Waiting in the Commissary check out line, I read the front page of Navy Times and discovered we are about to change the Navy working uniform, again. That comes as no surprise to me, since the present working uniform is not conducive to shipboard use. The blouse of the trouser will catch on everything that sticks out, and you know ships have plenty of obstructions to get caught on. Second, it is hot and I can picture sailors walking around in their blue skivvie shirts with not rate or rank identification. A past MCPON had a change to the Dress Blue uniform so the white shirt has shoulder boards enabling Chief's and Officer's to walk around with out their blouse on! I guess he got chewed out by an Officer he did not recognize. Maybe not.
In any case, I hope we go back to the dungaree uniform for E-1 through E-6 and wash khaki for Officers and Chiefs. It was a comfortable uniform made specifically for shipboard life. Now there is a precedence for this because we have moved away and back again to the dungaree uniform twice in my career.
But the real crime of the uniform changes is that the Sailors have to bear the cost of these bureaucratic wars. I remember there was an unwritten rule that the CNO could only make ONE uniform change in his tour. That was a good idea that should be institutionalized! Sailors do get a small clothing allowance, but it does not even begin to cover the cost of these whole sale changes. If the Navy wants to mandate a new uniform, the Navy should purchase that uniform for every active and reserve Navy member. That would limit the uniform changes!
The bottom line is the Navy IS the Navy. For the most part, we work on ships, we don't go into the field or fight on shore. The units of the Navy that do have always had appropriate uniforms life SEALS, UDT, and the SEABEEs. We do not need to try to look like everyone else. We are sea going fighting men and women and we should look like it!