NORFOLK -- Sailors aboard multipurpose amphibious assault ship USS Bataan (LHD 5) received their Flame Resistant Variant (FRV) coveralls Jan. 15, while also preparing for their upcoming deployment. Bataan Sailors will be the first in the fleet to wear the FRV coveralls, which are provided by the Navy at no cost to the Sailors. They will replace Navy Working Uniform (NWU) Type I and other polyester and poly blend uniforms while ships are underway. The NWUs will no longer be authorized for wear while underway, except for special events such as manning the rails, change of commands, or receptions held at anchor. "I'm excited about being the first to receive the new coveralls," said Aviation Electrician's Mate 2nd Class Collin Peskett, of Long Island, N.Y. "Tests on these new uniforms have been performed for our safety and safety is paramount, especially since we are deploying soon."
The FRV coverall is made from 100% cotton fabric treated with a flame retardant chemically bonded into the fibers of the fabric. FRVs passed all flame and flash-fire testing requirements and the flame resistant properties did not degrade with wear or laundering for the serviceable life of the coverall. They use the same design pattern as the existing utility coveralls Sailors have in their uniform sea bag.
The new coveralls are expected to maintain performance properties, durability and appearance for typical deployments of six to nine months, with an optimal wear life of 18-24 months. Like other organizational clothing, the FRV coveralls will be replaced by each ship over time, based on normal wear and tear. "The new coveralls are a big step for us," said Command Master Chief Kevin Goodrich, the ship's senior enlisted crew member. "All Sailors are fire fighters first, and now with everyone wearing these uniforms, our response time will be even faster in the event of an onboard emergency."
FRV coveralls will not be worn in place of organizational clothing mandated for specific operational environments such as flight decks or while performing work on electrical systems requiring arc-flash protection. Name tags and rank on the FRV coverall will consist of a Velcro-backed name tag and metal collar devices already used on other uniforms. Command ball caps are also authorized for wear with the FRV. "With the shipboard environment that contains certain inherent risks, this is a step in the right direction towards the safety of our Sailors," said Capt. George J. Vassilakis, commanding officer aboard USS Bataan. "Sailors are our number one asset and we are always looking for ways to improve their safety. I'm excited this comes at no cost to our Sailors."