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YOKOSUKA NAVAL BASE, Japan — They’re blue, gold and built for speed.

The Navy’s first-ever physical fitness uniform, approved Aug. 15, is to be introduced to Yokosuka sometime during fall 2008, said the base Navy Exchange’s uniform shop manager, Judy Delendo.

Atsugi and Sasebo are to begin receiving the uniforms in early 2009, said Rusti Rausch, the Navy Exchange operations manager.

“The entire process is supposed to cover everyone within a 24-month period,” Rausch said.

Sailors, however, already are talking about the PT uniforms at the “Hawk’s Nest,” the training facility for sailors checking aboard the Yokosuka-based USS Kitty Hawk.

“When I went through boot camp, we had to wear Smurfs,” said Fireman Recruit Michael Barnett, referring to the PT gear that is not mandatory after recruits graduate. “Blue pants, blue shirts and white T-shirts — not good.”

Compared to those, Barnett said, the new uniforms look “awesome.”

The new gear includes a shirt made of moisture-wicking, odor-resistant polyester with the word “Navy” in reflective lettering on the front and back. The shorts, which come in 6- and 8-inch lengths, are nylon and have reflective piping and Navy lettering.

Petty Officer 1st Class Khue Pham, an electronics technician with 10 years of service, said he thinks the upgrade in materials and features are steps in the right direction.

“In the past, we would have to give someone our keys to hold, because the old uniforms didn’t have any pockets,” Pham said. “But the new uniforms not only look better — which they do — but they even have an ID-card pocket sewn in.”

Airman Recruit Luke Lanzante praised the new look.

“I think the old PT uniforms just looked bland,” Lanzante said. “The shorts were too short, and they looked funny. I like the idea of having longer shorts with a more comfortable fit. Plus, the new color scheme just looks stronger.”

Said Fireman Apprentice Yesenia Vazquez: “The old uniforms just seemed outdated; the new ones have a more professional and united look to them.”

While many said they liked the new items, Petty Officer 3rd Class Alex Litovtchenko took issue with the requirement of having a PT uniform. Letting sailors wear civilian PT gear not only allows them to show a little individuality, it also lets them wear what works best for them, he said.


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