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Thread: New Crackerjacks Move Ahead

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    Administrator Mjölnir's Avatar
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    New Crackerjacks Move Ahead

    Navy Times: http://www.navytimes.com/story/milit...navy/21340721/

    The good news: Officials have the money for the long-awaited reboot of dress whites and dress blues.

    The bad news: The money isn't available until 2016.

    Money problems and a decision to roll-out new women's jumper-style dress blues in tandem with the men's have delayed the roll-out by a year for service dress blues; service dress whites will be delayed for two years.

    Men and women, E-6 and below, will be able to buy the service dress blues at the Navy Exchange in early 2016, said Capt. Janet Bristol, head of the Uniform Matters Office. The uniforms are likely to be issued to recruits beginning Oct. 1, 2016, the start of fiscal year 2017. Funding for the crackerjack whites is earmarked for fiscal 2017.

    "We are definitely going forward with it," she said in a recent interview. "We are still formalizing some of our final decisions on the timing and rollout schedule, but the funding is in place, the uniforms will be coming and I think the sailors will enjoy the new features."

    The dress blues sport sure-to-be popular updates like a front zipper on the trousers that renders the 13 buttons purely decorative, and a side zipper on the blouse. The dress whites are set for the largest redesign in decades and will have tailored cuffs and piping that matches the blues. But not all changes are being well-received: Many female sailors complain that the "Dixie cup" is easily stained by makeup and doesn't fit hair buns.

    Many male sailors said they are eager to check out out some of the new features, but not eager to cough up the money to buy a new uniform; a current set costs $87.54.

    The cost of the updated threads has not been determined, though Bristol said the new blues "will be a little bit more expensive than the current uniform because of the piping and zippers." The new crackerjacks will start as an optional uniform for sailors and then at some as yet undetermined date become required. That introductory phase can stretch as long as three years, and a longer transition would place less burden on the production schedule, Bristol said.

    On the other hand, leadership can expedite the requirement, which is a real possibility. The push for women to adopt the crackerjack style-jumper and the "Dixie cup" have been driven by Navy Secretary Ray Mabus, who wants more uniformity in the ranks.

    The male uniform designs were approved in May 2012 after eight years of tests and trials, but the cash-strapped service didn't have the funds for implementation. Officials kept the effort alive by launching a redesign of the female dress blues. About 30 women donned "Dixie cups" and crackerjacks for an initial three-week wear test in May 2014. Modifications were made based on their feedback, and about 275 women in Norfolk-area bases conducted a three-month wear test from November to January.

    The plan is to roll out the male and female SDBs together in 2016. Offering them first at the Navy Exchange allows the Defense Logistics Agency to enter production at a slow and steady pace, and then ramp up for the start of recruit issue later in the year, Bristol said

    'Worth the wait'

    The new side zippers will drive up the cost of the blouse but have been a huge hit. Taking off the blouse — an effort reminiscent of Houdini wrestling his way out of a straightjacket — is now done with ease thanks to the side zipper. The trousers also have a front zipper flanked by two pockets. The 13 buttons remain as a decorative element.

    Women are testing a front and side trouser zipper. Bristol said most women have preferred the side zipper. Navy Times has spoken with more than a dozen women whgo took part in the two wear tests, and their preferences have been split down the middle.

    Many women dislike the "Dixie cup" as compared with the bucket-style cover they currently wear. The majority of wearers give it a thumbs-down for a variety of reasons. Operations Specialist 3rd Class (SW/AW) Jasmica Harvey said she respects the women who fought long for equality in military service, but that recognition should not come at the expense of their contribution as females.

    "I look too much like one of the guys," the seven-year sailor said. "I understand the desire for uniformity, but something should make [us] stand out as females. The combination cover would be much better for this uniform."

    Air Traffic Controller Airman Maria Rios-Castaneda said the combination cover is better because it's dark brim hides the makeup stains that can be seen on the white sailor hat after only one wear. While it is washable, wearers wonder if the stains will fully come out of the white cloth. Other sailors said the "Dixie cup" does not fit right with hair buns.

    The uniform is another story. Air Traffic Controller 2nd Class (AW) Cheryl Ehrenfeld has a unique perspective on the fit of the service dress blues. As a member of the honor guard for seven months, she and other women wore the male uniform in the winter.

    "It wasn't near as comfortable as this," she said. In addition to the "vast improvement" provided by the zippers (she prefers the zipper in the front of the trousers), the female version is form-fitting. That is an improvement over initial tests, in which women found the uniform uncomfortable. Designers made "minor pattern adjustments" from those initial surveys, Bristol said.

