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New flame-proof coveralls are rushing to the fleet.
Every fleet sailor will get two sets of these new flame-resistant variant coveralls as part of the latest rollout plan that begins in December, when the first sets reach sailors’ hands.
Commands about to deploy will get them first, such as the Bataan amphibious ready group and the George H.W. Bush carrier strike group.
These coveralls, which can stand up to a blaze, will become the fleet’s new standard garb — worn aboard ship and underway.
“Our sailors’ safety is our primary concern here,” said Adm. Bill Gortney, the head of Fleet Forces Command, who has been a driving force behind the accelerated design and rollout. “If you’re onboard a ship and a fire breaks out, you rush to that scene, you escape that scene or you’re assisting a shipmate in whatever you’re wearing. And so this fills in that particular need. You combine this with our existing flash hoods and gloves and you tuck your leg pants in ... it will provide the fire-resistant capability that we think is needed.”
Don’t worry, you won’t be buying your own set. This is organizational clothing that will be issued by your command, according to the new fielding and wear rules issued Oct. 24 by Gortney and his Pacific Fleet counterpart, Adm. Harry Harris.
The one-piece garment, unveiled in August, is a hybrid of the utility coverall design and the damage control coveralls fabric worn in repair lockers. It is a darker blue than the utility coveralls, as its lacks the polyester fibers that glitter and give the utility coveralls a lighter color.
The fabric is 100 percent cotton treated with flame-resistant coating, a combination that can protect its wearer’s skin from a blaze. In one test, engineers exposed the fabric to a 3-second blast of robust flames and then examined heat sensors on the mannequin underneath. They revealed that the fabric “self-extinguished” and protected the skin from severe burns. The experiment goes far beyond the typical flame test, where a strip of fabric is exposed to a lighter’s flame for 12 seconds and then is observed.
In fact, it was this flame test a year ago that revealed the NWU was vulnerable to melting in a fire, a revelation that shocked wearers from the deck plate to the highest rungs of the Navy. It prompted the fleet commanders to convene exhaustive uniform reviews, whose findings led officials to rapidly field flame-resistant coveralls.
Check the upcoming issue of Navy Times for exclusive photos of the new uniform and how it will be worn, as well as more details about the fielding plan and how this overhaul could impact other uniforms.