Skip to main content

The United States Navy is finally getting rid of its blue uniforms

The United States Navy is finally getting rid of its blue uniforms


At least Sailors won't be hard to find if they fall overboard

Share this story

MC1 Jennifer A. Villalovos/Navy

The Army is currently in the process of transitioning away from their pixelated Universal Camouflage Pattern uniforms to ones with the Operational Camouflage Pattern. Now, the US Navy is following suit by ditching their pixelated blue uniform in favor of a new pattern.

It will take three years to transition to the new uniform

It will take three years for the Navy to transition to the new Navy Working Uniform Type III, which is a digital woodland pattern with a mix of green, tan, and black. It will replace the pixelated blue Navy Working Uniform Type I, which has been widely ridiculed by sailors since it was introduced. The new design will be available for sailors on October 1st, 2016, who will receive an allowance to offset the cost of the new uniforms. New recruits will begin to receive the new pattern in 2017.

Adopted by the Navy six years ago after the Marines adopted their own pixelated Marine Corps Combat Utility Uniform (MARPAT), sailors have complained that the uniform was uncomfortable and that it was easy to overheat while wearing it. While it was designed to hide spills and stains, many have commented that its blue-and-gray pattern would be counter-productive if a sailor fell overboard. In 2012, the Navy found that when exposed to fire, it would "‘burn robustly,’ and turn into a ‘sticky molten material.’"

The new uniform is designed to address some of these complaints, and will be lighter and breathable for the wearer. Ditching the NWUI uniforms has been discussed by the Navy for years, which announced the change earlier this year. The new uniforms will be transitioned out over the next three years: sailors may continue to wear their current NWUI and the new NWUIII uniforms through October 1st, 2019. After that date, all Navy personnel will be required to wear the new pattern.