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SASEBO NAVAL BASE, Japan — Strange blue "cammies" are showing up here and there at bases overseas.

Those servicemembers aren’t from a visiting military. They’re wearing the Navy’s newest wardrobe addition.

An updated Navy working uniform has been under development for some time and is now on exchange shelves — and sailors — in the United States.

But don’t expect to buy it off the rack this summer or next summer in Japan, Guam and Europe. Sailors in those areas must wait until October 2010, according to the schedule published in a Navy-wide bulletin.

The overseas areas are last on the list for the scheduled rollout of the camouflage uniforms, which will be the standard working uniform on the shore and eventually replace other working uniforms, wash khakis and nontactical camouflage uniforms.

Expect to see more of the blue and gray work camies overseas, though.

"Leadership is wearing it now, and it is issued in boot camp," said Lt. Cate Wallace, spokeswoman for the Navy’s 7th Fleet.

The uniforms are authorized for those who can buy them, which for now includes only a couple of regions in the United States.

Exchanges in the southeast U.S. already stock the uniforms and stores on the West Coast will be selling them by January, according to the Navy rollout schedule.

Last month, the Navy eased restrictions on stateside soldiers who are already wearing the uniform, allowing them to makes short stops at off-base locations such as gas stations and convenience stores while still in uniform.

Meanwhile, sightings remain rare in Japan. Commanders, sailors visiting from the U.S. and sailors fresh from boot camp are turning up in the distinctive, minimal uniform.

The camouflage outfit has generated interest and criticism for its departure from traditional Navy dress.

When October 2010 arrives, sailors in Japan, Guam and Europe will have two months to switch out the current working uniforms, which will no longer be allowed after December 2010, the Navy said.


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