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Navy does away with widely mocked ban on sailors putting their hands in their pockets

Navy Sailors attached to the USS John Canley walk out after the ship's christening ceremony at NASSCO on June 25, 2022 2022. (Photo by Sandy Huffaker for The SD Union-Tribune)

The Navy eliminated a source of anger and online mockery Wednesday, announcing that it has lifted its ban on sailors keeping their hands in their pockets.

“Sailors are authorized to have hands in their pockets when doing so does not compromise safety nor prohibit the proper rendering of honors and courtesies,” the Navy said in a statement.

The change was largely made at the request of sailors, who saw the rule as pointless and irritating. The ban had been in place because the Navy believed that keeping your hands in your pockets detracts from a sailor’s military appearance.

Wednesday’s announcement also included several other notable changes, some reflecting the growing presence of women in the Navy.

Female sailors are now permitted to “optionally wear T-shirts specifically designed for female bodies with Navy uniforms,” the statement said. “The intent of this policy update is to address expressed dissatisfaction regarding the required wear of male or unisex t-shirts that are not designed to fit female bodies.”

Women can also now wear false eyelashes or eyelash extensions — provided the lashes project a natural appearance and are not longer than 14 millimeters as measured from the eyelid to the tip of the eyelash.

“False eyelash color will match the color of the natural eyelash. Eyelash extensions cannot hinder wear of protective eyewear.”

The rules changes will have a big impact in San Diego, home to nearly 60,000 active-duty sailors.


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