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Sailors say bye to blueberries, welcome new green cammies

Sailors say bye to blueberries, welcome new green cammies

The U.S. Department of the Navy has announced it will transition from the Navy Working Uniform (NWU) Type I to the NWU Type III as its primary shore working uniform. While, the NWU Type I will be phased out over the next three years, effective Oct. 1, 2019, all sailors will be expected to wear the NWU Type III as their primary Working Uniform when ashore or in port. (U.S. Navy photo illustration by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Julia A. Casper/Released)

By Tracy Fuga

“Blueberries” are being phased out and the Navy’s new “green cammies” will be released this fall.

The Navy Working Uniform (NWU) Type III will be introduced Oct. 1 at Recruit Training Command in Great Lakes, Illinois, a recent administrative message said.

Sailors now have the option of wearing either the blue- or green-camouflage uniforms as the primary working uniform but will be required to own the new clothing by Oct. 1, 2019, when the blue uniform will no longer be authorized when ashore or in port.

The new uniforms are tentatively scheduled to arrive at Navy Exchange Centers this fall, the message said.

The blue uniform, known as Type I and nicknamed “blueberries,” was issued in July 2010 as the Navy’s only authorized work uniform; however, it was widely panned by sailors as uncomfortable, heavy and unsafe near fire.

The blue uniforms are being phased out partly because of sailors’ complaints, former Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus said in an August statement.

“(Sailors) want uniforms that are comfortable, lightweight, breathable … and they want fewer of them,” he said.

Phasing out the blueberries makes sense as thousands in the Navy wear the woodland cammies full-time, including Seabees, SEALs, explosive ordnance disposal sailors and divers; they rarely, if ever, take their blue-and-grays out of the closet.

Others, like sailors attached to Navy Expeditionary Combat Command (NECC), won’t wear their blueberries as long as they’re on a NECC tour of duty.

Some 50,000 sailors are paid to maintain three sets of blue NWUs, at $215 a pair. Getting rid of this requirement would thus save the service around $10 million a year in organizational clothing costs.

Black-leather safety boots (steel toed) will remain standard for NWUs, but commanding officers may authorize the optional wear of the Navy certified desert-tan or coyote-brown, rough-side-out leather nonsafety boots when safety boots are not required. In addition to black boots, the black fleece is authorized for wear with the NWU Type III.

Sailors are also allowed to wear a coyote-brown command ball cap in lieu of a blue cap.

The Navy’s message also said the new Navy fitness suit, previously scheduled to be released last October, has been further pushed to an April 2017 release date.

The message added that female chiefs and officers are authorized to wear men’s service-dress blue trousers while the Navy continues to work on redesigning women’s pants. The enlisted white hat for women remains mandatory for wear with jumper-style uniforms only.

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