The Scoop Deck

Navy Times preview: Unisex uniforms moving forward

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(Naval Academy photo via Facebook)

The wear test involving the Navy’s plans for unisex covers included female Naval Academy midshipmen. (Academy photo via Facebook)

The push for unisex uniforms is moving forward and led from the top — Navy Secretary Ray Mabus.

Mabus believes it’s time for female sailors — and Marines — to wear the same uniforms as their shipmates so as to better blend into today’s Navy, where women serve in fleet units and shouldn’t wear different covers and uniforms in formation.

“When we look out, we shouldn’t see male sailors or female sailors,” Mabus told Navy Times. “We ought to see sailors.”

Intended as a step to reduce discrimination against females in the Navy, the effort could also spell big changes for your seabag.

For exclusive details about the proposals, reactions of sailors who participated in the wear test, and what these changes will mean for you, pick up a copy of Navy Times on newsstands Monday, or check early next week.

Mabus weighs in on common covers in the following video, at the 3:07 mark.


Four wear Navy uniforms to Vegas porn expo, guardsman snaps pics

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A man in enlisted service dress blues gets his cover autographed at the Adult Entertainment Expo earlier this month in Las Vegas. He wasn’t the only one who attended the event in what appeared to be full Navy uniform. (Submitted photo)

Four men wearing enlisted service dress blues attended a Las Vegas expo filled with porn stars. And a Utah National Guardsman has the pics to prove it.

The picture-taker, a 29-year old specialist who requested his full name not be used and attended the event out of uniform, said he was in the crowd Jan. 19 at the Adult Entertainment Expo at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino when he noticed the quartet.

“There’s something wrong with these pictures,” said the tipster who sent the above image — and other pictures, including some less suitable for publication. “It’s awesome that these [adult film stars] support [the military], but that’s not what the uniform’s for.”

The uniform-wearers aren’t sporting name tags or command tabs in any of the photos, but at least two have ribbon racks. One wears the rating badge of an information systems technician third class; another, with a ribbon rack three rows deep, wears an E-5 badge — possibly of a fire controlman, but the picture’s not focused on his sleeve.

And neither was anybody else.

One photo shows the four men standing behind three porn stars — one man, two women in lingerie — at an autograph table, all signing what appear to be “Dixie cup” covers. One of the actresses is wearing a Dixie cup.

Other photos show the covers with multiple signatures of adult-film stars — names like Lexi Belle and Jessica Andrews that you probably shouldn’t put into a web search engine during business hours.

“That was kind of a red flag,” the guardsman said of the hat autographs. “I mean, you have to go out wearing those again. What are you doing?”

Another photo shows one of the uniformed men with his arm around another actress, wearing an unautographed Dixie cup along with a white corset and a short black skirt. Promotional posters are visible in the background of many of the pictures, featuring partially and/or completely naked porn stars.

The guardsman said he noticed the men were wearing the wristbands given to the rest of the general-admission attendees, which made it clear to him they weren’t special guests, or possibly stars promoting an adult film with a prior-service, detail-oriented costume department.

“They waited in line like everybody else,” said the tipster, who spoke with other out-of-uniform military people — in service and retired — in attendance who expressed similar amazement. “These guys know they’re not supposed to be here [in uniform].”

Under DoD Instruction 1334.1, service members are prohibited from wearing the uniform in situations “when wearing of the uniform may tend to bring discredit upon the Armed Forces.” Even former service members are restricted to wearing their old uniforms to “military funerals, memorial services, weddings and inaugurals,” as well as “patriotic parades” involving military units.

As our resident legal expert put it when asked in a February 2012 column, “If you even need to think of the question, don’t wear your uniform.”

The photographer said such apparent disregard for uniform codes prompted him to submit his pictures, not some notion of service rivalry: “It was no grudge against any branch. It didn’t matter. It was just the uniform.”

If the uniform-wearers are active-duty sailors, do they deserve to be punished? Is this guardsman just out to smear the Navy? Would wearing a uniform to this event be worse than wearing it to a political gathering or a protest march, events specifically listed as off limits in the DoD instruction?

Leave your thoughts below. Please don’t bring discredit upon anybody.

New crackerjacks approved!

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The wait is over: New crackerjacks are coming.

The Navy’s top officer has approved the long awaited overhaul of the iconic dress uniform, a modernization that officials say will make them more comfortable and functional. Both dress whites and dress blues, worn by E-6 and below, have been updated after a six year trial-and-error effort.

Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Jon Greenert “has approved the revised designs for the service dress blues and the service dress whites,” Rear Adm. Tony Kurta, director of military plans and personnel for the chief of naval personnel, said in a May 17 interview. “With the crackerjacks, it has been a long road, and that is for good reasons. We did multiple wear tests. We did tests of both different designs and differing materials.”

This is the first update for dress whites — worn by all sailors, with women wearing the combination cover instead of a “Dixie Cup” ­— since World War II. The uniform takes cues from full dress whites, a version of crackerjacks phased out in 1940.

The new whites now 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, just like the dress blues. The look of the dress blues, worn solely by male sailors, won’t change considerably. But the wear may be different. For one, getting in and out of the pants just got much faster — a zipper has been installed in the front, rendering the 13 buttons a purely decorative element. Two front pockets are on both sides of the zipper. No changes have been made to the female service dress blues, which has a white shirt and black tie underneath a black coat, in lieu of a jumper.

To see the new uniforms and their features, pick up a copy of the May 28 Navy Times on newsstands now. Or you can subscribe here.