Keeping the blogosphere posted on the goings on of the world of submarines since late 2004... and mocking and belittling general foolishness wherever it may be found. Idaho's first and foremost submarine blog. (If you don't like something on this blog, please E-mail me; don't call me at home.)

Friday, August 17, 2007

We're Sure To Win The War Now!

Although ADM Mike Mullen will be taking over at Chairman of the Joint Chiefs this fall, that doesn't mean he's not still doing the important work expected of a CNO. Navy NewsStand describes his latest accomplishment:
Adm. Mike Mullen, Chief of Naval Operations, approved the first Navy physical fitness uniform for all Sailors E-1 through O-10 this week.
“The goal was to design a uniform for wear during command directed group and unit PT activities and that our Sailors will be proud to wear,” said Vice Adm. John C. Harvey Jr., Chief of Naval Personnel. “What CNO has delivered more than meets that goal.”
The uniform consists of a gold short sleeved shirt and Navy blue shorts. The shirt is moisture wicking and odor resistant polyester with Navy in reflective lettering on back with and front. [Ed. Note: WTF? "back with and front"????]
The nylon moisture wicking and odor resistant Navy blue shorts come in six and eight inch lengths, providing standard appearance among different height Sailors, it also has reflective piping and reflective Navy lettering. The shorts have side pockets with a hidden ID card pocket inside the waistband.
“We carefully evaluated the materials, styling and functionality in designing this uniform,” said Harvey. “We looked at the lessons learned from the other services and got feedback from our Sailors – young, mature, male, female, officer and enlisted – and arrived at this design.”
“This is a high quality, high performance product that I know our Sailors will be proud to wear, because we asked them,” Harvey added.
Upon delivery to the fleet, anticipated to be spring 2008, all command directed physical training and semi-annual physical fitness tests will be performed while wearing the PT uniform. However, the uniform does not have to be worn during individual exercise.
I'll bet you Al Qaeda doesn't have matching PT gear, and that's why we're kicking their asses! The Navy has always known that it's not how smart or technically-proficient you are at your job, but how good you look while you're doing PT that determines who should be retained as a Sailor.

Since I'm sure that these stunning new fashions will be showing up on the runways of Milan and New York pretty soon, I was hoping that they might be able to provide even more gear for the most gung-ho Sailors. I wasn't disappointed; the article continues:

“We have designated optional items including a long-sleeved shirt, compression shorts, head gear and running shoes which can be worn during these events,” said Carroll. A Navy wind suit is also in the works.
Navy-designed running shoes -- now there's something I'll want to wear everywhere!

My favorite part of this whole new initiative? That they have pants with two different lengths to provide "standard appearance among different height Sailors". So it's not for people to choose how long they like their shorts; it's so the bottoms of the shorts will all line up when the Sailors are in formation -- as long as their legs are all within two inches of the same length.

Whaddaya bet that no one who has the slightest possibility of ever going back to sea duty had anything to do with this project.

Bell-ringer 0754 18 Aug: Navy Times had a picture of the prototype of the new uniform last month:


Blogger midwatchcowboy said...

Actually, the fact that leadership came up with a uniform. They just didn't have to make such a big friggen deal about it.

Task forces of the right mix of demographics (with ridiculous TAD budgets), focus groups, etc.

Just submit a call for proposals and let the sportswear industry do the legwork and the analysis of alternatives. Then just pick what you like MCPON and get the CNO to pay for it.

Hope its not made in China (like some Army headgear I recall). However, I do wonder how much these will cost? And what's the deployment schedule - can I get grandfathered in until i retire?

8/17/2007 6:47 PM

Blogger bothenook said...

this would be kind of funny if it wasn't so pathetic. sure glad the upper uppers are so worried about the way their sailors look, rather than how well they perform...

8/17/2007 7:02 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Amen brother. Whenever NAVADMINs such as this cross my desk, first words out of my mouth are "Glad to see we have Bin Laden's head on a stick and can now focus on these important issues." I find I say it quite often.
Makes me want to cry if I think about it too hard.

8/17/2007 8:42 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

One question - was Adm. Mullen ever a Cub Scout?

Photo of PT outfit (unmodeled) can be seen at It really looks fine to me, not cheap, either.

8/17/2007 10:22 PM

Blogger Chap said...


