October 26, 2010:
U.S. Navy sailors think their new work uniform is silly. It consists of shirt and pants in a gray, blue and black camouflage pattern [PHOTO]. Most sailors will be wearing the work uniform while on a ship. What's the point of camouflage there? This has at least led to some entertaining humor. For example, sailors call the new camouflage "Aquaflage" and try to find some purpose in it. Some believe it's a cost saving measure, since if you fall overboard while wearing it there's little chance you'll ever be seen in the water, so there's no need to turn the ship around to try and find you. Along those lines, some believe that if you fall overboard, the aquaflage will make it more difficult for any sharks to spot you (actually, sharks detect prey via smell, not sight, but no matter.)
Ultimately, aquaflage came along because of the herd instinct. In the last decade, all the services have gotten new camouflage uniforms, or gotten them for the first time. Even the air force had a blue type camouflage pattern. The admirals felt compelled to replace the traditional (and popular) dungarees and blue work shirt with the much less popular aquaflage. For more formal occasions, junior enlisted sailors are still allowed to wear a khaki shirt and black pants (an arrangement the U.S. Marine Corps has made famous). The navy "dress blues" remain unchanged.
After aquaflage was introduced, the navy brass, bowing to loud and sustained complaints, agreed to allow sailors living off base, on their way home from work, to get out of their vehicles to perform short errands (picking up dry cleaning, groceries, day care, and so on), while wearing the new navy work uniform. Prior to this, navy personnel were forbidden from leaving their vehicles while outside the base, and wearing the work uniform. While sailors appreciate being allowed to get out of their cars on the way home work, most would prefer to do it while wearing the traditional dungarees and blue work shirt.