Bring Back the Dungarees

The most useless camouflage in the world is on the way out.  The Navy has determined that, in addition to being highly flammable, the NWU Type 1 uniforms (commonly called Blueberries) are hot, heavy and are particularly good at camouflaging sailors who have fallen overboard.

“I think that there are a lot of folks who wouldn’t be sad, I guess, if Navy working uniform Type I went away,” Chief of Naval Operations Adm. John Richardson said in to Navy Times.

Adm. Richardson is absolutely correct. The first time I saw the Navy cammies was in a restaurant outside of Naval Weapons Station Charleston and it took all I had to keep from laughing. The idea of camouflaging one small person on a huge target like a carrier or destroyer is laughable. It would tend to complicate man-overboard operations, though.

What uniform will replace the blueberries is still under discussion. A more traditional green camouflage while on shore duty is an option, as are blue overalls, but I believe that bringing back the navy dungarees working uniform – bell-bottom blue jeans and lighter blue chambray shirts – would be the best option.

What are navy dungarees?

19990823 CTY Navy Uniforms 00 l to r/ Bret McGraw, Thomas Collins, and Chad Heskett. in different uniforms. Photo by Craig T. Kojima

The navy dungarees uniform resembles the iconic ‘crackerjack’ uniform that is still the dress uniform for enlisted ranks – lending it an air of tradition lacking with battle-dress style uniforms or overalls. The dungaree uniform is casual and comfortable and you can tell in a glance who does the work.

Dungarees look good with either ball caps or Dixie cups (the traditional white sailor hat that I believe they still wear). The only problem with dungarees is that they show dirt and paint, but so does almost every other piece of uniform kit that you can name.

Sometimes the best way to move forward is to take a step back. Put the chiefs and officers in khakis, keep the lower-ranked enlisted guys in dungarees. What could be simpler?

However, knowing the Navy, we will probably see three new uniforms being rolled out. They will all lack any traditional elements and will make sailors look like their brethren from other services. It is unfortunate, but the Navy has been on a kick about ridding itself of many of its traditional elements for years.

Whatever decision the Navy makes, there will be sailors who don’t like it. Of course, running a branch of the armed forces based on public opinion is an exercise in stupidity – which sounds like how the Navy has been running for the last few years.

Disclaimer: The content in this article is the opinion of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the policies or opinions of US Patriot Tactical.

Matt Towns

Matt is a former military journalist who spent 10 years in the US Navy. He served in various posts during his career, including a couple of deployments on the USS Valley Forge (CG-50). After leaving the Navy, he worked in management for a number of years before opening his own businesses. He ran those businesses until 2012 when he chose to leave the retail industry and return to writing. Matt currently works as a freelance writer, contributing to the US Patriot blog and other websites about political affairs, military activities and sailing.

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