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.)

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Huge!!!1!!1!! New Navy (U)Niform News

The official Navy website has a couple recent stories about new Navy uniform goings-on that are sure to have a huge rippling effect throughout the service. First, they announced with appropriate fanfare that the Service Dress Khaki wear test had commenced. Here's the CNO wearing his SDKs; somehow, he ended up being one of the Beta testers:

I've always been a fan of the return of the Service Dress Khakis (and I'm not alone), but I admit that there's one thing that bugs me just a little about it. The concept of being able to quickly switch from informal Service Khaki to Dress Khaki just by adding a tie and jacket is good, but you still have something that, IMHO, violates one of the basic rules of Good Uniform Design -- too many visible rank insignia. No other uniform, other than the Women's Service Dress White worn by Officer Candidates for their first uniform inspection, has two complete sets of rank insignia visible -- both shoulder boards (or the traditional one crow for CPOs) and metal collar devices. It's nit-picky, I know, but it strikes me as overkill. Still, it'd probably be more tacky to make people remove the collar insignia and have two (or more, depending on how old the khaki shirt is) holes plainly visible on each collar tab. Overall, I give this uniform a big thumbs up.

The far bigger news, of course, is the unveiling of the prototype Official Navy Running Suit. If you think I was excited about the initial issuance of the Physical Training Uniform, that's nothing compared to how much I support this new Running Suit. Check it out!

They haven't said anything about it, but I suspect that this will be an optional accouterment to the required shorts and shirt (like the headgear, "official" running shoes, and compression shorts mentioned during the early announcements). More than just a Physical Training Uniform, this complete Suit says about the wearer that he or she is willing to go the extra mile to show that they're a complete Dig-it. It's important that such people stand out, so their peers know who they are.


Blogger david said...

Jeez. Over here in the Air Force, we are absolutely sick & tired of uniform changes. The man-hours, the expense, the fit-tests...what a complete waste of time, considering the challenges we face.

Yeah, they might look cool, but priorities, ya know.

6/11/2008 6:24 AM

Blogger Free The Nucs said...

You're owned by the Navy, they can package you however they want. Just be glad they haven't started tattooing barcodes on us, yet. At least you can still get out if you don't like it.

The sad part is how decisions like this are made: this is some admiral's pet project, and you better belive he lobbied long and hard for it. Could that same effort have been better spent elsewhere (like maybe researching a better idea than NMCI)? I'm not positive, but I'm guessing so.

6/11/2008 6:53 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh! That's, uh, that's uh, my pieces of flair.

What are pieces of flair?

That's where you know, suspenders and buttons and all sorts of stuff.
We're, uh, we're actually required to wear fifteen pieces of flair.
quite stupid actually.

Do you get to pick them out yourself?

Yeah. Yeah. Although I didn't actually choose these. I, uh, I just
grabbed fifteen buttons and, uh, I don't even know what they say!
Y'know, I don't really care. I don't really like talking about my

6/11/2008 7:32 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I need to talk about your flair.

Really? I have 15 buttons on. I, uh, (shows him

Well, ok, 15 is minimum, ok?


Now, it's up to you whether or not you want to just do the bare
minimum. Well, like Brian, for example, has 37 pieces of flair. And a
terrific smile.

Ok. Ok, you want me to wear more?

Look. Joanna.


People can get a cheeseburger anywhere, ok? They come to Chotchkie's
for the atmosphere and the attitude. That's what the flair's about.
It's about fun.

Ok. So, more then?

Look, we want you to express yourself, ok? If you think the bare
minimum is enough, then ok. But some people choose to wear more and we
encourage that, ok? You do want to express yourself, don't you?

Yeah. Yeah.

Great. Great. That's all I ask.


6/11/2008 7:34 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I can see it now, someone forgets to wear the new uniform.... The Officer comes in...
Hi, Peter. What's happening? We need to talk about your TPS reports.

Yes Sir, I got the Memo... Hillareous. Office space ERRRRR Navy

6/11/2008 8:06 AM

Blogger submandave said...

Every time a new uniform is rolled out or tested I think back to the rumors I heard in the mid-80s about an 1120 Admiral who was pushing for a submariner-only uniform like the Aviation Greens. Except this uniform supposedly consisted of a blue coverall, bloused into black boots with a gold ascot and beret. Yech!

Did I just imagine this during a heavy night of drinking, or does anyone else remember this sort of nonsense being bantied about?

6/11/2008 10:09 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

The officer SDKs are OK --- they're traditional. But I noticed in the MCPONs pic he was wearing long sleeve khaki shirt. I'm curious if they can wear short sleeves. I always hated long sleeves.

I've seen some tests of the new enlisted uniforms. They're horrid. You can't tell what branch of the service they're in. If I was still in, I'd have a set for sea bag requirements, that's it. I'd never wear them. Dress whites and dress blues - prescribed uniform of the day be damned.

6/11/2008 11:07 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Since the SDK's have come back, do officers and chiefs get to ditch some uniforms? If not, thats not a positive step forward.