    Those changes made a difference, sailors observed.

    "This uniform is very comfortable. More comfortable than the blazer that we had," Harvey said. "I don't like looking like a stewardess in the current uniform, but I definitely like this," she said, referring to the jumper-style top.

    Women sailors currently wear a white shirt and black tie underneath a suit-style coat, instead of a jumper.

    The new whites will mirror the blues in appearance: They feature a yoke around the chest and black piping on the back bib and along the tailored cuffs at the end of the sleeves. Two stars rest in the back bib's corners.

    Female wear testers said the they've gotten mostly positive feedback while wearing their prototype uniforms, especially among women. The wear testers have had to endure the occasional joke, and even a harsh look or two. More than one tester has been asked why she was wearing the male uniform.

    "There are some design features the fleet is going to enjoy," Bristol said. In addition to the side zipper, she continued, "The piping looks very sharp and will add layer of pride. It's going to be worth the wait."
    Last edited by Mjölnir; 04-26-2015 at 12:08 PM.
    The most important six inches on the battlefield ... is between your ears.

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    Having been fascinated by ships, my decision as an 18 year to not join the Navy was soley based on not wanting to wear that gay (acceptable PC description in 1987) Dixie Cup.

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    Administrator Mjölnir's Avatar
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    The cover (hat) like the bell bottoms have a functional purpose ... Visual appeal was not secondary benefit.
    The most important six inches on the battlefield ... is between your ears.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mjölnir View Post
    The cover (hat) like the bell bottoms have a functional purpose ... Visual appeal was not secondary benefit.
    Unfortunately, it's beaten into you in Middle School and High School that LOOKS mean everything. The words "functional" or "practical" weren't in our dictionary.

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    Quote Originally Posted by FLAPS, USAF (ret) View Post
    Unfortunately, it's beaten into you in Middle School and High School that LOOKS mean everything. The words "functional" or "practical" weren't in our dictionary.
    Two words:

    Parachute pants
    The most important six inches on the battlefield ... is between your ears.

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    Senior Member BURAWSKI's Avatar
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    I think the Navy has gone overboard on uniforms. Uniforms should not be a priority, and in this day and age there a lot more important things to focus on. Just a sign on how out of touch the Navy is when dealing with important issues that need addressing. Also, the constant changes to uniforms actually does nothing to help morale. How about sticking with a good uniform instead of making changes all the time.

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    Oh, where to start, with the (mostly non-politically correct) comments I want to make?

    The new side zippers will drive up the cost of the blouse but have been a huge hit. Taking off the blouse — an effort reminiscent of Houdini wrestling his way out of a straightjacket — is now done with ease thanks to the side zipper.
    Funny, back in my days, the ONLY people who had problems getting their jumpers off were the overweight sailors.....but I guess, if you have breasts, it might make it difficult?

    The trousers also have a front zipper flanked by two pockets. The 13 buttons remain as a decorative element.
    Quite honestly, the pictures they have in the article make it look stupid as hell. Same with the piping on the whites. Back in my day, sailors only had a problem with the 13 buttons when they were drunk, which we know NEVER happens in today's politically correct Navy, with their "liberty buddies", right? If you can't handle the buttons, do like they did, back in my day, and HAVE VELCRO SEWN ON!! And why in the world does EVERY SINGLE CNO feel they need to make their mark on the Navy, by changing the uniform standards??

    And don't get me started on how the Navy will force a change like this, then force the low-paid enlisted sailors to absorb the entire cost, by using the excuse, "That's why you get a uniform clothing allowance!" Um, NO....the UCA is for covering the cost of maintaining and replacing worn out uniforms, NOT for buying new uniforms, forced upon them by uncaring CNO's who care more about massaging their oversized egos, than taking care of their people! The Air Force does a major change of uniforms, they issue the first set(s) to their folks, so why can't the Navy?? (Yeah, ask me about being issued Utilities working uniforms in September of 80, only to have to replace them, ~15 months later, with Seafarers uniforms, even though the Utilities were still in respectable (and useable) shape. SMH)

    Many women dislike the "Dixie cup" as compared with the bucket-style cover they currently wear. The majority of wearers give it a thumbs-down for a variety of reasons. Operations Specialist 3rd Class (SW/AW) Jasmica Harvey said she respects the women who fought long for equality in military service, but that recognition should not come at the expense of their contribution as females.

    "I look too much like one of the guys," the seven-year sailor said. "I understand the desire for uniformity, but something should make [us] stand out as females. The combination cover would be much better for this uniform."
    Sounds like someone wants to be treated like "one of the guys", but not have to BE one of them! Someone should teach her a little bit about how, sometimes in the Navy, you give up personal preferences for 200+ years of tradition.

