By MC1 Amanda Dunford, U.S. Pacific Fleet Public Affairs
Sailors stationed in Bahrain, Guam and Hawaii are wearing the Lightweight Navy Working Uniform (LNWU) Type I as part of an eight-week conformance test focusing on performance, durability and appearance.
More than 230 Sailors received two prototype versions from May 28 to June 12. The uniforms have two different fabric configurations and include a front tab with rank insignia to identify the LNWU as a test version and will not be part of the final uniform design.
Sailors in warmer climates, who will remain at their command for more than a year, were chosen for the test.
“This is a really important step in the evolution of the lightweight NWU,” said U.S. Pacific Fleet Master Chief Marco Ramirez. “The direct feedback from these wear-testing Sailors will help determine the direction the Navy takes.”
Ramirez said it was important to be selective when choosing participants like security forces and shipboard Sailors to fit test the LNWU to get accurate results.
Although the conformance test is still in its infancy, Sailors are already feeling the difference.
“They’re [LNWU] more comfortable than the old ones,” said Seaman Autumn Cozzens aboard USS Chafee (DDG 90). “I’ve already noticed that they feel lighter and cooler when I’m working outside.”
Cozzens was also surprised with the durability of the LNWU and the ability to get paint out of her uniform without difficulty or color fading.
Logistics Specialist 2nd Class Christian Mountain, also assigned to Chafee, noted an improvement in the comfort of the LNWUs.
“They’re [LNWU] significantly lighter. I carry boxes all day, and it helps a lot because I can literally feel the breeze through the uniform when I’m outside,” he said.
Sailors will make daily log inputs in a user evaluation booklet and complete a questionnaire at the midpoint and conclusion of the wear test via an on-line survey and will be required to participate in a unit level focus group.
“I want to thank the Navy for listening. That’s part of how we grow and assess what’s not working,” Ramirez said. “We heard the Sailors and here’s what we’re doing to make it better. It’s a win-win for everybody.”
According to CNP, they expect to have a decision on the way ahead in early 2015. CNP is sponsoring the evaluation by the Navy Clothing and Textile Research Facility.