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Daily wear - Work Dress vs Operational dress [Split from Sleeves up]

cld617

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Pusser said:
I don't necessarily disagree with what you're saying, but that is the way it was.

History is riddled with poor ideas we've since progressed away from.
 

Navy_Pete

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Pusser said:
I don't necessarily disagree with what you're saying, but that is the way it was.  In many ways though, we've gone to the opposite extreme and there is room walk back the jackstay somewhat.  I will also point out that most of us had extra service dress (No. 3) that we only wore on board (especially whites) because it was stained and damaged.  The EO and CERA always wore white coveralls  when they went down in the spaces.

Going down into the engine room in No 3s as EO is where I almost fell down the ladder from the top; had a discussion with the XO after that and unless I was doing some ceremonial or something I was in NCDs.

I don't see that particular jackstay being walked back; everyone working on the ship should wear NCDs. Officers etc wearing No 3s is a throwback to the upstairs/downstairs culture, and that encourages cabin commandos everytime there is a store ship or similar evolution. That's definitely noticed, and gets people grumbling pretty quick. Crews are getting smaller, which requires a lot more egalitarian division of labour, and people to pick up after themselves. On the really small ships, that includes doing your own dishes and cleaning stations.

NCDs are comfortable, look pretty good and serve a genuine safety purpose on a ship. To repurpose a retired trope, anyone who thinks they are too good to wear it on a day to day work on a ship should probably just get a civie job somewhere where they can dress up nice in an office.
 

ballz

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Navy_Pete said:
Officers etc wearing No 3s is a throwback to the upstairs/downstairs culture

That's all I could think of reading this No 3s for POs and up stuff while on a ship. From an outsider's perspective, the Navy officers seem to love this kind of stuff.

I can't imagine going to Battalion wearing anything but combats... besides the fact that even in garrison I would on many occasions sporadically hop in a truck or LAV and go to the field for a recce or something... I'm just picturing myself walking into the company lines or the LAV barn (which numerous a day) wearing 3s of any variety... :boke:
 

Navy_Pete

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It's weird because the type that is typically all for this revival overlaps with the 'What would Nelson Do' crowd.  Pretty sure he didn't lose and arm and an eye by not leading from the front. It's a pretty small but vocal crowd, but normally a non issue unless they are part of the Command triad.
 

Halifax Tar

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Navy_Pete said:
It's weird because the type that is typically all for this revival overlaps with the 'What would Nelson Do' crowd.  Pretty sure he didn't lose and arm and an eye by not leading from the front. It's a pretty small but vocal crowd, but normally a non issue unless they are part of the Command triad.

I would concur with your above post.
 

Jarnhamar

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I think officers wearing No 3 all day every day would look smart and dashing. Mess kit should be worn over lunch as well.
 

FSTO

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Halifax Tar said:
How long ago did you last sail ?  I've been at sea on HMC ships since 2001 and I have never seen an EO or CERA in coveralls let alone white ones.

I was on both coasts from 1990-1996. 3Bs for officers alongside, tunic for OOD. Work got done, ships didn't burn to the waterline, and ship's company turned to when required. As a subbie we'd change into that era's version of NCD's to store ship etc. The EO certainly did wear white coveralls.

When I came back to the fleet in 1999, things had not really changed (except for the EO no longer wearing white coverall.)

Went back ashore in 2004 and when I came back in 2013 that was the big change to nothing but NCD's alongside.
 

Underway

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FSTO said:
I was on both coasts from 1990-1996. 3Bs for officers alongside, tunic for OOD. Work got done, ships didn't burn to the waterline, and ship's company turned to when required. As a subbie we'd change into that era's version of NCD's to store ship etc. The EO certainly did wear white coveralls.

When I came back to the fleet in 1999, things had not really changed (except for the EO no longer wearing white coverall.)

Went back ashore in 2004 and when I came back in 2013 that was the big change to nothing but NCD's alongside.

When I started OOD was in 3's.  Berets were to be worn as going out dress with NCD's.  Now NCD's and ballcaps everywhere.  Aside from comfort responding to a fire in proper dress was the death to 3's aboard (along with beards at sea...).  I have no issues with this.  There are no good work reasons for dress to be 3's onboard and plenty of good work related reasons for NCD's.
 

dimsum

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Underway said:
Aside from comfort responding to a fire in proper dress was the death to 3's aboard (along with beards at sea...).

I also saw OODs in 3s and thought that considering they're potentially the first people into a fire, wearing polyester was incredibly stupid. 
 

Pusser

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Jarnhamar said:
I think officers wearing No 3 all day every day would look smart and dashing. Mess kit should be worn over lunch as well.

Don't be silly.  Mess dress is evening wear - only worn after 1800.

Kidding aside, back in the day when all single officers* generally lived on board their ships, officers wore mess undress for dinner every evening, unless they were attending a formal event ashore immediately following dinner, in which case, they could wear mess dress.

*Only the older officers (e.g. CO/XO) tended to be married.
 

Pusser

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Halifax Tar said:
How long ago did you last sail ?  I've been at sea on HMC ships since 2001 and I have never seen an EO or CERA in coveralls let alone white ones.

2007 in a Canadian ship.  2015 in a British one.  It appears that yet another tradition has died.  :'(

PS:  Do they not let you inside your ships?  It must get pretty miserable being on them all the time ;D
 

Pusser

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Navy_Pete said:
It's weird because the type that is typically all for this revival overlaps with the 'What would Nelson Do' crowd.  Pretty sure he didn't lose and arm and an eye by not leading from the front. It's a pretty small but vocal crowd, but normally a non issue unless they are part of the Command triad.

