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Navy Working Uniform (NWU)
In 2006 the U.S. Navy announced the all-ranks Navy Working Uniform (NWU). The announcement was the culmination of a three-year project that began with the charter of Task Force Uniform (TFU), established to deliver a proposal to reflect the requirements of Sailors in the 21st century Navy. A principal goal was to simplify what sailors are required to keep in their sea bags and lockers at sea.
History and Issue of the Navy Working Uniform (NWU)
The Navy Working Uniform (NWU) was developed based on the work of Task Force Uniform. An analysis of a fleet-wide survey conducted during the summer of 2003 led to the creation of concepts for working uniforms (and a separate service uniform) for a wear test and for another fleet-wide survey during summer 2005.
The four finalist patterns were tested in digital and woodland camo, each in dominant blue or dominant grey colors. The blue digital camouflage uniform pattern was ultimately selected.
Officially called the Navy Working Uniform (NWU), the digital camouflage NWU is a more comfortable, longer-lasting working uniform made of nylon and cotton. The Navy Working Uniform takes the place of the shore and shipboard chambray shirt-dungaree working uniform, utilities, wash khaki, coveralls, woodland green, aviation green, winter working blue and tropical working uniforms. The normal wear life is designed to be up to 18 months, compared to wear life of six months for the previous working uniform.
The NWU camouflage design is not intended to obscure Sailors against the background of a ship. Instead, the multiple colors on the uniform - navy blue, deck gray, haze gray and black - are common in the Navy maritime working environment, making them a more practical choice than single color uniforms. In the complex pattern, a small spot or stain is unnoticeable. The NWU bears the Navy ACE (Anchor, Constitution, and Eagle) emblem, announced in 2004, on the left breast pocket (image, right).
A fielding schedule was approved by Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Mike Mullen on 3 March 2006. However, the schedule slipped twice. Officials had first hoped to have the new uniforms in exchanges "18-24 months" from Mullen's go-ahead, initially announcing that fielding would begin in the third quarter of FY2008 (ie, April-June 2008). But in late 2007, officials backed off that initial estimate and instead said uniforms would now be released to the fleet in winter 2008 and to Recruit Training Command in spring 2009.
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