News: Navy Conducts Boot Study for Expeditionary Forces
Story by STEVEN HOSKINS
VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. - Navy Expeditionary Combat Command (NECC) sailors are participating in a boot study to help determine an official desert boot to be worn with the Navy Working Uniform (NWU) Type II and III.
The purpose of the boot study, which started March 1, is to identify the requirements for boots used by Navy Expeditionary Forces and to certify a family of desert boots.
Sailors participating in the study conducted by Navy Clothing and Textile Research Facility (NCTRF) were issued different styles of boots manufactured by Bates, Belleville and Rocky, which they will wear and evaluate for six months.
"The purpose of the boot study is to define the salient characteristics of the tan and brown desert boot worn by the Navy Expeditionary Forces," said James Martin, NCTRF footwear and insignia product manager. "Footwear is an essential component of the Type II and Type III NWU. The desert combat boot is authorized as per the NAVADMIN 259/11, but the description requirements are too vague."
Along with NECC, Naval Beach Group (NBG) units are also participating in the survey. Between the two commands, there will be 200 sailors evaluating two styles of safety-toe boots and 200 sailors evaluating three styles of non-safety-toe boots.
Testing sailors were issued a user's guide for wear of the brown boots with detailed instructions on how to evaluate the boots, properly wear them and care for the boots. Included in the guide is a wear schedule for each boot with dates to switch to the next boot.
Sailors have begun voicing opinions about participating in the brown boot study, but no decisions will be final for official changes to NAVADMIN 259/11 before each study is complete.
"So far, I only have good things to say about my first boot," said Chief Navy Counselor James Snowden, assigned to NECC. "The last thing you want to happen is to be out in the field with a boot that does not wear properly or causes blisters."
NECC sailors are excited to have the opportunity to voice their opinion on a uniform item, especially one that will be worn daily.
"I think it is a great idea to compare multiple boots and brands to see which one provides the best comfort," said Construction Mechanic 1st Class Tony Rowe, assigned to NECC. "NECC was a good choice. We have versatile commands, like the Coastal Riverine Force, wearing the boots in and out of water. Some of us work in an office environment, while Seabees will wear them in dirt, mud and water, which will allow the study to get a broader opinion of all the different types of boots."
NECC units participating in the boot study are: Navy Expeditionary Logistics Support Group, Explosive Ordnance Disposal Expeditionary Support Unit Two, Coastal Riverine Squadron Two, Maritime Civil Affairs and Security Training Command, Navy Cargo Handling Battalion One, Navy Expeditionary Intelligence Command, Naval Mobile Construction Battalion 11 and Naval Construction Group Two.
At the end of the six-month test period, NECC and NBG participants will fill out evaluation forms and submit their opinions and comments about the boots.
Results from the survey will be provided to Naval Facilities Engineering Command (NAVFAC), Expeditionary Programs Office (NEPO) before the end of calendar year 2013 to make the official changes to NAVADMIN 259/11.