01 July 2008

I hate new uniforms.

So while I was haze grey and underway, we heard that starting this summer some new uniforms were coming down the pipeline to replace some things in the enlisted sea bag. The new Navy Working Uniform (aka the Navy's Digi-cammies), a new all year working uniform (which looks very much like the Marine's Charlies), and finally a new PT Uniform.
Basically these are something completely different then what I was issued at boot camp and actually spent the first two weeks walking around Great Mistakes in. What I was issued was a heavy white cotton t-shirt that had the Navy crest on the front and on the back the work "NAVY" in a silver reflective screening. Then there was a pair of dark blue shorts. While the shirts came in sizes from extra small to extra large it always seemed as if the shorts ran from snug to "OH MY GOD ARE THOSE PAINTED ON" snug. Finally to top it all off we were given blue sweat pants and a blue hooded sweatshirt with "NAVY" on them as well. Overall these worked pretty well, but for the most part once I hit the fleet I dumped them to wear something that were a little more comfortable.
So it was with a little anger and surprise to see that Task Force Uniform brought out the idea of a PT uniform. I guess it was because the Army and Air Force were doing it. So to be part of the cool kid crowd we had to do it. This new uniform is composed of either a long sleeve t-shirt or short sleeve shirt, either a 6 inch long shorts or 8 inch long shorts (pant length), finally we have the option of buying socks that are either ankle highs or sneaker highs. All of these items are manufactured with the word "Navy" on them and finally with the sweat wicking that brands like "Underarmor" have. GROAN!
Roll out occurred near the end of my deployment and at my home base the uniforms showed up on the 1st of July. Being the proper thing as senior leadership, I went out and purchased the uniform components for myself at the local on base uniform shop. I started with just three long sleeve shirts and two pairs of shorts. I didn't buy either types of the socks since the socks look the same as most of the white athletic socks that I already have. After picking out the sizes that I should fit into walked up to the cash register and cashed out. Didn't really pay attention to the prices, stupid me. But just for those two pairs of shorts and the three long sleeve shirts I forked over seventy dollars! $70.00, what in god's name are the Navy Exchange (which is something comparable to a Target for you non-military folks reading this) and the United States Navy thinking!?!? Oh that is right, they probably aren't thinking and I was grumbling about this as I came into work the next day.
"Well that is why they have been beefing up your yearly clothing allowance the past couple of years"

that was the statement from one of the CPO's at my current command. I looked at him and rolled my eyes. My retort was a tactful that if it just costs me seventy dollars just to purchase enough of the PT uniform to get by a full wash cycle, then I won't be able to afford to purchase enough of the new cammies or working uniform components when they show up come October.
This is something like the third major uniform change that I have made since coming in to the Navy. The first one was getting rid of the older style dungarees and replaced with the new style utilities, the other was the addition of the coveralls to the sea bag. Each time I have seen a major uniform change I have also seen the costs spiral up to bring the sea bag back into regulation. I really don't know if I am going to be able to afford the next round of uniform changes when they bring out the cammies. Some one needs to stop the insanity!.

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