Monday, April 25, 2016

Blueberries - almost ripe for the picking

Glory, glory, glory. Someone arrange a triumph for CNO Richardson;
After six years in the fleet and some controversy, the blue-and-gray cammies could be headed for Davy Jones' seabag.

The digital blue Navy Working Uniforms were a fleet mainstay until 2013 after they were found to be unsafe to wear while fighting a fire. One plan is ditching these blue Navy working uniforms in favor of their green cousin. The service could potentially save millions by switching to the woodland cammies already worn by Seabees and master-at-arms. The green-and-tans are also not flame-resistant but would be the standard for ashore wear; flame-resistant coveralls and flight suits are mainstays for at-sea wear.
They say six years, but here at CDRS, we've been against this horrible idea of a uniform for over a decade. Yep, even back in 2005.

Let's go back to the article from a few days ago. What is driving this move?
He’s heard sailor's complaints that the heaviness of the fabric makes it hot from shoulders to boots. Sailors have told him it's “very uncomfortable,” he said.

Sure, the blue NWUs have been popular with those who like the battle dress-styling. But its camouflage is an open joke. Sailors have called it their “blueberries” and gagged that their foremost value is concealing paint spills. Even the Navy secretary has mocked it, saying three years ago that “the great camouflage it gives is if you fall overboard.”
Indulge me a bit. What did I say in early 2006, a decade ago?
Look at that heat-sink (higher res here). Everyone who has been deployed on the deck (not in the air looking down) to Oman, Kuwait, Bahrain, Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia, and/or Iraq during the summertime in the last 5 years raise your hands. The summer, heck spring and fall, direct sun of SW Asia should not be a shock to anyone. Throw in the deck of a CVN and think about how dark that uniform is. I am not going to even talk about the "blue theme." That BDU is going to give Sailors heat stroke and will do zip, zero, nada to anyone trying to hide in a desert environment.

I hope our Corpsmen get to wear Marine BDU. If you are Haji bringing your AK up on a group of Americans, if you even bother to aim, where are you naturally going to point....right! At the dark target against the light background. This is so wrong in so many ways. I like that they kept the hat and all, but just take the Marine or Army pattern, save some money, and get to the business of the Navy. I am sorry. I don't care about your desire to hide you paint stains (this won't do it BTW). This is the wrong answer. As we say in D.C. - I non-concur, sir.
Why are we only now sending out trial balloons on getting rid of this albatross around our neck? Again, it is as simple as it is maddening. 

From the start, I was not alone is seeing the problems with this uniform. Almost all knew this was a bad idea. This was supported and pushed because it was so desired by personalities. Even after those personalities were gone, inertia from timid leadership kept it going forward. We had to wait until this mistake thoroughly soaked in to the Fleet until we admitted it was a bad idea.


There were a lot of bad decisions in our Navy a decade ago that we are still paying the price for, and will be for decades. Blueberries is a small one, but a significant one. It is probably too far to address the SA uniform our E-6 and below are wearing, but I'll take any victory I can.

Make it so.

His predecessor is too ear-deep in the food trough to say why he did not take action - but that is the past. CNO Richardson, BZ and please follow through. It makes sense and our Sailors will love you for it.

Oh, and whoever approved this paint job, can we fire them or at least make them fly plastic dog-poo out of Hong Kong?

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