By Anna Kim
The U.S. Navy will be leaving behind their old uniforms for Sailors behind and replacing them with new and improved two-piece uniforms. The new uniforms have gone through numerous trials, as the original uniforms were found to be highly flammable.

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Flammable Navy Uniforms

The Navy’s blue and gray camouflage uniforms were revealed to be flammable to the point where it could lead to serious burn injuries. This was revealed through a test back in 2012, when the Navy Clothing Textile Research Facility discovered the material of the Navy Working Uniform Type 1, 50% cotton and 50% nylon, would burn when in contact with a flame. The clothing went into contact with a flame for 12 seconds and was found to be melting and dripping. The type of material was originally used because Sailors wanted a Navy uniform that would be durable and comfortable. While this may seem like a surprise, the Navy actually knew about the issue of the lack of flame resistance since October 2011. Flame resistance actually hasn’t been a part of the Navy uniform regulations since 1996. The only uniforms required to be fire resistant are those of Sailors who are engineers, airmen, firefighters, and those in combat. Vice Admiral Scott Van Buskirk explained that “There are no Navy uniforms developed purposely to fight a shipboard fire. That said, if you walk aboard any Navy ship, you will find each one is equipped with the needed fire fighting ensemble and personal protective equipment to combat fires.”

A Change in Uniforms

The original uniforms were banned at sea due to clothing flammability. While flight suits and engineering coveralls are flame resistant, the Navy was determined to produce new uniforms with non-flammable cloth. The new 2-Piece Organizational Clothing, also known as 2POC, has the same brown undershirts and command ball caps as the Navy Working Uniform Type III; however, it will be khaki for chiefs and officers and blue for enlisted Sailors. And the best part is that the sailors will get these uniforms free of cost. Sailors serving on board surface ships and submarines will receive two sets of uniforms and another set when they are deployed. They’re set to receive the 2POC before the end of 2022. The 2POC was first seen when Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy Russell Smith posted photos of him wearing it in Navy facilities in Virginia to his Instagram and Facebook accounts. When someone asked about it on his Instagram, Smith said he wore it as part of a test. Forty ambassadors from East Coast Units were also asked to wear it to showcase the uniform and to answer any questions about it. The new uniform consists of non-flammable cloth of the Navy’s coveralls and is also flexible like the Type III uniform. They’re expected to be matched well with other NWU gear, such as the all-weather parka, the fire-resistant fleece jacket, and the ball caps.

More Than Protection and Comfort

The new uniforms strive to be comfortable, practical, and of course, flame-retardant. The designers also wanted to make them functional and fashionable. Feedback and opinions from Sailors were considered, as they enjoyed the traditional all-blue and khaki uniforms. Sailors wanted to look the part of being in the Navy, similar to the colors of the Type III uniform, and they also preferred something more durable. Sailors were given prototypes to try out by the designers, which included fire-retardant fibers woven into the uniform. The new Navy uniforms will not only provide the Sailors with protection and safety, but they’ll also give them the confidence to work diligently and not have to worry about suffering severe burns while serving the country.

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Image: MC2 Stacy M. Atkins Ricks/Navy




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