    Air Traffic Controller Airman Maria Rios-Castaneda said the combination cover is better because it's dark brim hides the makeup stains that can be seen on the white sailor hat after only one wear. While it is washable, wearers wonder if the stains will fully come out of the white cloth. Other sailors said the "Dixie cup" does not fit right with hair buns.
    While I can definitely understand their concern about stains not coming out of the material the Dixie Cups are made from (I was part of the Navy enlisted force that briefly lost use of command ballcaps, back in 1981....again, another CNO decision....and had to put up with replacing them on pretty much a weekly basis. Why? Ask any snipe. Oil, fuel, grease, etc, and a white hat, do NOT mix well!!).
    As far as your hair not fitting right under it? CHANGE YOUR HAIRSTYLE. Oh, I'm sorry....was that mean of me to say?? Once again, tradition trumps your comfort zone!

    Having been fascinated by ships, my decision as an 18 year to not join the Navy was soley based on not wanting to wear that gay (acceptable PC description in 1987) Dixie Cup.
    Sorry, Flaps, but I'm going to ping on you, and your Air Force, by stating two points:
    1. Swishy Air Force PT pants (you know what I'm talking about, don't you? SWISH SWISH SWISH!! LOL)
    2. Navy tradition, still 4 times older than Air Force traditions.

    Okay, I'm done being a Neanderthal now.
    Last edited by Salty Old Dog; 05-08-2015 at 02:16 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Salty Old Dog View Post

    Sorry, Flaps, but I'm going to ping on you, and your Air Force, by stating two points:
    1. Swishy Air Force PT pants (you know what I'm talking about, don't you? SWISH SWISH SWISH!! LOL)
    2. Navy tradition, still 4 times older than Air Force traditions.

    Okay, I'm done being a Neanderthal now.
    Yeah, unfortunately when I enlisted in 1987 there was no such thing as "swishy Air Force PT pants," otherwise I might have joined the USMC. I guess you can call it a "bait and switch," where the AF waited for me to sign the dotted line before pussifying themselves more than they already were.

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    Senior Member Rusty Jones's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FLAPS, USAF (ret) View Post
    Yeah, unfortunately when I enlisted in 1987 there was no such thing as "swishy Air Force PT pants," otherwise I might have joined the USMC. I guess you can call it a "bait and switch," where the AF waited for me to sign the dotted line before pussifying themselves more than they already were.
    Having been active duty Navy and now Air Force Reserve, one thing I can say about tradition is that all too often, the aesthetics of tradition become a priority over practicality. That said, I can actually appreciate the fact that the Air Force is young enough to not have traditions that serve as inhibitors. Well, except one - blue things on a camoflauge uniform, and enlisted ranks on the sleeves of said uniform. Supposedly, the Air Force won't adopt the Army's new OCP uniform because you can't put enlisted ranks on the sleeves. But that's for another thread.

    As far as the "swishy" PT uniform, mine isn't swishy. They actually improved the fabric so that it's no longer swishy. Some people still have the swishy PT uniform, but they haven't been on the shelves at Military Clothing Sales since before I came in almost a year ago.
    "Well... Uber's going to "driverless" cars soon, and their research probably shows that they're a natural fit (when it comes to getting paid for doing nothing)."
    -Rainmaker, referencing black males

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rusty Jones View Post
    Having been active duty Navy and now Air Force Reserve, one thing I can say about tradition is that all too often, the aesthetics of tradition become a priority over practicality. That said, I can actually appreciate the fact that the Air Force is young enough to not have traditions that serve as inhibitors. Well, except one - blue things on a camoflauge uniform, and enlisted ranks on the sleeves of said uniform. Supposedly, the Air Force won't adopt the Army's new OCP uniform because you can't put enlisted ranks on the sleeves. But that's for another thread.

    As far as the "swishy" PT uniform, mine isn't swishy. They actually improved the fabric so that it's no longer swishy. Some people still have the swishy PT uniform, but they haven't been on the shelves at Military Clothing Sales since before I came in almost a year ago.
    The swishy pants went away a few years before I retired from active duty, so that was a good change. What pissed me off was, at the time of the change I only owned the old style PT jacket and was told when I bought the new PT pants I was not allowed to wear them with the old jacket. For an O-4, I could afford it ($60+). For an E-3, not so much. Dumb rule.

    As for stripes on sleeves, it was nice to not have to be within 1-2 feet of a CMSgt before I realized who I was approaching.

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