An additional 1,500 sailors at 29 commands are now authorized to wear the Type III woodland pattern of the Navy working uniform, joining expeditionary sailors such as these Seabees from Naval Mobile Construction Battalion 133. (MC1 Steven Myers / Navy)
Ditch your “blueberries” for some “greenie meanies.”
More sailors who are deployed — or getting ready to — will get the chance to wear the woodland Navy working uniform cammies as part of the four uniform changes approved in February.
Officials estimate that 1,500 more sailors are expected to get the chance to wear the woodland cammies — but only while training for or on deployment out of the country.
Vice Adm. Bill Moran, the chief of naval personnel who also heads the Uniform Board, also approved badges for masters-at-arms, a new pin for supply officers, and new devices that make it easy to spot a cammie-clad chaplain.
The changes come as part of the latest Uniform Board update, one mainly focused on responding to fleet concerns about the woodland cammies worn by roughly 60,000 sailors.
But along with these updates, Moran is also planning process changes to uniform policies that would speed development and solicit more fleet feedback.
“We recognize that the current uniform process moves slower than most sailors would like and that at times it can seem detached from fleet needs or desires,” said CNP spokesman Lt. Cmdr. Chris Servello, . “This is a problem that we intend to go after in 2014 — making the process less onerous, more effective and more responsive.”
More Type III commands
Only sailors at 17 commands were allowed to wear the desert and woodland cammies full-time when they were fielded in 2011.
A year later, the service named 24 commands and staffs who could wear woodland cammies part-time: on deployment and during pre-deployment training.
Now the Navy has added 29 more units to the part-time list, allowing sailors at 53 commands to wear woodland cammies on deployment or in work-up training.
The expansion will put an estimated 1,500 more sailors in woodland cammies, also referred to as the NWU Type III, while they’re in training or deployed.
“We don’t expect the actual numbers of sailors wearing the Type III to increase by much at all by adding these units,” said a Navy personnel official familiar with the changes, who asked for anonymity to discuss deliberations. “The total numbers of sailors deployed at any given time is small and as one group rotates out, they’ll be replaced by others who return to their normal non-deployment uniforms.”
The wear expansion does not affect the desert cammies, or Type II, which was initially restricted to those in Naval Special Warfare and supporting units when the cammies were announced in early 2010. The restrictions were reportedly ordered after complaints by the Marine Corps commandant that the pattern and color looked too similar to what Marines were wearing.
Though the wear remains limited, the previous master chief petty officer of the Navy said any unit deploying into harm’s way could petition to wear the desert cammies. It is not clear how many other commands can wear them as a result.
Chaplain insignia for cammies
Until the desert and woodland NWUs were rolled out, it was easy to identify who your chaplain was — and what religion he represented — simply by glancing at the insignia on the collar point in their khakis, NWUs or coveralls. Even their dress blues showed their religion insignia.
But once the new desert and woodland cammies hit the street, it was no longer possible to identify chaplains, let alone discern what their religion was — until now.
The uniform update authorizes chaplains to wear the insignia of their religion above the chest tab where they wear their ranks.
“The fact you couldn’t identify a chaplain by his or her religion immediately on site was something the Navy Chaplain Corps requested to fix,” the personnel official said in a Feb. 6 phone call. “Allowing sailors to identify their chaplains and to know their [religious affiliation] was extremely important and the Uniform Board has agreed.”
The insignia, expected to become available in exchanges in April comes as a 1½-inch-by-1½-inch fabric patch, which matches either the desert or woodland pattern and which is sewn onto the blouse directly above the rank tab.
New supply officer pin
Call it the “expeditionary pork chop” pin.
Supply officers who serve with Navy Expeditionary Combat Command or Naval Special Warfare units were allowed to qualify for the expeditionary warfare program starting in December 2012.
With this uniform update, the Navy has approved the design of the warfare device for those who qualify under the program, making it possible for supply officers to qualify for as many as five separate warfare pins.
Supply officers can qualify for — and wear — pins for service with ships, submarines, aviation, Seabees and expeditionary commands, provided the officer holds one of the following designators — 310X, 651X, or 751X.
The latest addition is known as the NESCO pin. It is a 2 ¾-inch-by- 7⁄8-inch gold metal pin containing the traditional Supply Corps oak leaf centered over a crossed sword and M16A1 rifle, all placed on a background of ocean swells.
“This is a traditional warfare pin and it’s worn over the left breast pocket as is the case with any warfare device,” the personnel official said. “It’s subject to the same precedence rules as any warfare pin.”
The pin is expected to be available for purchase in exchanges and online by June.
In May 2012, the Navy said it would consolidate the six types of badges worn by sailors serving as full-time law enforcement members of the Navy Security Forces or for other sailors who do assignments as command master-at-arms or correction specialists.
Gone were the silver badges. All were ordered to wear gold badges, devices which are optional for all three versions of the NWU.
In the latest change, officials made a slight change to one of those badges — that issued to those in the Navy Security Forces. Enlisted Master-at-Arms and officers with 649X/749X designators will wear the same new badge as long as they’re in those career paths. The other new badges are worn only by nonsecurity professionals while serving as command MAAs or corrections officers.
Originally, the new Navy Security Force Badge was to have a black embossed star. It will now be replaced by a fourth scroll line and will be engraved with a four-digit number by Defense Logistics Agency Troop Support as a means of tracking the badges and ensuring authenticity, the message said.
The gold-colored metal badge can be worn on any uniform, but there will also be embroidered versions for optional wear on Navy Working Uniforms.
Commands will have to purchase the badges directly from the Defense Logistics Agency Troop Support at a cost of $10.49 for the metal badges and $5.25 each for the embroidered versions.
The deadline for wearing the new badges is Oct. 1. Until then, sailors can wear either the new or old versions.