Friday, August 5, 2016

"Bell-bottom trousers, coats of navy blue..."

About the only thing that makes me laugh harder than wing-wipers all decked out in camouflage outfits is when squids do it.
I mean, those cammie suits'll make you SO hard to see on that ginormous fucking hunk of steel out in the in a fucking hole in the water, right?

What, blue cotton shirts and dungarees too much not-like-a-video-game for ya, Navy? They worked just fine when grandpap went out to sink the Imperial Japanese Navy.

I think what irks me about this nonsense is what some of the other waitstaff over at MilPub have complained about; that this isn't what services at war do, and, at least in theory the armed services are out fighting in various less-paved portions of the world even if the nation as a whole (outside of Victor Davis Hanson's prion-disease-addled brain) isn't. This also, IMO, isn't what services with a better grasp of their actual mission do; this is an artifact that ISTM that our armed services are infected with something that you see a lot if you look around the United States - that it's "better to look good than be good".

I realize that this is an extreme effect of selective observational bias, me the impact of all this fussing about appearance give the impression that We the People (and We the Armed Forces) care if you are terrific at something only if it gets out there in the news, or into social media.

Oh, and the solution to the USN's cammie-pant problem?

Put all the gobs in GREEN cammie outfits.

FFS, people. You're fucking sailors!
Why not be proud to look like 'em?



    Wait till you see the Chinese marines' idea of camouflage...

    1. Interestingly enough, I guess I've gotten so used to seeing ridiculous camo patterns that I didn't really goggle at the PLAN Marines' outfits.

      What DID draw my eye were the goofy rectangular patterns on the APCs; all I could think of was "They look like Minecraft stuff". Somebody must have been worried that their tracks would be attacked by creepers or zombie pigmen...

    2. Most confusingly, these patterns are applied to surfaces of the amphibious vehicles that would be submerges during swimming. They're camouflaging themselves against fishes and crabs at the expense of camouflage against bazooka-armed opposition on land.

  2. Come on, Chief. We can't let our swabbies not look "warriorish" when they are going to the local McDonalds, can we. The classic "dungarees" make them look like they work for a living.

    1. Like I said to Lisa below, Al; that's a classic look. That look sank the Kito Butai at Midway and turned Kurita back off Samar. That's not just a workingmans' uniform, it's the uniform of the one outfit in the entire U.S. armed forces who took on an honest-to-Buddha peer foe and licked them.

      That's pure awesomesauce, a direct link to the victors of the Great Pacific War. Why would anyone want to change that?

  3. Chief,
    i used to wear navy issue dungarees in rvn. they were rather light weight.
    i've handled the new ones that u pictured. these are heavier than the dungarees.
    ok, i'm assuming that the new issue has fire retardant feature(assuming)
    if i were abandoning ship i'd rather be in dungarees with low quarters.
    jim hruska

    1. In one of the comments to this post at GFT a commentor stated that these are made from the same cotton-poly fabric as the lightweight BDUs, so, no. They'll melt right onto your skin in a fire - at least per that one individual's information...

  4. It's "better to look good than be good", as Fernando said ;) And agreed re. social media: if it's not uploaded and "liked", it never really happened, did it?

    Personally, I like the denim/chambray shirt-and-dungaree look, and imagine it's cooler and more comfortable, too. I know some Korea era vets who still dress that way.

    OTOH, I can't imagine today's sailors bringing this look home.

    1. The cammies? Sadly, Lisa, this fetish for camo clothing has somewhat infected the civilian world as well, so, maybe. But THIS camo? Maybe not.

      I think the classic blue denim look is awesome; it LOOKS like a working sailor should look. That's what I kinda don't get; if it's all about "looking cool", what could be cooler than that Forties "Sighted Jap - Sank Same" look? That's the look of a winner, the look of a guy who went toe-to-toe with the baddest Navy in the Pacific and won by knockout.

      Why the hell would you want to change that..?

    2. The new materials are so uncomfortable, relatively speaking.

      I totally agree on the awesomeness of the classic look -- that's what MY sailor looks like:)

    3. I liked the lightweight ripstop poplin. But, yes, the heavier cotton-poly camouflage uniforms are not pleasant to wear.

      And you know that's the rest of the lyric, right?

      "Once there was a little girl who lived next to me
      And she loved a sailor boy, he was only three
      Now he's on a battleship in his sailor suit
      Just a great big sailor but she thinks he's very cute

      (With his bell bottom trousers, coat of navy blue
      She loves her sailor and he loves her too)

      When her sailor boy's away on the ocean blue
      Soldier boys all flirt with her but to him she's true
      Though they smile and tip their caps and they wink their eyes
      She just smiles and shakes her head, then she softly sighs

      (Oh, bell bottom trousers, coat of navy blue
      She loves her sailor and he loves her too)

      When her sailor went to sea to see what he could see
      She saw that he ate spinach, now he's big as he can be
      When he's home they stroll along, they don't give a hoot
      She won't let go of his hand, even to salute

      If her sailor she can't find on the bounding main
      She is hopeful he will soon come home safe again
      So they can get married and raise a family
      Dress up all their kiddies in sailor's dungarees

      (Oh, bell bottom trousers, coat of navy blue
      She loves her sailor and he loves her too)"

    4. So cute -- thanks for sharing.

      I love pea coats, and among my most treasured finds at thrift stores are old lightweight issue ripstop poplin trousers which I can transform into shorts.

      Mostly, they're so worn already, they go to holes rather quickly.

  5. oops, sorry -- Fernando said, "than to FEEL good."

  6. One thing I always wondered about the old Navy outfits; why did some ships' companies dye their dixie cups blue and some didn't?

    I'm assuming that the white caps were kept clean for shore leave. But in the picture above some of the guys have them on and they're clearly for regular fatigue duties. But the guy on the right has his blued as does one of the guys in the background.

    Anybody know what the reg - or the custom - was, back in the day?

    1. To answer my own question...what I'm finding on the 'net is that the blue cap seems to have been something that was done informally, often by the guys working down in the engineering spaces, to keep from showing the grime they would invariably attract on the job. There were some comments about the deck apes dyeing their covers "for camouflage" but that was usually dismissed as urban legend - any Japanese vessel close enough for its lookouts to see the white caps would see the USN ship first.

      But the thing was an informal modification, done on a ship-by-ship (and even division-by-division within a ship) basis, hence the oddball variety of blue and white caps.

      And FWIW the "official" cover for the crackerjack uniform was what the guy in the bottom picture is wearing, something that was apparently called a "Donald Duck hat" by its wearers and was issued until sometime in the Sixties or Seventies...

    2. The white in sailor uniforms was from the coal steam ship era when sailors had to load coals in bags onto the ship and got invariably dirty going so.
      The officers wanted them neat, presentable, clean - and the white clothes were introduced to make visible that they were indeed clean.