Sunday, February 14, 2010

Camouflage uniform at sea?

I worn the camouflage uniform during my last eight or nine years in the Seabee reserve as a chief petty officer.

At the time, Seabee leadership welcomed the change from the olive drab utility uniform. It helped us blend in with the U.S. Marines on the battlefield. This was important during Operation Dessert Storm because our old uniform resembled those of the Iraqi army.

While I comprehend camouflage uniforms for the land forces, I'm puzzled by the Navy's recent conversion to camouflage. Why do sailors, especially those who spend the better part of a career on board ships, require a multi-colored uniform?

The answer comes from
The concept uniforms are not intended to be ‘camouflage’ uniforms as is the case with similarly patterned uniforms of the other services. We have no need for camouflage. However, by learning from our past working uniforms as well as the uniforms from other services, the Navy realized that a solid cover uniform shows heavy wear areas much more predominantly than a multicolored pattern.

The solid color uniforms also show wrinkles in the fabric more predominantly and often a small stain or spot of paint renders a solid colored uniform not wearable. A multicolored uniform alleviates those problems as well.
This old chief doesn't buy into the whole idea of a pristine working uniform. After all, they're "working uniforms." That implies that the wearer will soil his uniform.

The new Navy Working Uniform -- even with a blue-grey camouflage pattern -- doesn't fit in with naval tradition. Blue chambray starts and dungaree trousers have served the Navy well.

In the photograph, Culinary Specialist 1st Class Richard Rieth, assigned to the guided-missile destroyer USS John S. McCain (DDG 56), looks through the different components of the Navy Working Uniform at the Navy Exchange uniform shop at Fleet Activities Yokosuka on February 10, the first day the uniform was available in Navy Region Japan.

U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Dominique Pineiro.

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