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Marine Corps may require personnel in D.C. region to dress up four days a week

Oct. 2, 2013 - 06:00AM   |  
MCRD Parris Island Graduation India Company
Marines in the Washington, D.C., region will soon be required to wear service uniforms four days a week. (Lance Cpl. Aneshea S. Yee / Marine Corps)
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The Marine Corps may soon adopt a policy change requiring personnel serving in the Washington, D.C., region to ditch their camouflage utility uniforms four days a week in favor of dressier service uniforms, Marine Corps Times has learned.

Details about the change are still awaiting Commandant Gen. Jim Amos’ review, said Lt. Col. Dave Nevers, a spokesman for the the general. If approved, the details likely will be released in a Marine administrative message, another Marine source said.

If approved, the decision will affect Marines serving at the Pentagon, Marine Corps Base Quantico, Va., and other commands in the National Capital Region. It would take effect Nov. 1, Nevers said.

Marines stationed in other parts of the country would not be affected by the policy change, though it’s unclear whether those traveling to the Washington area will have to comply.

The pending change is the latest in a series of evolutions in how and when the Corps’ service uniform is worn. Before the 9/11 attacks, many Marines in the D.C. region wore it every day. It has been seen across the Corps in the last decade at various times on Wednesdays, Fridays or once a month on Friday, a Marine official said.

The new proposal calls for Marines to wear the service uniform four days a week, and cammies one day. It is not decided which day the utility uniform would be worn, Nevers said.

The shift would mean most Marines across the D.C. region wearing the Service B from November to March and the Service C from April to October. “Bravos” include a form-fitting khaki-colored shirt and tie and olive drab trousers. “Charlies” include a form-fitting short-sleeve khaki shirt and olive drab trousers. Women sometimes incorporate an olive-drab skirt with the service uniform.

The decision comes about 10 months after Amos directed most Marines across the Corps to wear their service uniforms every Friday. As of Jan. 1, Bravos were required during the winter and Charlies in the summer, although exceptions are granted to Marines who are likely to get dirty on the job.

At the time, the commandant told Marine Corps Times that the decision was a return to common practice before 2001, when seasonal uniforms were worn in garrison at the end of the week.

“My recent decision simply standardizes this practice throughout the Corps,” Amos said last winter. “Like physical fitness and personal appearance, Marines have always taken great pride in the wearing of our cloth. For centuries, our uniforms have always served to distinguish us from other services. We are Marines, plain and simple. Wearing our uniform with pride is what we do.”

Still, the move was greeted unceremoniously by many junior Marines, who called it ludicrous in light of the fact that thousands of Marines were in Afghanistan and still engaged in combat. By contrast, other Marines said Amos’ decision would reinforce pride in appearance and allow seasoned combat veterans to see who has been “hiding” from deployments because combat decorations can be displayed on service uniforms.

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