After years of forcing aquaflage on sailors, the Navy announced on Aug. 17 that it will begin fielding its new working uniform — Navy Working Uniform Type III — in October 2017.
The roll-out of the tough-looking uniform will take roughly two years, but sailors will continue to wear their cool-toned NWU I uniforms, more fondly known as “blueberries,” until they are phased out on Oct. 1, 2019.
The new uniform, which consists of green and tan woodland cammies, has been issued to expeditionary sailors for six years, and presents a stark but welcome contrast to the NWU I’s blues.
"It's a change of color really, but I think it's pretty awesome," Petty Officer 3rd Class Jose Menjivar told Navy Times back in 2016. “I had a chance to wear the uniform, it's pretty comfortable.”
It’s also rolling into an AAFES shop near you. According to the chief of naval operations’ Aug. 17 fleet guidance, “Navy Exchange Uniform Centers at Pearl Harbor, HI, Newport, RI, and designated Navy installations in Europe, Africa, and Southwest Asia received NWU Type III components for optional purchase at individual expense” in July 2017.
The fleet guidance also lays out the schedule for distribution as follows:
(1) RTC Great Lakes/Officer Candidate School/Southwest Region — October 2017
(2) Southeast Region — January 2018
(3) Mid-Atlantic Region/Naval District Washington Region — July 2018
(4) Navy Region Japan/Guam — January 2019
(5) Northwest Region March 2019
(6) NEXCOM uniform website and call center — June 2019.
(7) Other Service Exchange stores (i.e., AAFES stores) — July 2019.
The uniform also comes with a few changes, Task & Purpose previously reported. For starters, the collar has been altered and will no longer feature sailors’ ranks. Rank devices will now be displayed on sailors’ chests instead. And the wear of “Don’t Tread on Me” and reverse U.S. flag patches may be considered by individual unit commanding officers.
And although you’ll have to kiss the aquaflage goodbye (or, you know, burn them in a dumpster), at least you’ll get to keep your government-issue, black-leather working boots.