Me in my FWU’s as a LT on USS Hue City CG-66 off Crete July 2002
We in the Mid-Atlantic Region of the Navy have now transitioned to our summer uniforms. I’ve talked in depth about the NWU or Navy Working Uniform which is now an all year working uniform. While this is not the most traditional Naval uniform, we do still maintain some traditions. Both enlisted sailors and officers still have white uniforms for the summer. Enlisted in the pay grades E1-E6 wear the Service Dress White, or the Cracker Jack uniform for Dress occasions. A new service uniform which looks similar to the Marine Corps Charlies with black versus olive green trousers is replacing the short sleeve summer white and long sleeve Winter and Working Blues. So for the enlisted the Cracker Jack remains for dress occasions, the Summer Dress White and Service Dress Blue for summer and winter respectively.
Navy Chiefs and Officers have three, make that four variations of whites. We have the Summer Dress White which is short sleeve, Service Dress White, which is the choker jacket worn with ribbons. The Full Dress White, which is the same with large medals and ribbons as well as white gloves. Lastly there is the seldom worn Tropical White which includes shorts and knee socks, a very colonial British look if you ask me, though the thought of the sun maybe reaching my legs and allowing them to tan while I am at work is an interesting thought. Since when summer hits I normally am in shorts almost every day when not in uniform, I think shorts with the Whites would work fine here.
However, here lies the problem. White is white and it is nearly impossible to keep clean. If you sneeze and blow a huge luggie that ends up on them, it will be seen. If your coffee is too hot and some drips on the uniform, it too will be seen. Please do not even think about trying to eat a chili dog, wings or ribs in any of these uniforms. If you end up making a splort on them it will be there for all too see and someone will be asking who the homeless dude masquerading as Captain Stubing from the Love Boat is. So when wearing any of these summer uniforms caution is required, and if you are eating, probably a bib. However I am not sure if Naval Uniform Regulations permit you to sport a bib or not. I suppose that if it was a Go Navy bib it might be okay, but otherwise I believe that it would be frowned upon as violating the decorum of the Wardroom.
Additionally, every time I wear this uniform I can hear the theme from the movie Top Gun playing in my head. I’m sure that my dear Judy would kill me of I were to walk up to her in a bar or Officer’s Club singing You’ve lost that Lovin’ Feelin.’ Neither the humor or the singing would be appreciated as I think that they should be. Likewise every time that I wear this uniform, especially when I was serving with the Marines I can almost hear Colonel Nathan R Jessup (Jack Nicholson) of A Few Good Men snear at me and say:
“You see Danny, I can deal with the bullets, and the bombs, and the blood. I don’t want money, and I don’t want medals. What I do want is for you to stand there in that faggoty white uniform and with your Harvard mouth extend me some f**king courtesy. You gotta ask me nicely.” (sorry if anyone is offended by the language but it is the line from the movie and yes Marines can and do often talk that way, sometimes using the F-bomb as a noun, verb, adverb, adjective and sometimes even an action verb in past present and future tenses in the same sentence. After all I am sure that the Deity Herself will forgive them as she will have Marines stationed on post around the Pearly Gates.)
Thanks to Colonel Jessup I have thought of the Summer Whites as the Faggoty White Uniform or by the acronym FWU since I arrived at Camp LeJeune North Carolina in 1999. I figure now that we have the NWU this will work.
Today was my first chance to wear this uniform since last year. I have to admit that it looks pretty good on me, especially with my weight loss, which I do plan on maintaining and continuing. As I walked through the hall I could hear the Top Gun Theme going through my head and Colonel Jessup growling at me. When I was stationed with the Marines I would ask what uniform we might be wearing for a certain ceremony. If the answer was Your Summer White I would say, “Oh, the Faggoty White Uniform” often drawing looks of amazement and comments of “That’s really bad Chaplain,” followed by a laugh. Now I simply call them the FWU. Let’s keep things simple. As long as I don’t run into Colonel Nathan R Jessup anytime soon I should be okay, at least I am not scheduled to go to Gitmo anytime soon.
At the same time this is a classy uniform. Sorry to say, or beat the hell out of anything in the Army or Air Force inventory, and only is really outdone by the Marine Service Dress Blues. It is traditional. You can go to any Navy around the world and find a similar uniform. I find this kind of cool. I do like tradition and hope that the wear test of the Service Dress Khaki uniform is successful and that it will be brought back by the Navy.
So anyway, those are my thoughts about the uniform change. A final note. I went and saw the Tides tonight. They won their 9th straight beating the Durham Bulls 8-2 and moving into first place in the Southern Division of the International League.