All East and West Coast Navy ship crews are slated to receive the two-piece, flame retardant uniform the service has billed as the “primary at-sea” option by next year, officials confirmed.
The Navy created the uniform, known as the 2-Piece Organizational Clothing uniform, or 2POC, as an adaptable option for multiple working conditions — including surface ships, submarines and flight decks — that is also approved for use while commuting and off base.
The Navy started distributing the uniforms in December 2022 to U.S. Fleet Forces units, including the aircraft carrier Gerald R. Ford. Now, 50% of east coast ships have been issued the 2POC, according to Lt. Cmdr. Mary Sanford, a spokeswoman for Fleet Forces Command.
“The distribution is based on priority lists provided by each type commander,” Sanford said in an email to Navy Times. “These lists take into account the unit’s operational and maintenance schedules. U.S. Fleet Forces expects to outfit all east coast ships by Spring of 2024.”
Additionally, nearly half of all orders for the uniform have gone to West Coast ships, and U.S. Pacific Fleet anticipates that all west coast ships will receive the 2POC by fall 2024.
Like their East Coast brethren, distribution is based on priority lists provided by each type commander and factor in the unit’s operational and maintenance schedules, Hough said.
The uniform features a tri-fiber blend and flame resistant fabric that equivalent to the flame resistance found in the Improved Fire Retardant Variant uniform, per a Fleet Forces Command internal message Navy Times obtained last year.
Every sailor aboard surface ships and submarines will receive at least two sets of the 2POC, along with an additional set for deployment. The uniforms are distributed to sailors free of charge, just like the Improved Fire Retardant Variant uniform.
But unlike that variant uniform, sailors will be able to wear the 2POC while running off-duty errands like stopping at child care or gas stations.
Sailors E-6 and below wear a blue version of the 2POC uniform, while E-7 sailors and above, as well as officers, wear a khaki version.
Sailors may wear the Navy Working Uniform fleece liner and command ball caps with the 2POC, and may pair it with flight deck jerseys, according to the Navy. Brown undershirts and a black rank tab are worn with both blue and khaki options.
The Navy’s search for a flame-retardant uniform like the 2POC kicked off in 2012, after a report determined the Type I Navy Working Uniform, known as “blueberries” or “aquaflauge” was highly flammable.
Since then, the service has introduced non-flammable options including the the Fire Retardant Variant, the Improved Fire Retardant Variant, and the Type III Navy Working Uniform. The “blueberries” haven’t been in use since 2019.