki pants without the belt and buckle with the khaki over blouse. Gig-line issues prevent wear of the male slacks with the tuck-in shirt.
- The rollout date of the male Service Dress Blue uniform at Recruit Training Command has been moved to Oct. 1, 2017, due to manufacturing delays. This change also aligns the uniform release with the introduction of the new E1-E6 Service Dress Whites.
- Navy sweat shirt and pants logo has been replaced with silver reflective lettering “NAVY,” which is similar to the logo on the Navy Physical Training Uniform shirt and shorts. The sweatshirt and pants are now available for purchase at Navy Exchange uniform centers.
- Commands may now authorize the wear of a “Don’t Tread on Me” and Reverse U.S. Flag patches on NWU Type II and Type III.
- Approval for the replacement of the Special Warfare Combatant-craft Crewman (SWCC) insignia. Going forward, there will be three separate insignias to denote a Sailor’s specific qualification level, which are SWCC basic, SWCC senior and SWCC master. The implementation date is Aug. 19, 2016, with a mandatory wear date of Oct. 1, 2016.
- The Navy Uniform Matters Office is in the process of redesigning their website to enhance the dissemination and information regarding recent uniform changes. We expect the site to be running in the coming months.