8/18/2007 1:07 AM

Anonymous Grumpy LDO said...

Finally, my quest for PT gear that has spanned 21 years of service has been concluded! This is the best day ever!

Now I won't have to see or be seen in one of those groups PT'ing together in Command Specific PT T-Shirts....what were we thinking? Should have said US Navy.... As if USS CHARLOTTE/ASHEVILLE/LA JOLLA clad dudes running around the NAVY BASE left any real doubt as to their service affilation.

Thanks again CNO and well spent...just like the billions coming for the new E-1 to O-10 Working Uniform... That's another huge waste of time and money that should be spent building, operating, and maintaining Ships and Submarines.

Stuff like this really irks me! I spend some time EVERY SINGLE DAY, explaining to a Submariner that they will have to live with a problem on their Submarine, because we can't afford to fix that particular problem right now.

What BS this is!!!!!!!

8/18/2007 1:53 AM

Blogger WillyShake said...

I'm reading Dickens' _Bleak House_ right now (a novel which exposes the buffoonery of England's legal system in the mid 1800s) and your HIGH-larious critique of USN brass would make Dickens green with envy for its humor as well as its insight--thanks for sharing!

8/18/2007 5:04 AM

Anonymous cheezstake said...

I have been out of the Navy for over a year now and this is one of the things that I do not miss.

As the Leading 1st on the sub, I loathed having to tell one of my guys that he needed to fix his uniform or get his shave closer, etc. I knew these guys were great sailors and could be relied upon when engineroom would run drills on us.
Five o'clock shadow doesn't make a sailor less of a performer. I always questioned the really clean guys. Where they working??
But, as you stated, the Nav is still more concerned about appearances than true performance.

Nice to see our boys' (and gals') money well spent!!

8/18/2007 8:24 AM

Blogger Daniel said...

Like a SEAL chief couldn't have come up with this on his own, in say, two weeks? A trip to a few sporting good stores, a long lunch or two, and a request for bids from a half dozen different sport goods companies later, this would have been done. Why was the CNO even involved?! The Navy needs to get over the complex where even trivial decisions need to be made by high ranking officers. Cutting flag officer billets by 50% or so might fix this.

8/18/2007 4:47 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well at least it doesn't have any buttons for the ships laundry to crunch! I wonder if they even ran it through the ships laundry a bunch of times to see how it held up. Also, how many ID cards in the hidden pocket will make the trip to the ships laundry? Gotta love it!


8/20/2007 5:50 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I can't wait to see the uniform shop out of stock for the longer shorts, so the big guys need to buy the short ones or they don't realize there are even different sizes. Then some mando PT (i.e. hatchplug) shows up in a pair that looks like a thong because the COB told him he has to be in uniform for PT. It'll happen at least once for every boat.

I also love the optional stuff. It'll be 40 degrees at the spring PT, and half the guys will be told to take off their sweatshirts because they aren't approved uniform items and the guys didn't pay the extra cost of "optional" items. Great Navy Day!


8/20/2007 7:36 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm surprised that the workout gear isn't made to look the like "seagoing BDUs" that the Navy is adopting in its quest to make everyone look like Jarheads.

Stuff like this makes me very glad that I outchopped to Civlant a long time ago...

8/20/2007 11:05 AM

Anonymous Byron Audler said...

Keep in mind that I'm a civilian...but one that has worked closely with and around the Navy for going on 30 years now. I think this is a good idea. Why? I'll be GLAD to tell you:

First off, I see sailors doing PT and their runs around Mayport. A sadder bunch of warriors could not be found outside of your local mall. They look like a bunch of don't give a crap kids doing what they consider to be stupid stuff. It ain't's the kind of stuff that keeps you and your shipmates alive.

Ever watch a whole crew doing their runs? They straggle all up and down the piers, runners up front, tubbies in the rear. Only ONE ship that I've seen even comes close to looking "Military", and that CO was a hard core fool. He ran in the REAR of the formation, and woe unto any sailor or officer who slacked off. Not only that, they ran in formation, yelling jody calls the whole way. They had pride in themselves, and pride in their ship. And oh, they all were dressed out the same.

What's wrong with expecting warriors to look and act like warriors? Or are you all a bunch of business men?

