The U.S. Navy announced last week that it will transition from the Navy Working Uniform (NWU) Type I to the NWU Type III as the primary shore working uniform. The change will happen over the next three years, beginning Oct. 1, 2016.
Introduced in 2008, the groundbreaking NWU Type I –widely known as “aquaflage” or “blueberries”–employed a blue and gray version of the digital Marine Pattern or MARPAT camouflage, and was intended for both shore and shipboard wear by both enlisted and officers. The camouflage colors were based on the most widely used paint colors employed by the Navy, the reasoning being that the camouflage would hide paint stains as well as the usual stains acquired by working uniforms during the normal course of duty.
The 50/50 nylon/cotton material used in the NWU Type I uniforms, however, was found to be highly flammable, melting or burning when exposed to flames. Shipboard use was therefore restricted to in-port periods.
The NWU Type III employs a digital woodland camouflage scheme. It was developed for special operations and expeditionary warfare personnel. It will be worn as the primary shore uniform.