ARLINGTON, Va. — The Navy on Friday changed course to announce that sailors wearing the new Navy working uniform — the gray, blue and black camouflage — can make routine stops between base and home.

Sailors had complained that the original rules too strictly governed where sailors ashore could go in the uniform, which is still being introduced worldwide.

Now, personnel may stop at day care, dry cleaners, gas stations or convenience stores, among other similar errands. Longer stops remain off limits, and a Navy personnel message specifically prohibits cruising a shopping mall or “entertainment complex”.

The Navy’s Master Chief Petty Officer Rick D. West wrote on his Facebook page on Sunday: “This is a big win for our Sailors and for our Navy. The American public is going to be introduced to this new uniform and our men and women have been eager to get out there and show it off.”

Across military blogs, participants have blasted the uniforms for too closely resembling the combat uniforms of the Army and Marines that have become ubiquitous military symbols in media coverage of the land wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Others questioned the purpose of wearing a woodland camouflage pattern while aboard a ship.

“The US [Navy] image to the American public’s mind is rooted in the sailor in crackerjacks or dungarees as worn for generations,” one blog commenter wrote. “Picture the statue of the lone sailor in dress blues, pea coat, white hat, sea bag by his side. Now picture today’s lone sailor statue in his Navy Working Uniform.”

Sailors can add fleece-lined parkas, mock turtleneck undershirts and a black knit watch cap, among other items.

In a series of uniform rule tweaks announced last week, the Navy applied the NWU rules also to sailors in camouflage utility uniforms, or CUUs, which are worn by Marines and some sailors in joint settings.

The Navy also is making the popular new service uniforms for E-1 to E-6 sailors available to more of the fleet sooner, in response to overwhelmingly positive reactions from sailors, the message reads. They will be available September 1 in Navy exchanges in the Southeast, Northeast, Europe, Japan and Guam regions.

And a heavier weight, moisture-wicking workout shirt for was scheduled to begin arriving in exchanges on Jun 30.

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