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Military dumps infamous ‘BCG' eyeglasses

Jan. 20, 2012 - 02:41PM   |   Last Updated: Jan. 20, 2012 - 02:41PM  |  
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The new standard-issue eyeglasses will be offered to all active-duty and Reserve personnel and will be the sole choice for service members at recruit depots.
The new standard-issue eyeglasses will be offered to all active-duty and Reserve personnel and will be the sole choice for service members at recruit depots. (Navy Bureau of Medicine)
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Military recruits who wear glasses no longer will have to endure the embarrassment of sporting BCGs — those beloved standard-issue specs, technically called S9s, which are universally known as "Birth Control Glasses" because they're supposedly so unattractive.

The Naval Medical Logistics Command has chosen a new design, which will be offered to all active-duty and Reserve personnel and will be the sole choice for service members at recruit depots.

The glasses, with a hipster, Buddy Holly vibe, will soon be the rage on recruits' faces in Great Lakes, Ill., Parris Island, S.C., Fort Sill, Okla., Lackland Air Force Base, Texas, and elsewhere.

"Service members have told us they like the appearance of the new frame. We are confident this frame will increase the likelihood that military personnel will continue to utilize their eyeglasses beyond boot camp," said Capt. Matt Newton, commander of the Naval Ophthalmic Support and Training Activity, Yorktown, Va.

Recruits who need glasses are issued them as part of standard boot camp medical care. Service members who have not been issued glasses at boot camp within the past year have access to a broader variety under the military's "Frames of Choice" program. They can choose from among six frame designs that come in several color choices and include wire frames and aviator styles.

Before the new specs, called 5As, were selected, they were put through a rigorous test program, challenging their endurance, functionality and yes, even their cosmetic appearance.

The 5A will arrive at recruit depots in the coming months. Within six months, they also will be available to all active-duty and Reserve service members, according to a Navy release.

As for the BCGs? They'll continue to be standard issue for retirees, at least for now. According to the Navy, the Defense Department's Optical Fabrication Enterprise will decide during the next two years whether to provide the new glasses to the retired population.

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