Help Save The Navy Peacoat

The wool peacoat has long been a part of the Navy uniform, and is not just a symbol of the strong, rugged sailor, but has also become a timeless fashion statement and pop icon. But the peacoat is now in danger of extinction, to be replaced by a synthetic Cold Weather Parka.

Loss of an Icon

The peacoat is considered one of, if not the most, iconic Navy symbols there is. The peacoat has been a staple in enlisted seabags, and replacing it is stepping away from heritage and Naval tradition. In a 2017 USNI survey of 3500 people, 81% agreed that the peacoat is an important part of Navy heritage, showing that recruits, active duty, and veterans cherish this symbol of their service.

Economic Impact

In 2017, the House Armed Services Committee questioned the Navy’s decision to retire the peacoat, saying they were “concerned this decision was made without considering upgrades or alternatives to the traditional pea coat or an impact to the nation’s domestic textile industrial base.” And for good reason: the transition to the synthetic parka will impact small businesses at the heart of the nation’s textile industrial base. Companies across the continental U.S. could see lost revenue and lost jobs if the peacoat is retired.

Form and Function

While the decision makers behind the transition from the peacoat to the parka insist that the parka is more fashionable, many current and veteran sailors have expressed their dissatisfaction with the aesthetic of the parka. Its synthetic, bulky design is step down compared to the classic, fashionable cut of the peacoat, which has become a classic style beyond just the Navy. But it’s not just about looks: the wool peacoat is warm and almost impenetrable to cold and wet weather, bringing both form and function to the Navy uniform.

The Petition

Time is running out to save the iconic Navy peacoat. But soon, the peacoat will become an optional component of enlisted sailors’ seabags, replaced by the synthetic Cold Weather Parka as the mandatory outerwear. The Navy cites a desire to reduce budget and uniform requirements as its primary reason for making the change, but this reduction in cost for the Navy comes at a price.

For more than a century, the peacoat has been a staple in the seabags of new enlisted sailors, and is one of the most iconic and recognizable symbols of a strong U.S. Navy. Its natural wool construction is virtually impervious to cold, making it ideal for colder climates, and when adorned with Navy insignia, makes a statement about a special and valued group of patriots.

The loss extends beyond the Navy, though. The U.S. woolen textile industry, centered in New England, with small to medium businesses in the chain throughout the U.S., is likely to be hard hit by this change. The shift away from the peacoat could mean millions of dollars in lost revenue and the potential loss of thousands of jobs.

If you, like many others, would like the Navy to reconsider this change, then make your voice heard by signing the petition and show the Navy that protecting the peacoat is about more than a budget – it’s about protecting tradition and American workers.

Petition will be sent to:

Richard V. Spencer
Secretary of the Navy
Thomas B. Modly
Under Secretary of the Navy
Admiral John M. Richardson
Chief of Naval Operations
Admiral Bill Moran
Vice Chief of Naval Operations
Gregory J. Slavonic
Assistant Secretary of the Navy (Manpower and Reserve Affairs)
Thomas W. Harker
Assistant Secretary of the Navy (Financial Management and Comptroller)
Admiral Christopher W. Grady
Commander, U.S. Fleet Forces Command
Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Northern Command
Admiral John C. Aquilino
Commander, U.S. Pacific Fleet

The Letter

Dear Gentlemen:

Time is running out to reverse the decision to replace the standard wool peacoat with the Cold Weather Parka as mandatory in enlisted sailors’ seabags.

While the reasons for the change have been outlined as a reduction in uniform requirements, reduced budget, and added versatility, this shift comes at a price to both Navy tradition and small businesses across the continental U.S.

The peacoat is an iconic part of U.S. Navy history that has been in service for more than a century. Its natural wool provides virtually impenetrable protection from cold, and is a stylish symbol of the enlisted sailor. The pride of being part of a long-standing tradition is often a compelling argument for military recruits, and the peacoat serves as a symbol of that tradition.

As one Navy veteran put it, “The Navy Pea Coat has been in the Uniform Bag for a very long time and is one of the basic clothing accessories for the well dressed Navy Sailor. The Pea Coat is a ‘dress’ uniform for inclement weather and the Parka is not only clearly not a dress uniform but is treading down the path of loss of pride in our service.”

Economically, the decision could potentially result in thousands of lost jobs throughout the continental U.S. in the domestic manufacturing, wool farming, and textile industries. This supply chain consists of many small businesses, who are expected to struggle under the new policy. In 2017, the House Armed Services Committee acknowledged this issue, saying they were “concerned this decision was made without considering upgrades or alternatives to the traditional pea coat or an impact to the nation’s domestic textile industrial base.”

Replacing the peacoat with a synthetic parka may lead not only to more than $10 million dollars in lost revenue for small to mid-sized businesses within the continental U.S., but also the potential loss of more than 2300 jobs across the supply chain. In addition, the economic impact on these businesses could mean the closure of centuries-old companies in New England and across the United States.

We urge you to reconsider the proposal to eliminate the peacoat from the U.S. Navy uniform requirements and to uphold the Navy’s longstanding values of tradition, service, and defending the U.S., including its economy.

Updates

21 Sep 2018

The Fight to Save the Navy Pea Coat is Underway

Eric Dehm September 21, 2018 Eric Dehm, host of CBS Eye on Veterans & ConnectingVets.com Morning Briefing and U.S. Navy veteran, recently interviewed Northwest Woolen Mills President Max Brickle about the upcoming change away from the iconic peacoat. Read the story on ConnectingVets.com and listen to the full interview below.

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25 Aug 2018

Textile Industry Works to Save the Navy Peacoat

News outlets and organizations across the U.S. have helped us share the Save the Navy Peacoat campaign message.

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