Watch out matinee idols!

A classic never goes out of style, and a practical, yet elegant, move, the Navy has resurrected a classic. No, not the Arleigh Burke (DDG-51) — yet, (more on the possible demise of the costly and unstable Zumwalt class DDG-1000 in the future) but something simpler and less expensive — the service dress khaki uniform. Naval officers have bemoaned the demise of the dress khaki since it was scuttled under ’70s icon Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Elmo Zumwalt. Z-gram Man tossed the uniform overboard to lighten the seabag. But there was a problem: It left the fleet without togs comparable to the coat-and-tie uniforms of its sister services, service dress blues aside.

The Klassic Khaki will not replace any existing unforms but can be worn in place of service khaki and dress blues and whites. It allows officers and chief petty officers to move from service khaki to service dress khaki by tossing on a tie and jacket. This is one transformation we can understand. There are other changes afoot for Navy uniforms but none as remarkable as the return of this old friend.

One hundred lucky officers from Washington, D.C., to Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, are testing the uniform. Joint Chiefs Chairman (and former CNO) Adm. Mike Mullen himself has been sporting the fashion declaration. Our guess is the Navy will move forward. Everyone seems to be raving, though one news outlet found someone who actually called the uniform “too old-fashioned.” Old-fashioned? Does John Wayne ever go out of style? (We don’t care for the Duke, but he could wear a uniform!)

There already are shipboard shots of seafaring men on the decks of the high seas. Sexist? Definitely. But this throwback theme is a rare flash of brilliance for the sea service and might serve it well in overcoming recruiting and retention challenges. 

Recent Posts