USS JOHN C. STENNIS, At Sea -- Sailors aboard the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74) were selected to participate in a four-month evaluation of the new design for flight deck working uniform shirts, or "jerseys," in an effort to meet the long term needs of personnel who work on and around the flight deck.
The new jersey is designed to be moisture-wicking, more durable and have anti-microbial properties, as well as fire-retardant capabilities designed to protect the wearer from flash fires.
More than 650 Sailors received a set of five jerseys; each from a different manufacturer and made of different fabric. The jerseys are marked with the letters A, B, C, D or E to ensure the manufacturers of each jersey remain anonymous. Participants will wear and wash the jerseys in the same manner as their current jerseys and will complete surveys during the middle and end of the evaluation period.
"This is a great opportunity for Stennis and Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 9 Sailors to pave the way for the flight deck uniform of the future," said Master Chief Avionics Technician Mike Baker, CVW 9 maintenance master chief.
The new jerseys are almost identical in appearance to the current design with the exception of a new mock collar instead of the current full turtleneck collar. After wearing the jerseys for only a few days, many Stennis Sailors are already enjoying the change.
"I'm pretty excited so far," said Aviation Structural Mechanic 2nd Class William Marchand, from Greenbay, Wis. "The old ones [flight deck jerseys] were hot and tight. It's nice to have something much lighter and different."
"I'm excited about the changes," said Aviation Boatswain's Mate (Fuel) Airman Anjessica Graham, from Tampa Bay, Fla. "The other jerseys were too thick for hot weather and these are nice and thin."
Commander, Naval Air Forces, Atlantic (COMNAVAIRLANT) Force Master Chief Gary McClure agrees.
"This is a uniform that provides moisture management, it is comfortable, and it is flame resistant," said McClure. "This is an initiative that is long overdue. Twenty-first century Sailors deserve 21st century uniforms."
The U.S. Navy plans to conduct similar tests on other aircraft carriers in coming months, including the testing of new flight deck uniform trousers.
Both the jerseys and trousers are sewn by Ability One/National Industries for the Blind which supports job opportunities for people with disabilities.
The John C. Stennis Carrier Strike Group (JCSCSG), consisting of Stennis, CVW 9, Destroyer Squadron 21, and guided-missile cruiser USS Mobile Bay (CG 53) are forward deployed to the U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations to strengthen regional partnerships, sustain maritime security, and support combatant commander requirements for assets in the area.