Navy buttons-up new working uniform

Bell bottoms have no place with new Navy Working Uniform.

Mark Rutherford

Here's the new Navy enlisted, BDU-style uniform as displayed at the Defense Logistic Agency exhibit booth, Armed Forces Communications and Electronics Association West 2008 (AFCEA) conference in sunny San Diego, CA.

The new Navy Working Uniform(NWU) will include several cold weather options, such as a unisex pullover sweater, a fleece jacket, and a parka. It comes in three camo patterns, the main one being the blue/gray variant you see here, with woodland and desert digital palette for those going ashore.

The permanent press, 50/50 nylon and cotton blend NWU will replace seven different styles of current working uniforms and is to be worn with a blue cotton t-shirt, eight-point USMC-style cover, a black web belt and black leather boots, according to the Navy.

"These are good uniforms, designed to support the modern Sailor," said then Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Mike Mullen who approved plans for the new outfit. "Durability, safety, ease of wear and cleaning were all factors that weighed heavily on my mind. This wasn't a popularity contest by any stretch, but we would have been foolish not to consider the opinions of the men and women who will wear these uniforms."

But a few of those men and women who filed by the exhibit were less than impressed. Biggest complaint...what's with the buttons? Two for each pocket. This is 2008, how 'bout some Velcro? And why no waist band adjuster strap?

"We'll be getting complaints three hours after these are issued," one Navy Captain grumbled as he filed out the comment form offered up by the DLA guy.

Next up for the sartorial service could be a revival of the Service Dress Khaki, a new pea coat and maybe a ceremonial cutlass for chiefs.

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