FN Herstal

More Info on NWU Type II / III

We had planned on waiting until the CNO chopped on an instruction for the new Navy Working Uniforms Type II / III until we wrote anything more on them, but our friends at KitUp! got a chance last week to speak with the CNO about these new uniforms. This of course unleashed a torrent of emails and phone calls asking us what we knew about the program.

Despite the lack of formal paperwork new Navy uniforms are being procured and fielded. What’s more, they will soon be seen in a combat zone near you.

Naval Special Warfare operations and direct support personnel already have a combat uniform in both AOR I & II in the form of the SOCOM issued PCU Level 9 which began fielding over a year ago. Additionally, they will now have the NWU Type II & III for use based on mission profile as well as for garrison and limited training use. These are supplied by the Navy and are the same uniforms that all Sailors who have traditionally worn cammies will now wear. For the most part, this means NSW and Naval Expeditionary Combat Command but there will also be some additional personnel who will wear these uniforms based on duty position and or mission.

There were two versions of the NWU II / III in test. While there had been rumor of a near mutiny over the uniform’s features, a selection was made. Version 2 won out and it is the more “combat” oriented style of the two. The biggest compromise in the design is the inclusion of straight chest pockets but the flaps are tapered. As you can see from these drawings released last year by the uniform task force, they include features now considered standard in many commercial tactical clothing designs but lacking in other government issue uniforms. Of course the exception to this is the PCU level 9 and you can see some inspiration from that uniform in this new NWU style. The two uniforms are quite complimentary. This design is locked in, at least for the time being, and as quickly as these are being produced, even if any changes were to be made, they wouldn’t make it into the field for some time.

(Click on photos to enlarge)

Even though it doesn’t seem like it, production and issue is moving rapidly. All Navy personnel authorized to wear the NWU Type III should have their uniforms by the end of calendar year 2011 including reserves. Wear of the current Camouflage Utility Uniform is slated to end in the Spring of next year. Remember, for many years before the GWOT the standard garrison and deployed uniform for Naval Expeditionary forces was woodland cammies or CUU. Concentration on the Type III makes sense as the majority of these personnel will be based in or deployed to wooded or jungle environments where that pattern is most appropriate. A desert pattern is truly expeditionary in nature.

The only real question at this point is which desert pattern will the Navy adopt as a service? Our bet is on AOR I for the desert pattern for all Naval expeditionary personnel (including Spec War) if for no other reason than dollars. It is simply cheaper to put everyone in the same pattern. Early on, there may have been a question about whether NSW’s desert uniforms would be paid for by SOCOM or Navy but at this point the funding lines have been drawn by uniform type. SOCOM pays for the Combat uniform and Navy pays for the Field uniform. Combat uniforms only go to NSW, field uniforms (Type II / III) go to all Expeditionary forces including NSW.

Uniformity in pattern would be nice as well. Why have two versions of the NWU Type II? There’s so much bleed over between NSW and the rest of the Navy’s expeditionary force that they often work together. Why give the enemy the advantage of figuring out who is what, based on their clothing? One of the reasons that a Navy Instruction still hasn’t been released for the new NWU variants is most likely the question of desert camouflage and the future of the NWU Type II.

We also had a couple of other points that we wanted to address.

At some point in this article we had to shoot-in-the-face the rumors that the reason the Navy did not adopt AOR 1 for all expeditionary personnel was that the Marines told them they couldn’t use it. We have no idea where it originated but it is utter nonsense.

Additionally, we have no word yet on issue of additional organizational clothing such as hats, gloves and foul weather gear.

Finally, the Anchor Constitution and Eagle emblem embedded in the NWU blue camouflage has also been embedded in both AOR 1 & 2 patterns for these new uniforms.

9 Responses to “More Info on NWU Type II / III”

  1. Victor says:

    I am glad the uniforms are finally coming but I do have some reservations about the issuance of them and accessories. We have been told in the NCF that no uniforms will be avalible in the Uniform Shop that they will all be issued. Sounds great on paper but in reality its just another headache. What happens when joe Seabee loses his cover? It happens. Does he go to supply and request another? Well the answer maybe yes but its doesnt work that way, joe Seabee would not get a cover anytime soon and he would have his rear handed to him over the loss of a hat. Something that he would probably replace on his own for $7.50 and be wearing the next day instead of getting his rear end chewed off and waiting a month.

    I have real heart ache about how this uniform program was handled, the USN seemes to be hell bent on pushing out a new uniform based upon what? The fact that the other services have new uniform? They could have adopted a uniform similar to the USCG (the style and colors are allready produced) and been done with it. But we spend close to two million taxpayer dollars for what a camoflauge uniform whos stated purpose is to hide stains and tears? I am refering to the NWU type 1 the blue ones.

    Lets talk about accessories like foul weather gear etc. Do the readers honestly think that we the sailor will be provide a goretex set of trousers to go with our goretex jacket anytime soon? Hell no well be lucky to get boots within the next year. They just released a message concering NWU type one goretex trouser almost two years after the release of the NWU type one. If you think I am going to get goretex trousers before a Afghan deployment for this new uniform you are high.

    Why all the griping in my comments you ask? I am a professional, responsible sailor who takes my job of supporting the people who put bullets into bad dudes seriously. I have written I dont know how many point or talking papers to my various CoC with not a single response concerning uniform and gear features, use, and issuance and think its about time others take notice and push for continued positve changes in the way we do things in the Navy. We really need to look hard at pipe dream stuff proposed because on paper it works in reality most of the time it does not.

  2. Riceball says:

    One good thing, from what I can tell, is that it sounds like they’re doing away with that DCU only for non NSW types deployed in deserts. I thought that was one of the dumbest things ever and a giant waste of money.

    I still have to wonder why 3 different types of work uniforms though? Why not just ditch the NWU I, which has been receiving a lot of ridicule anyway, and just issue the type III to everybody as standard; a woodland pattern ought to do a decent enough job at hiding grease and some paint. As it stands, I sort of feel sorry for SEALs and the like who will, upon graduating boot camp, get issued all of their dress and service uniforms, the NWU I, and if there’s a gap between when they graduate boot camp and go through BUDs there’s the possibility of adding NWU II &/or III to their sea bag, and then once they get their Trident they’ll get yet another set of uniforms for their sea bags. But then again, after getting their Tridents I suppose that they’ll never wear their NWUs ever again.

  3. Johnny Wad says:

    Reading the article it looks like SEALs will wear the type 2 and 3 uniforms.

  4. Johnny B says:

    Not to steer too far off course, but any details yet on who’s submitted patterns for the UCP replacement and what those patterns are?

  5. FormerDirtDart says:

    Johnny B
    Final solicitation for the Army’s Camouflage Improvement Effort hasn’t been released yet. Last I heard was, expected around April 1st (which is kind of ironic)

  6. Johnny B says:

    FDD – Thanks. Yeah, I know it was pushed back to the symbolic and wholly appropriate date, just didnt know if anyone had heard who had already dropped their pattern in the hat.

  7. GERMANaa gUNn says:

    I’m just waiting to get my hands on some NWU 2/3’s.
    gotta have dat aor.

  8. Jason says:

    Great article. However, RADM Cellon told me that the CNO and the Commandant were at odds over the NWU II. He told me this in 2009 in Iraq. Therefore, I do believe the USMC has issue with Navy wearing the MARPAT pattern, or one close to it. The multiple uniforms are getting out of hand, though. It just isn’t uniform!

  9. Johnny B says:

    Jason – As you know, camo is cool. And everybody wants to be cool…