One of the reasons Nelson is reported to have been picked off by a French marine sharpshooter is because he stood out from the crowd in his admiral's uniform.

I'm not saying we have to return to 1990 (yes, it was that recent), but there are some folks who take the operational mantra to an extreme.  When one of the arguments for wearing combat clothing in an air-conditioned headquarters in Canada is in order to maintain an "operational mindset," I call BS.
 

Blackadder1916

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Pusser said:
. . .  When one of the arguments for wearing combat clothing in an air-conditioned headquarters in Canada is in order to maintain an "operational mindset," I call BS.

Such would be, IMO, BS.  However in the vein of "clothes make the man", in our southern neighbour's navy there seemed to be considerable angst when they went to a common "operational dress" (the much reviled blueberries) that required officers and CPOs to stop wearing khakis on ship.  They even refer to their Chiefs as "khaki leadership" and there were even some misguided souls who proclaimed that eliminating khakis afloat who seriously disrupt operational efficiency.  There were similar outbursts when junior ratings were given an "office uniform" that included a khaki shirt.  The identification of rank (social standing?) differences seems to be of such importance to them that the USN's latest trial version of a sea going operational dress includes a khaki version to be worn by officers and chiefs and a blue version for junior ratings.
 

Journeyman

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Blackadder1916 said:
... there were even some misguided souls who proclaimed that eliminating khakis afloat who seriously disrupt operational efficiency. 
Well, they subsequently had two serious collisions with merchant ships in the Pacific.  Coincidence?  ;)
 

dimsum

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Blackadder1916 said:
There were similar outbursts when junior ratings were given an "office uniform" that included a khaki shirt.

I've seen those when in the US, and to be honest, I thought that was a dumb move.  So now, in the USN everyone has a khaki shirt in the office, with badges (not huge ones) all in the same place. 

When this all came about, there was an option to have the E6 and below have ranks on sleeves rather than collars.  That would have been a good compromise, since the small ranks can be hard to distinguish.
 

gcclarke

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Pusser said:
I'm not saying we have to return to 1990 (yes, it was that recent), but there are some folks who take the operational mantra to an extreme.  When one of the arguments for wearing combat clothing in an air-conditioned headquarters in Canada is in order to maintain an "operational mindset," I call BS.

I would also suggest, for the exact same reasons, that the stated rationale for sometimes having us ensure that our shirts are properly ironed and that our shoes are shiny and that our hair isn't allowed to get too long and that we shouldn't be able to dye said hair purple, in order to "act like professionals" is likewise BS. If NCDs don't make someone think with an operational mindset, then likewise DEUs also don't affect how we think or act.

The clothes don't make the person, their actions do. Perhaps it's time to stop wasting so much time on what we look like and more time on what we do.
 

Oldgateboatdriver

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I stayed away from this thread so far, as I thought it had strayed quite far from its original intent, and was starting to turn into another Army vs Navy thing.

As it stayed on the up-and-up, I believe a bit of historical perspective on a few points raised throughout can be of use to all.

First, it is important to remember that for the Army, the dichotomy between uniforms worn in battle (wether you call it Battledress, Combat or Cadpat) and those worn in garison (which we would call Service dress today) started in the Crimean war and was fully adopted during WWI. Before that, soldiers had only one - bright, colonial power - uniform. Trench warfare made adoption of batle dress necessary.

The navies didn't look, or need to look at a second set of "operational" clothing until the Falkland war, which is why, in most navies, they were first introduced around the late 1980's to early 1990's. Before that, sailors simply wore their sailor uniforms for everything, and since officers got white shirts, ties and jackets, that's what they wore at sea and ashore. There simply was no concept that a special "operational" uniform was required. The Falklands changed all that: the war demonstrated that the main danger to personnel was not shrapnell and concussion from HE blast anymore, but rather flash fire and hot gases from penetration by missiles still full of fuel. Protection from that was needed.

That, in itself is the reason naval personnel who served in the RCN before 1995 are seeing wearing 3's onboard as natural: it was the only uniform we had. Interestingly enough, as many here decry the dangers of wearing #3's onboard, in the pre-NCD days of the "unification" period, the officers wearing 3's were better protected than the seamen in case of fire. The green service dress (and it is still true of the current Navy DEU - save the SS shirts) was made of wool, with mostly (65%) cotton shirt, while the seamen wore the old green work dress at sea, which was all made of 100% polyester. As for shoes, in my days, we all wore the seaboots at sea, regardless of uniform, until they were unfortunately discontinued and replaced by "parade" boots. Even then, most of us, at sea, had a pair of "parade" boots that we had resoled with a proper hard rubber sole for good grip.

Even today, considering that the naval DEU is wool and cotton (save the SS shirt - but most officers I know don't use the CF issued one anyway - but buy the 100% cotton US pattern ones), working onboard wearing #3's would not be much of a danger in case of fire or other shipboard emergency.

As for the E.O's "steaming" suit - the white coveralls - there is both a practical and historical reason for those in the days of steamships: The practical one is simply that you didn't want to wear your navy wool jacket down in a room where steam engines caused both high humidity levels and heat, so something else had to be worn instead over your shirt and tie; the historical one is that on steam ships, near absolute cleanliness ("I want to be able to eat off those deck plates!") of the engine room was required to be able to immediately spot even the slightest steam leak in the process of developing - so God save the poor engine room watch who had the misfortune of being shown that the E.O. somehow got dirty on their watch (hence the white coverall). 

I think someone just created a split while I was typing this, please moderators - put this post in the appropriate thread. Thanks.
 
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