I also heard rumors about the submarine uniform stuff back in the day. Man, as if we didn't already have the whole "100 bubbleheads go down, 50 couples come up" thing, they wanted us to wear ascots? Why not just change the working uniform to party dresses and panty hose, and be done with it?

6/11/2008 1:01 PM

Blogger beebs said...

I hate to speak ill of the CNO, but he looks like a Russian Naval Officer in the Service Dress Khaki outfit. This is a uniform the Navy doesn't need, in my opinion. What's wrong with Tropical Whites?

6/11/2008 1:07 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think that the MCPON is wearing long sleeves because he is covering up his tattoo. Which is visable when he is wearing short sleeves.

6/11/2008 1:14 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm not in the service so I'm not really qualified to comment on the practicality of these new uniforms, but in my own aesthetic opinion the only problem I have with the SDK's is the shoulder boards. I think it would look better with sleeve band insignia like on the dress blues (granted it would not be as easy to discern the rank without the gold-on-blue contrast, but it can't be much worse than trying to recognize small metal insigina from any distance). Something about shoulder boards on jackets looks odd to me. It wouldn't solve Bubblehead's problem of too many visible insignia, but at least they wouldn't be right next to each other. The MCPON's SDK's with sleeve chevrons looks better.

6/11/2008 1:50 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

What? No epaulets on the running suit? Sheesh

6/11/2008 2:42 PM

Blogger wtfdnucsailor said...

I have to say the I think it is a step backward. I hated SDK and was very happy when they did away with that uniform and replaced it with the tropical khaki long (just added ribbons to working khaki). I was not much of a fan of Tropical White Long either since the whites got dirty as soon as you put them on. For some reason I also think that Service Dress White (choke collar) is cool, especially with Medals and Swords for commissionings and changes of command. To get back to the SDK question - I don't see the need.

6/11/2008 2:43 PM

Blogger reddog said...

Those concerned with how sailors look and conformity of dress, should be removed from the service. The mechanical skills of the engineers, the accuracy of the gun crews, etc, are the critical factors in naval warfare. Uniforms should be cheap, comfortable and durable. Changes should be minimal.

leadership encompasses many things, fabric swatches and color schemes do not come into it.

6/11/2008 2:58 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

"I hate to speak ill of the CNO, but he looks like a Russian Naval Officer in the Service Dress Khaki outfit."

Agreed. And if you look closely you will see that the buttons on the breast pockets are Baby Lennon pins.

on the sub-uniform: I went in in 1989, and did not hear of a sub-specific uniform, even from the old-timers. Though the ascot and beret would have, I suspect, gotten me beat up if I had stopped on the way to and from the base. So I am thankful that it did not become reality.

6/11/2008 3:17 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...


I remember that rumor. Ugh.

6/11/2008 4:30 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

God help us! More stuff for the ships laundry to screw up! So what happens to the poor sailor who has not gotten his dirty smelly PT uniform back from the ships laundry yet? Does he get EMI for running in unauthorized gear?

We need to lighten the seabag,not add more to it. Ships not ready for combat, new construction costs sky rocketing, lack of technical training in schools, etc, etc. Someone is losing sight of the big picture.

"Uniforms should be cheap, comfortable and durable. Changes should be minimal." I agree completely!

6/12/2008 5:53 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

WRT sleeve stripes for SDK, you're going 'way back. During WWII the Navy had a "dress gray" uniform--cut like SDK but sleeve stripes like SDB, only black. Still have my father's LT blouse. (Bridge coats in that era also had black sleeve stripes.)
Bill the Shoe

6/12/2008 12:59 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was underwater for most of the 80's and I remember the heavily rumoured 'submariner' uniform. If I recall (and I very well may not...lots of bad memories blocked) it was something that CNO Lehman was proposing. I remember he was very big on creating a unique 'esprit de corps' identity for all bubbleheads with separate uni's being a part of it..much like Naval aviation. Personally, I am glad it never happened, particularly if it included ascots and berets....oh the humanity! One Navy - one uniform.
As for uniforms in general, I offer this opinion that nobody asked for. I think that all military uniforms should be affordable, practical and durable. For a Navy specific uniform I think one should want something that doesn't waterlog or easily catch fire, can be stuffed into a seabag or rack locker and still look good...and be readily identifiable from the other services. Furthermore, it should be an afterthought given the bigger priorities in the world today. That being said, I think that there are too many people with too little to do in the USN and they don't share the same opinions I do. Nor should they care what one anonymous ex-bubblehead posting on a random blog thinks.

6/12/2008 1:49 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've always had a thing for uniform policy; I almost wish I was still active duty so I could express my opinion more formally. Anyway...

I believe the Marines have the whole uniform thing down better than anyone out there with the possible exception of the Brits. Tradition for dress uniforms, utility for, well, utilities.

We need to update and enhance the poopie-suit, and summarily remove wash khakis and dungarees. Poopie-suits need to include better fireproofing and reflective tape (per the Australian Navy). Just accept that our job is to fix the ship when broken, and fight any casualty the enemy (or we) inflict. Poopie-suits need to be authorized whenever one is assigned to anything but a desk, on or off base. There should be no uniform that any sailor or "Big Navy" is embarrassed to wear off base. We need to look at poopie-suits as our version of the Army's ACU: what a working sailor wears.

