What’s That Uniform the Navy’s High Enlisted Sailor Is Carrying?

The best rating enlisted sailor, Grasp Chief Petty Officer of the Navy Russell Smith, made a couple of social media posts over the previous couple of days which have had folks scratching their heads over his alternative of clothes.

In photographs posted Jan. 28 and Jan. 31, Smith is proven carrying a two-piece, khaki outfit that’s related in construction to the present Sort III Navy Working Uniform, or NWU, however with out the distinctive inexperienced and black digital camouflage sample.

In truth, the outfit did not actually appear to be something sailors are presently carrying.

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In accordance with Navy spokeswoman Lt. Cmdr. Madisyn Hansen, Smith’s new outfit is a part of the event of a two-piece garment geared toward providing an alternative choice to the Improved Flame Resistant Variant Coveralls. Hansen says it’s popularly generally known as “the 2-Piece OC or 2POC.”

In accordance with Hansen, the “organizational clothes,” not formally thought-about a uniform, is getting nearer to hitting the fleet. It was permitted by the Navy’s prime officer in late 2020 and, beginning in October of final yr, “40 Ambassadors began carrying the brand new organizational clothes at choose East coast instructions with the intention to showcase the brand new garment.”

Grasp Chief Petty Officer of the Navy Russell Smith meets with command management at NAS Oceana and excursions its amenities, Jan. 27,2022. (Pictures from Twitter account of the Grasp Chief Petty Officer of the Navy)

The 2POC, or the concept of an outfit prefer it, was introduced on the identical time that the present coveralls hit the fleet round 2017. Two yr later, the Navy mentioned the merchandise was present process put on testing.

In accordance with the service, officers hope that, as soon as the brand new garment reaches the fleet, it’s going to give sailors an choice to have an outfit that’s protected to put on within the operational atmosphere of a ship but additionally formal sufficient to exit in town — an concept that has a troubled historical past within the Navy.

“By no means once more ought to we’ve got to cross the phrases ‘all arms shift into the uniform for getting into port or getting underway,'” Fleet Grasp Chief Rick O’Rawe, a wear-test participant, mentioned in 2019.

The unique NWUs — formally known as the Sort I — had been rolled out in late 2008 with the concept of having the ability to do some heavy upkeep on a ship after which seize groceries with out a change of garments. They featured the identical tunic and pants design we see now however in a particular blue and grey camouflage sample that earned them the nickname “blueberries.” However that concept was to not be.

In 2012, a check report revealed that not solely had been these uniforms not flame retardant, they had been dangerously flammable. The report famous the uniforms “burn robustly till utterly consumed” when subjected to a flame and “soften and drip” because it burns.

“If this sticky molten materials got here in touch with pores and skin it will contribute to elevated burn harm,” the check report famous.

After that discovery, the unique NWUs had been banned at sea and the Navy rushed to place out flame-resistant coveralls for sailors who did not already put on flight fits or engineering coveralls, each of that are flame-resistant. The present coveralls sailors put on improved on these clothes.

Since that point, sailors have juggled totally different uniforms each at sea and ashore because the Navy moved from the Sort I to the Sort III NWUs in 2017 regardless of the latter initially being supposed solely as “tactical uniforms for our expeditionary Sailors.”

Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy Russell Smith at NAS Oceana
Grasp Chief Petty Officer of the Navy Russell Smith meets with command management at NAS Oceana and excursions its amenities, Jan. 27,2022. (Pictures from Twitter account of the Grasp Chief Petty Officer of the Navy)

The Sort II, a desert-style digital camouflage uniform much like one utilized by the Marine Corps, stored its authentic goal of solely being worn by Particular Warfare Operators and sailors who help them.

Now, the Navy hopes it’s near putting that stability and placing out one thing akin to a uniform that sailors like and does not require them to vary garments when altering exercise.

“The brand new 2POC provides Sailors ‘time again’ as a result of it’s a versatile choice to be worn in port and underway, and permitted for put on off base,” a press release from Hansen mentioned.

Hansen additionally famous that “the 2POC isn’t an addition or a requirement for Sailors’ sea baggage, that means it won’t come out of their annual uniform stipend or paychecks.”

Smith, in an emailed assertion to Navy.com, mentioned it is going to be made out there “for gratis to the Sailor.”

— Konstantin Toropin might be reached at konstantin.toropin@navy.com. Comply with him on Twitter @ktoropin.

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