Navy rolls out several uniform changes for enlisted sailors

The Navy has announced a number of uniform changes to be rolled out over the next several years. Among them will be changes to dress whites for sailors from seaman to petty officer first class (E-1 to E-6), though they won't be widely available until 2018.


By HEATH DRUZIN | STARS AND STRIPES Published: June 1, 2012

Sailors, you’ve got some shopping to do.

The Navy has announced a host of uniform changes, from dress blues to maternity wear, all of which will be rolled out over the next several years.

Two of the biggest changes will be to dress blues for enlisted males from seaman to petty officer first class (E-1 to E-6) and dress whites for all sailors in those rates, though they won’t be widely available until 2018, so you’ve got lots of time to get used to the new look. Also, a new khaki maternity blouse with adjustable waist tabs will be available next June and becomes mandatory for pregnant sailors in 2015.

“These uniform changes are the direct result of sailor and leadership feedback,” Rear Adm. Tony Kurta, director of Military Personnel Plans and Policy, said in a released statement. “Updating Navy uniforms is part of outfitting the 21st Century sailor, ensuring our sailors have practical uniforms they want and that represent our proud naval heritage while reflecting advances in clothing technology and design.”

The Navy has been getting a lot of suggestions on women’s clothing and is planning to conduct a fleet-wide uniform survey to further hone the options available to female sailors, according to Navy spokeswoman Sharon Anderson.

Photos of some of the design updates

Here are more details and other changes:

• A new male E1-E6 Service Dress Blue Uniform, incorporating a side zipper on the jumper and a hidden center zipper on the trousers. The uniform is scheduled to begin distribution in October 2015, at Recruit Training Command, Great Lakes, Ill., and is expected to be distributed across the fleet by October 2018.

• The E1-E6 men’s and women’s Service Dress White jumper design changes include incorporating a side zipper, front and rear yoke, Navy blue piping on the flap, and sleeve cuffs with Navy blue piping and button fasteners.

• The contemporary design for Service Dress Khaki is approved for optional wear.

• A number of changes to the Navy flight suit occasion and manner of wear are contained in the NAVADMIN, including changes to the approved colors for undershirts and aligning the manner of wear of the one-piece flight suit with the Navy Working Uniform Type I. Among the approved changes is the option to wear a name tape on the left shoulder pocket flap of the NWU Type I Parka, beginning July 17. These name tapes will be purchased at the sailor’s expense during the optional period. Name tapes will become mandatory Oct. 1, 2013. Sailors will receive a clothing replacement allowance to help purchase one additional name tape for the parka.

• A nylon webbing rigger belt and NWU pattern foul weather Gore-Tex trousers are approved as optional items. The optional rigger belt will be a 1 3/4-inch wide, one-piece adjustable nylon webbing, with metal or plastic buckle. Belts worn by E-1 through E-6 personnel will be black, while belts worn by E-7 and above will be tan/khaki. Sailors will be able to buy the NWU pattern foul weather Gore-Tex trousers for wear during inclement weather to and from home and work. Personally purchased trousers cannot be worn to perform official or assigned duties. The trousers will be available for purchase at selected Navy Exchange Uniform Centers, online and 1-800 call centers beginning Oct. 1.

• Standardizing the design and reducing the number of Navy Security Forces identification badges from eight to three badges: U.S. Navy Security Forces, U.S. Navy Corrections Specialist and U.S. Navy Master-at-Arms.

• A Strategic Sealift Officer Warfare insignia for wear by officers who have successfully completed the qualification requirements will be available May 2013.

• The United States Cyber Command identification badge is authorized to be worn by officers and enlisted assigned to the command beginning July 17.

• Also beginning July 17, the Marine Corps Combatant Diver breast insignia is authorized for wear on Navy uniforms by sailors who successfully meet all qualification requirements stipulated in article 1220-101, (U.S. Marine Corps Marine Combatant Diver Breast Insignia and Designation) of the Navy Military Personnel Manual.

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Beginning July 17, the Marine Corps Combatant Diver breast insignia is authorized for wear on Navy uniforms by sailors who successfully meet all qualification requirements.