The Navy has offered updates on a new utility boot for its sailors to wear, as well as a few other uniform tweaks that are meant to cut costs and simplify sea bags for sailors.
In a message released Tuesday, the Navy announced that sailors can now wear the black cold weather parka with their Type III Navy working uniforms in addition to the parka made of the same camouflage pattern as their uniforms. Also, the service is now letting women wear silver, white and yellow gold, white pearl and colorless diamond earrings with all uniforms.
The sea service also provided an update on the latest version of a utility boot that has been in testing since at least 2019. The "I-Boot 5" is an updated and improved version of the Navy's current utility boot -- the I-Boot 4. That version was rolled out in late 2018. Some version of the black, leather safety boots have been a staple of sailors' uniforms since the Navy rolled out the original, blue Navy working uniform in 2009. However, the old versions have been plagued with manufacturing defects, poor reliability and complaints about their comfort.
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The Navy said it has been issuing the latest boot version to sailors in boot camp, starting in October, and it will be available for purchase in the fleet starting in January. Sailors will be able to wear it "in multiple Navy environments and weather conditions afloat, airborne, and ashore."
Another change announced in the message was the phasing-out of serial numbers on the badges worn by members of the Naval Security Forces. Sailors who still have a four-digit, alphanumeric serialized badge can keep wearing it until they are "honorably discharged or retired from the Navy."
The Navy also forecasted some changes that are being worked on for future updates.
The message said the Navy is working on an improved black fleece liner -- a garment that sailors either wear by itself or underneath their Type III parka.
There were also several updates on efforts to make women's uniforms fit more comfortably. An improved maternity service dress blue coat is expected to be released in the summer of 2023, and the Navy is developing two, new "over blouse concepts" for women in conjunction with its efforts to make uniforms fit better for all sailors. That effort, the message noted, is currently focused on "female slacks, skirts, and shirts and blouses."
-- Konstantin Toropin can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @ktoropin.
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