The Navy has a notorious tradition of changing uniforms on a semi-regular basis. The last major change happened around 2010 when the Navy switched from Utilities to Type I Navy Working Uniforms (NWU). Seven years later a new change was announced going from Type I to Type III NWU. But, the 2017 NAVADMIN released did not just change the regular working uniforms as it additionally brought a sleuth of revisions to the general uniform policies. Understandably, the reaction of sailors towards these developments has been mixed at best. But, in the spirit of keeping everyone informed, here is a brief list of key changes:
Type III Navy Working Uniform
The Type III Navy Working Uniform is a step up from the original Type I NWU in both safety and military cohesion. For safety purposes, the type III uniform actually has better fire resistance than the type I and unlike the latter, these stand out better in water (in case of man overboard). As far as military cohesion the color scheme fits in better with the rest of the branches as well as the Sea Bee/Expeditionary commands who previously wore these. But, as mentioned earlier the response has been mixed as they still fail to address some of the issues with the Type I.
For starters, Type III NWUs still don’t breathe well (despite the advertisements), the rank insignia is hardly visible in-spite of the above image, and most importantly the placement is at an uncomfortable chest level where staring might be misconstrued by members of the opposite gender.
Coyote Brown Command Ball Cap
Brown ball caps are now authorized to be worn with the Type II and Type III NWUs. Originally, when the Navy switched to the NWUs they phased out command ball caps. But, eventually, after the complaints of numerous sailors, they brought them back. In order to avoid repeating a similar mistake the authorization to wear brown ball caps was confirmed by the NAVADMIN. However, this was a natural progression of the uniform wear and it’s not a drastic change, unlike the then mandatory swap to the 8-point cover in 2010. It’s also worth mentioning that the Type III cover seen in the first image will probably be the most common type of cover worn during the day to day activities.
One of the major criticisms with the switch to the Type III NWUs has been the change to the rough-side-out coyote brown boots. The changes to the policy specify that the use of the new boots is only applicable to environments which don’t require any safety shoes. While this might appear trivial, the problem lies with the fact that the Navy does in-fact offer brown safety boots for members in flight duty or construction battalions. As such, why is it that regular sailors can’t wear them when they obviously fit better with the Type III NWUs? In the meantime, sailors will have to continue wearing the black steel-toed boots that are currently in use by the majority of seagoing and shore duty commands.
The Navy Working Uniform is the most commonly used wear during the day to day activities for sailors. The changes on this list were the most relevant to sailors as they continue in their careers. But, while some might view the new uniforms as “cool”; other sailors will view them as further wastes of funding. The Navy provides a uniform allowance every year of service, but unfortunately, the ensembles are expensive. As such, unless the sailor is doing their best to preserve each item, the replacements can become expensive surprisingly fast. A brand new set of four Type III NWUs will probably set a sailor back even more than the allowance will permit. But, such is life in the military, and this is just another hurdle which sailors have to face in their careers.
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.