Navy bids goodbye to "blueberry" uniform
Navy bids goodbye to "blueberry" uniform A newly promoted group of petty officers stand in formation in Yokosuka, Japan. The blue working uniforms they are wearing will start to be phased out this October. (U.S. Navy/Flickr)
Navy bids goodbye to "blueberry" uniform
Lexile: 590L

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What does the word “aquaflage” call to mind? Maybe its beehive hairdos. Or maybe really strong hoses. If so, you must not be in the Navy. 

Aquaflage is also known as “blueberries.” These are the uniforms with blue and gray digital camouflage pattern. They were a required part of the U.S. Navy’s working uniform. This had been true since 2010. But last year it was time to bid the less-than-blissful blueberry goodbye. Navy officials said that their working uniforms were getting a makeover. The new uniforms are green camo.

The Navy’s shore working uniform began to transition last October. The Navy adopted the NWU Type III uniform. It has a green-and-tan camouflage pattern. That's according to Chief of Naval Personnel Vice Adm. Robert Burke. He wrote a uniform policy update. There is a three-phase transition. It will be complete by October 2019. It will also include other changes. The changes include an updated logo. It will be on sweatshirts and pants.

Ray Mabus is the former Secretary of the Navy. He said that when he traveled around the world, sailors wanted to discuss uniforms with him. “They want uniforms that are comfortable, lightweight, breathable. And they want fewer of them,” he added. “We have heard the feedback and we are acting on it.”

And not a moment too soon. The current uniform has been derisively called the blueberry since the uniform’s debut. It could be one of the most hated military uniforms of all time. It was announced in 2008. The uniform was designed to replace the dungarees and blue shirts. Those had long been the Navy working uniform.

The uniforms were mocked as Smurf-like. They were hot. They were uncomfortable. In 2013, a burn test revealed that they were anything but flame resistant. DuffelBlog is the military’s version of The Onion. It helped explain the controversy about the design. It pointed out that the uniform did a great job disguising service members who fell into the water. But this is not exactly the job description for people who serve in the Navy.

The age of the blueberry has come to an end. Now sailors can look forward to working uniforms that are more on par with their counterparts in other branches of the Armed Forces. The announcement was met with glee by some. The Navy Times’ Mark D. Faram calls it “the military’s most pointless uniform.” It’s bad news for entities like the San Diego Padres. The Padres had previously announced that they planned to switch to blueberry-style jerseys during some games.

You can get a glimpse of the uniform that is standard. You can check out the U.S. Navy’s interactive uniform app. You can also brush up on your knowledge of other Naval garb.

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Why is the Navy changing its uniform?
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  • EmilyN-del1
    11/06/2017 - 06:19 p.m.

    I think that it is nice that the Navy get to change their hot, uncomfortable, not flame resistant aquaflauge uniforms. The Navy serves our country and they deserve to have a uniform that is comfortable for the and also light and airy.

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