8/21/2007 2:46 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm sorry, since when does running around doing calisthenics and singing cadence in the same uniforms make us warriors? Submarine warriors? Really?

This stuff might have a place with the snake-eaters that might have to charge a machine gun nest without question, but submariners are supposed to be the thinking man's Navy, right? Or do we really want mindless robots running the most complex machines ever built?

In the submarine navy I joined, we were trained from the beginning to be "steely-eyed killers of the deep" and we all knew our jobs and our submarine like our lives depended on it. Gasp! You mean it did? If you didn't get with the program, you didn't last very long.

Now we have "leadership challenges" instead of "dirtbags". A lot of boats don't even run a dink list. We wouldn't want to offend young Fireman Smith by actually holding him accountable, he might not re-enlist and then we'll have to answer to the boss because our first term numbers are too low! Tell you what, let's put his LPO and CPO on the dink list instead. The are "company men" after all.

But don't we look spiffy in our new PT gear? Now we can look good doing PT while we stand and recite the Sailor's Creed from memory, but we can't seem to connect the portable submersible pump discharge hose to the drain suction header without using the procedure. Seriously. Seems to me that our priorities are just a little out of whack.

8/21/2007 9:10 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Submarine warriors", a slogan brought to you by the same folks who brought you "surface warriors."

I remember when the only physical fitness test was whether or not a sailor could squeeze through an 18" scuttle. Then they went to yearly PT tests and it was considered an individual responsibility to be in enough of a physical condition to pass it.

The Navy did OK back then. The ships and boats went to sea and did the job without coordinated workout gear or seagoing BDUs.

I was on a ship at Navsta Norva when a fleet commander came on to talk to the captain and then to the wardroom. This admiral (whose name I've forgotten) said something along the lines that the piers in Norfolk were filthy and when he had visited Charlestown six months before, the piers were immaculate.

Yeah, and what the admiral didn't know, of course, was that the folks in Charleston spent three days cleaning up the piers in advance of his visit.

The workout uniform is nothing more than chickenshit. And if this is what the CNO worries about, I can't wait to see what he does as JCS.

8/22/2007 5:16 AM

Anonymous Byron Audler said...

I'll take it as a given that the men that are priviledged to wear Dolphins are a serious cut above the skimmers and the aviators. Granted.

But three times a week, I get to watch sailors do PRT, and they look worse than your high school gym class. I KNOW they looked worse than my high school gym class. They wear just about every piece of crap in the world, including pajamas! Less than half of them really make a serious try at doing exercises. And like I said before, only one ship even remotely looked military, the rest had stragglers all over the pier, and it might take a half hour for the Tail End Charlies to make it to the brow.

Being a sailor on a warship means having to be ready for all kinds of bad stuff. What would happen to these sailors if they had to fight a bad fire? Would they be able to hack it? Would they have the esprit d' corps that bonds them to their shipmates, that demands they give their all to save the ship and the rest of the crew?

Gotta wonder about that one. If CNO thinks this is a step in the right direction, then whats the harm? The cost? Hey, your aquisition process sucks across the board.

Don't believe me? Head out to a base on PRT day, and look at these sorry excuses for sailors.

8/22/2007 3:01 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Try this: head out to a war zone one day, fight fires yourself before they steal all your air with no place to run or fire truck to call for help, watch your shipmates pass away on the messdecks from relatively simple issues because proper medical care is days away from 'on station,' heck just put in the months of 130-hour work weeks to get the ship underway for deployment in the first place... then explain to us what 'bad stuff' warship sailors need to be ready for.

Units must police their own. We're like family -- I'll chew on my guys all day long, but to hear a life-long civilian preach about how our sailors are 'sorry excuses' who don't have what it takes will bring me to their defense every time.

That 'Tail End Charlie' is an American fighting in the forces which guard our country and our way of life, and is prepared to give his life in their defense. 'Working closely with and around the navy for going on 30 years' certainly carries its own element of service but is still somewhat less bold of a commitment. Please try to remember that he volunteered to die if necessary for your country before you belittle his appearance while working out.

While I am in favor of strong, organized programs for unit PT, I agree that the Navy Staff is wasting time and valuable manpower on uniform changes in general. How many IA billets could have been supported by the people working on new PT gear, allowing frontline units to keep useful bodies focused on the Navy missions they trained for?

8/27/2007 8:32 PM


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