Choker whites and SDBs are here to stay; tradition wins, and they look pretty damn sharp. SDK and working khaki are also part of our tradition. In lieu of SDK (only to minimize seabag requirements), I recommend making the SDB shirt, trousers, tie, and (optionally) wooly-pully a service uniform in and of itself (a la the British Navy), but that is just a personal opinion.

Bring back "Undress Blues" and "Undress Whites" for our enlisted brethren and forget the lame excuse for the new service uniform. The last thing we need to do is burden our sailors with the dry-clean-only Johnny Cashes and Summer Whites that only see the light of day during school and shore duty.

Just my 2 cents.

And another thing: if you bring back SDK, make Aviation Working
Green an acceptable substitute.

6/12/2008 9:31 PM

Blogger Chap said...

Phibian's been on it.
A reader from EUCOM AOR sent along this little tid bit.

They just had a NEX uniform roadshow here ... and it was pretty much a disaster. They wouldn't pass around the SDK because "it's really hard to take care of and we don't want to ruin this one".

Audience reaction was quite hostile after that. Everyone seemed to hate the new digi camies (too dark except for the bright USN "shoot me here" badge on the pocket) and was appalled that the PT windsuit (required) will cost $180.

6/13/2008 12:00 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

$180.00 for a jogging suit. What is it, Nieman Marcus?

Someone must be on drugs. Think about this. Where, on a submarine on deployement are they going to wear this damn thing?

Do the recruits get it issued with their seabag and the fleet has to buy it out of pocket and then slowly get re embursed? The poor sailor who is forced to buy it and then gets out a few months later is S.O.L. I guess.

Again, what happened to keeping it simple?

6/13/2008 5:43 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good example of the Navy trying to make everything important. The Navy budget is going south in a hurry and they are worried about bringing back uniforms from the past.

"If everything is important then nothing is important"

I think a well known Admiral used to say that.

6/13/2008 6:13 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Rich here,

Stuck here in Kuwait at a Joint base, we have everything here. Army, Air Force, Navy, and Marines, I think that the big push is until recently we were the only service without an “official PT uniform”. What sucks for some of these folks is their PT uniform is all they can wear and some Nazi won’t allow them to have civis over here.

Anyhow, I think the PT uniform is retarded and we don’t need to have the same PT uniform like the other services to be effective. Especially as a reservist, if the want me to have it then they better issue it to me.

BTW, the PT wind suit looks gay, and I am certain that if I wore them around town where I live I would get my ass kicked.

6/13/2008 8:49 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Someone alluded to a full sea bag on a boat. WTF? On the SSN that I was on until '90, the only time that we took any uniforms other poopie suits and one set of dungarees to sea, was when we were headed on a Pac. And even then it was one dress uniform - usually whites. I never actually wore a dress uniform in a port - always civis.

6/13/2008 4:44 PM

Blogger Chap said...

Oh, and.

"Eagle, Constitution, and anchor"? As, like, the new Official Logo Thingy?

What is it in the tap water there that we have to issue all these fake religious relics and gnostic symbols over the last few years?

6/14/2008 10:51 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Saw the PT uniform pic on the navy Times coverpage and the first thing i thought of was the uniform jacket from Star Trek (Next Gen).
The subs used to have a unique "uniform" that was cheap, comfortable, durable, and quite distinguished. The old Poopie suit. Of course the regular navy had to take that and turn it into an expensive over dressed (to much flair) replacement for dungarees, so the Dungs could become the "new" service uniform, making the service whites/blues to become a 'dress' uniform, creating the need to invent a whole new line of 'better' service dress uniforms. Even money says the 'Salt & Peppers' make a comeback in 5 years.
I think some retired Admirals work for the companies that make uniforms, hence the need to keep reinventing them to sustain a profit margin.

6/16/2008 9:41 AM

Blogger bothenook said...

i'm with beeb. looks like a russian admiral.
i made the switch from good old dungarees to the "utility" uniform back to dungarees of a similar but different material. and i had to switch from the cracker jacks to the bus driver uniform, and then watched as i was getting out as the navy went back to the cracker jacks.
call me an old fahrt but sailors should look like sailors, and nothing says sailor like dungarees and crackerjacks for the enlisted, and "uniform suit" quality dress white and blues for o div and chiefs. an easily stowed and cleaned uniform is all that should be issued to the fleet.
i will say that the canuks had only one uniform for all services, anjd they didn't have any big issues with it.

6/18/2008 8:09 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

So, MCPON Campo's legacy will be that during wartime he brought service dress khaki to the mess? Thanks, Joe. Way to stay focused.

6/27/2008 10:54 AM

Blogger T said...

Also Joe Campa has cool braces, and has awesome quotes in All Hands magazine, about how he felt that he and all our fellow heroes of the sea really PT'ed harder the day they had the new navy uniform vs. civi's. It was a great light hearted article to read between the rest of the articles which were all about IA's. You'd think there'd be more about ships in that magazine.

6/30/2008 5:05 PM

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8/26/2012 10:58 PM


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