After years of struggling to justify its blue, black and gray uniform, the Navy is switching to a green pattern of camouflage — and it’s coming at a high price.
Phasing out the Navy Working Uniform Type I for the new Navy Working Uniform Type III will cost taxpayers $180 million dollars over five years, CNN reports.
Critics of the old color scheme, known as aquaflage or blueberries, argue that it doesn’t blend in with anything other than the ocean.
“The Navy ‘blueberries’ – I don’t know what the name is, that’s what sailors call them – the great camouflage it gives is if you fall overboard,” Navy Secretary Ray Mabus told reporters in 2013.
Other complaints about the NWU Type I include that it’s heavy and melts easily when exposed to heat.
Navy officials announced their decision to can the controversial duds in a statement earlier in August. Mabus said the move came after consistently hearing from sailors that a uniform change was necessary.
“They want uniforms that are comfortable, lightweight, breathable … and they want fewer of them. We have heard the feedback and we are acting on it. As a direct result of Sailors’ input, effective Oct. 1, we will transition from the NWU Type I to the NWU Type III as our primary shore working uniform,” Mabus said.
The Navy has used the NWU Type I since 2008. Prior to that, sailors wore either the woodland-patterned battle dress uniform, released in the 1980s, or the desert combat uniform, adopted in the early 1990s.
All sailors will be required to wear the NWU Type III by October of 2019 while serving ashore or in port.
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