If crisp white dress uniforms and reefer jackets weren't enough, Navy surface warfare officers will soon be able to rock an additional item of standard-issue swag: a black, fully-lined leather jacket with a zipper front, knitted cuffs, knitted waistband and a pointed collar.
Starting this June, Navy SWOs can wear the jacket at sea or ashore, but only with their service uniforms, explained Vice Admiral John B. Nowell, Jr., deputy chief of naval operations for manpower, personnel training and education in a branch-wide statement on Thursday.
Why the sudden fondness for leather? Naval Surface Forces Vice Adm. Richard Brown said in a statement that the exclusive jacket, like the aviation bomber jacket, is supposed to build esprit de corps among SWOs.
The jackets are "one way to signify the outstanding achievement of our Surface Warfare Officers," Brown said. "Those who wear the jacket will be easily identified as part of a long lineage of professional ship drivers and maritime warfighters."
A bit of fashion therapy may be just the thing for SWOs, given the spate of bad news sailors have had over the past few years. Between ship collisions, uncertain training reforms, and corruption scandals, maybe a dapper jacket could be the "New Year, New Me" the Navy's been looking for.