Comfort, current fashion and functionality are leading factors for U. Fleet Forces Command as it develops a two-piece flame-retardant work uniform that could be used instead of the current standard coveralls aboard ships, service officials told USNI News.
This summer, about 350 sailors from surface warfare, aviation and submarine communities are testing how well two-piece flame-retardant uniform prototypes fit into their daily routines. The testing officially started Friday and will run until September, Fleet Forces spokeswoman Lt. Jamie Seibel told USNI News on Monday.
“This would be an option for people on sea duty who don’t need to wear coveralls,” Seibel said.
The desire for a fire-resistant two-piece work uniform was brought up more than a year ago when Fleet Forces was testing the now-approved Improved Flame-Resistant Coverall.
The goal set in January 2017 was to develop a flame-resistant alternative to the coverall, something offering sailors some flexibility with what they can wear onboard. Being a one-piece outfit, the coverall limits how sailors can dress in warm environments. The two-piece is intended to offer a professional and modern-looking alternative, allowing sailors to wear command approve t-shirts in appropriate situations, according to a Fleet Forces statement.
Feedback from the coverall testing, Seibel told USNI News, was that sailors said, “I’d really like something to wear off the ship.”
Current Navy regulations prohibit sailors from wearing coveralls away from their work environment.
Three variants are being tested: A dark navy blue top and trousers; a light blue top with the dark blue trousers; and a khaki top and trousers. Also being tested during this process is an ankle-height work boot with a steel toe and oil-resistant body and treads, resembling a slip-on Chelsea-style boot.
Sailors are encouraged to take a Fleet Forces-run online survey on the two-piece uniform variants. The Fleet Forces Facebook page has garnered more than 100 comments about the two-piece uniforms. Many said the untucked shirts looked unprofessional.
Whether or not the Navy will stick with an untucked look is one of the many design questions Fleet Forces will consider after the testing and comments period is over, Seibel said.
“People were interested in untucked,” Seibel said. “NWUs are untucked.”