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Prototype combination cover issued to 1st test group of female sailors

Lt. Heidi Boettger and Chief Petty Officer Brianne Dentson model a prototype for the female combination cover, redesigned to more closely resemble the male version.

A prototype combination cover was issued to a small test group of female sailors Tuesday and Wednesday as part of a larger plan to redesign the female uniform to more closely match the male version, the Navy said Wednesday.

The prototype cover resembles the male version but has a woman's head size and proportions in mind.

The test group of about 30 female sailors based in the Washington, D.C., area will wear the new cover daily to evaluate its fit and function, the Navy said in a news release. In the fall, the test will be expanded to a larger group of about 100 sailors.

After the trial period ends, the groups' feedback, as well as comments from observers, will be shared in an online survey and in focus groups.

Anyone who sees the female sailors' prototype covers and wishes to share their comments with the Navy can email their observations to usnpeople@gmail.com, the Navy release said.

Late last year, Navy Secretary Ray Mabus approved a proposal to bring the dress blues worn by some enlisted women closer to those worn by men. The plan calls for a redesign of the service dress blue uniform for enlisted female sailors from seaman recruit through petty officer first class and the combination covers worn by female chief petty officers and above, according to the Navy.

"As you look out across a group of sailors, you ought to see not female and male Sailors, but sailors," Mabus said in the December announcement discussing the change.

The proposed redesign was made by chief of naval personnel Vice Adm. Bill Moran, aided by an internal May 2013 uniform survey in which more than 1,000 female sailors were asked to weigh their satisfaction in wearing the male combination cover, dixie cup and winter jumper style uniform.

news@stripes.com

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