NAVAL STATION ROTA, Spain — Navy sailors and officers might want to check themselves before they dress themselves.

There are some new uniform regulations.

The Navy announced Tuesday that the chief of naval operations, Adm. Vern Clark, has approved a number of uniform changes, including making skirts optional for women and allowing civilian handbags and cell phones while in uniform.

A task force set up to review what sailors and officers wear on the job recommended the changes based on a survey of more than 40,000 sailors throughout the fleet.

Petty Officer 2nd Class Thomas Graham, 36, likes the changes.

“I think the women clearly got the short end on the dress uniforms,” said Graham, an aviation technician with the Rota-based Fleet Air Reconnaissance Squadron Two. “They have so much more to wear than us.”

Women’s uniform handbags are now an optional item and are no long required to be in the sea bag or issued at recruit training, beginning Oct. 1.

Female sailors also do not have to wear skirts for both their service and dress uniforms.

Male and female sailors can carry civilian bags — including gym bags, briefcases and backpacks — with their official uniform. They also can clip onto their uniform belts a cell phone, palm-size computers and pagers while on official business.

But these changes are just the beginning. The Navy is considering a slew of uniform changes to the traditional uniform.

The Navy is testing four versions of the Navy working uniform.

The task force also is looking at replacing the summer white and winter blue uniforms with a single, service blue uniform. The Navy is the only branch in the armed services that has a different uniform for summer and winter.

Petty Officer 3rd Class Shawn Hayes said it’s good that the Navy is making the changes based on the input of sailors, but he would like to see more modifications. He believes the Navy has too many uniforms.

“It’s too much,” said Hayes, an aviation technician with Fleet Air Reconnaissance Squadron Two, based in Rota.

“We don’t need it.”

He would also like to see a more comfortable working uniform.

Many sailors have voiced their displeasure with the summer white dress uniforms because they show dirt so easily.

“That wouldn’t bother me a bit,” Graham said about the possibility of losing the summer whites. “They’re a nightmare to keep clean.”

The Navy announced this week that it plans to show off some of the new, test uniforms in the coming weeks and release more information on which areas will test-wear the pilot uniforms.

Uniform regulation changes

The Navy announced several changes to the official Navy uniform for sailors and officers. They are the first changes from Task Force Uniform, which made the recommendations based on a survey of more than 40,000 sailors from across the fleet. The group plans to announce more changes in the future.

Some of the changes that go into effect Oct. 1 include:

• Sailors and officers can carry civilian bags — such as briefcases, gym bags and backpacks — while in uniform.• A cell phone, personal digital assistants — PDAs, or pagers can be clipped onto the belt as long as it is not visible from the front.• Women’s uniform handbags and skirts are now optional.• Silver breast insignias must have either an anodized or oxidized finish.

—Source: U.S. Navy

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