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Uniform Matters

Attention to Detail

Top Five Mistakes Sailors are Making Wearing the Navy Working Uniform

Navy Photo

Graphic illustration by Willie Kendrick, Defense Media Activity - Navy.

In an effort to address concerns about the proper wear of the Navy Working Uniform (NWU), MCPON(AW/NAC) Mike Stevens is educating the fleet on the proper wear of the uniform. Below are the five most common mistakes made in wearing the NWU throughout the fleet and how to correct them according to NAVPERS 15665, U.S. Navy Uniform Regulations and NAVADMIN 366/11.

1. Improper Wear of Cover

WRONG: Rolling the brim, wearing the cover too high or too low, tilting to the side, or backwards.

RIGHT: The cap will be worn, forward, squarely on the head so the visor and headband are level to the deck and the visor is just above the eyes (NAVPERS 15665, Article 3603.1). Headgear shall fit snugly and comfortably around the largest part of the head without distortion, and no hair will show from under the front of the brim.

2. Incorrect Fit

WRONG: Shirts too big or too small, rolling sleeves too high or too low, or not wearing a belt.

RIGHT: Shirt length must extend to the bottom of the crotch, but not lower than the middle of the cargo pocket flap. No gapping at front of shirt as both sides of shirt opening must overlap. Sleeve cuff should cover the wrist bone, but not extend further than the first knuckle at the base of the thumb. Rolled sleeves should form a three-inch band with the cuff buttoned and fabric side out, positioned two inches above the elbow. All buttons and must be secured. Belt must go through all belt loops, and a plain buckle must align with the opening of the fly. A decorated buckle shall be worn centered.

3. Worn in Unauthorized Areas

WRONG: Inside the Pentagon, around the National Mall, or for commercial airline, train or bus travel.

RIGHT: Can be worn at all facilities on base, while commuting to and from work in a privately owned vehicle or public transportation, and on government-contracted flights to and from overseas locations (NAVPERS 15665, Article 3603). Can be worn for all normal tasks and associated stops before, during and after the workday. This includes stopping at child care, gas stations, off-base shopping, banking, DMV and dining. Can be worn by recruiters in malls, schools or other recruiting areas (NAVADMIN 366/11). The area or regional commander may further restrict uniform policy within their geographic limits.

NOTE: NWUs are not a liberty uniform. Consumption of alcohol in NWUs is not permitted.

4. Bad Blousing

WRONG: Pants unbloused, tucked into boots, or too high or too low.

RIGHT: NWU trousers should be worn with the belt at the waistline with legs long enough to touch the deck when not wearing boots. Use blousing straps and position the fold between the third and fourth eyelets on the boots (NAVPERS 15665, Article 3603.6).

5. Unauthorized Boots

WRONG: Anything other than the three types of authorized boots.

RIGHT: The only boots authorized for wear with the NWU are as follows. A black, plain, steel-toe smooth all-leather high-top (9-inch) safety boot with oil resistant rubber outsoles and speed-lace eyelet closures. A rough-out leather safety boot is authorized for Sailors at shore commands only. Bootlaces will be tucked in neatly (NAVPERS 15665, Article 3603.9). Also, Sailors whose primary duties are performed on the flight line and flight deck, and who are issued aviation flight deck boots as organizational clothing, are authorized to wear the flight deck boot with the NWU while commuting. The approved non-spark safety boot is a black, all leather (smooth), 8-inch boot with FOD outsole, lace-to-toe closure and steel safety toe (NAVADMIN 271/09).