Navy Working Uniform (NWU) Type 1 – Why the Change?
There have been some recent changes to the US Navy’s Type 1 Working Uniform, which have mostly been to adjust eligibility for footwear, as well as to introduce some new rules on the wearing of aiguillettes with uniform. Primarily, the uniform change has been designed to make updates from the previous iteration in December 2008, while still retaining some strict rules in term of what’s allowed as part of protocol. What, then, are some of the main changes associated with the new uniform?
The new Type 1 uniform has been developed with feedback from navy personnel, and has been factored into NAVADMIN policy and specifically NAVDMIN 084/13 directives. Some of the main changes that have been made to the uniform come through the development of more comfortable and breathable fabrics, as well as through responses to some recent tests that demonstrated problems with the older uniform being a burn risk if set alight.
The NWU is intended for everyday use onboard ships and during training, and mostly consists of a shirt and parker with official trousers, and uses nylon and cotton materials. Updates include being allowed to wear aiguillettes, or braided cords over one shoulder, which are more commonly found on billets; these can then be combined with other standard features of the the uniform, which include digitally designed navy flags on shirts.
Other common items for the NWU that are remaining relatively unchanged include a strict combination of unisex shirt and trousers, safety boots, blue undershirts and shorts, belts with silver buckles for low ranked servicemen and women, and gold belts for officers and chiefs. Footwear changes that are being made, however, are designed to create more options for wearers, and now include 9 inch safety boots with steel toes and leather variations, as well as 8 inch aviation boots.
From October 2013, silver name tape will be used for E1 to E6 ranked personnels on their shirts, and gold for officers and chiefs. Navy personnel can also choose to purchase foul weather gore-tex trousers, which can be worn over NWU trousers, and with official parks and shirts; these will have to feature fastened zippers and snaps, and can be worn when commuting from home to bases; however, these trousers won’t be allowed for assigned duties.
Some other restrictions that are still in place for the NWU include ball caps not being allowed, and any backpacks not being able to carry non NAVY patterns or logos; in terms of the allowance of aiguillettes, these should be placed over the shoulder seam of a wearer’s left sleeve pocket, and cannot be worn with a black fleece liner. For the most part, NWU regulations remain consistent from previous rules – clothes should be washed inside out without starch, shouldn’t be dry cleaned, and should only be light ironed. Moreover, NWU uniforms are not to be worn when drinking alcohol in a social situation, and cannot be worn on airlines, buses, and railways.
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