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IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Release No: 378-00
June 30, 2000

SAILORS TO RECEIVE IMPROVED MATTRESSES

As part of the Navy's ongoing initiatives to improve shipboard living spaces, Secretary of the Navy Richard Danzig announced today a new program to replace existing shipboard foam mattresses with new, improved innerspring mattresses.

"America sleeps better because of our Navy and Marine Corps," said Danzig. "Our sailors and Marines deserve the best rest we can provide them at sea. The question is not whether we will make these improvements, but how fast can we bring them to the fleet. I am in a hurry."

The Navy will reprogram $2.8 million this year to jumpstart the initiative and invest approximately $12 million per year in fiscal 2002 and fiscal 2003, said Danzig. Additionally, Congress has promised $13 million in funding support for fiscal 2001, making total program allocation about a million dollars per month for 36 months for the improved mattresses.

Engineers from Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA) researched, identified and tested the new mattresses. The new mattresses cost about the same as the existing mattresses and last longer. Most importantly, the new mattresses provide increased comfort through a pocketed innerspring coil construction recognized by industry as providing maximum comfort with proper support. Existing shipboard mattresses are of a foam core construction. New innerspring mattresses are four inches thick for enlisted crewmembers as opposed to the current three-inch foam mattress. Recent at-sea testing completed on board USS Cole (DDG 67) resulted in rave reviews from sailors.

The USS Harry S. Truman Battle Group and the USS Nassau Amphibious Ready Group deploying this November will be the first to receive the new mattresses. About 14,000 mattresses will be purchased before the deployment and are estimated to cost $200 each. The new mattresses have a projected service life of seven years -- two to four years longer than those currently on U.S. Navy ships.

This initiative is part of a broader project called "Living Better, Caring for the Best," which is designed to improve shipboard living for every sailor and Marine. In addition to the improved mattresses, the program includes increased personal stowage, upgraded recreational spaces, and improved air quality. The new mattresses are the first of the Living Better initiatives to be implemented.

"These 'Living Better, Caring for the Best,' initiatives aren't an option we're looking into, they are absolutely necessary to help take care of the most professional sailors in the world. Thanks to our country's leadership, this is just another example of the sweeping attitude change our Navy is growing through," said Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy Jim Herdt.

For more information, contact the NAVSEA public affairs office at (703) 602-1556.

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