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Marine Corps seeks feedback on universal cover for men and women

Oct. 21, 2013 - 06:00AM   |  
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The Marine Corps Uniform Board seeks active-duty and Reserve Marines' feedback on three uniform-related issues. One issue is whether the Corps should adopt universal, unisex dress and service caps, either the the current male frame cap with modifications, left, or the so-called 'Dan Daly' cap, right, which had previously been identified as the replacement for the female 'bucket' cover.
The Marine Corps Uniform Board seeks active-duty and Reserve Marines' feedback on three uniform-related issues. One issue is whether the Corps should adopt universal, unisex dress and service caps, either the the current male frame cap with modifications, left, or the so-called 'Dan Daly' cap, right, which had previously been identified as the replacement for the female 'bucket' cover. (Marine Corps photo illustration)
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Maj. Gen. Smedley Butler once called Sgt. Maj. Dan Daly, above, 'the fightinest Marine I ever knew.' At Belleau Wood in June 1918, as he leapt up to lead his tired, outnumbered, outgunned Marines forward, then-1st Sgt. Daly famously yelled, 'Come on, you sons of bitches, do you want to live forever!' (Courtesy of Marine Corps History Division)

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What do you think of the universal cover choices? Should the Marine Corps make a change at all, and if so, do either of these options appeal to you? Tell us what you think at marinelet@marinecorpstimes.com.

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The Marine Corps Uniform Board may recommend the adoption of a universal cover for men and women to be worn with dress and service uniforms.

The change could take one of two forms. Either women could begin wearing current male covers with slight modifications, or all Marines could begin wearing new “Dan Daly caps,” according to a Marine news release. Daly caps feature a smaller crown, similar to the cover worn by two-time Medal of Honor recipient Sgt. Maj. Dan Daly, known best for his World War I exploits at Belleau Wood.

To gather feedback from both active duty and Reserve Marines, the Uniform Board distributed a survey across the Corps via sergeant majorsthat will run through Friday. The board will convene Oct. 29 and take the survey results into consideration, although they are not binding.

In years past the Uniform Board has made recommendations counter to the desires of rank-and-file Marines who communicated their opinions via surveys. That includes the decision to wear utility uniform sleeves rolled down all year — even during the summer.

The movement to make female uniforms more similar to those worn by men comes as the Defense Department begins to open more roles in combat units to women. But, the Marine Corps has considered changes to female uniforms, particularly dress blue uniforms, several times over the years and has been met by resistance each time.

Most recently, women at Marine Barracks Washington conducted a field test in which they wore male covers and dress blue uniforms with Mandarin collars rather than lapels. The results of those tests were not immediately available, however Marine Corps Times readers — men and women — voiced strong opposition.

Of the roughly 300 readers surveyed, 92 percent were opposed to the changes. Among the women who responded 79 percent were opposed. Among men, opposition rose to 94 percent.

In 1999 tests were conducted that included adding blood stripes to women’s skirts. In 2002, a white belt and more red piping were tested. In both cases, both men and women rejected the modifications.

Aside from changes to Marine covers, the survey addresses the possibility of authorizing microbraids for women in uniform and modifications to the existing supplemental clothing allowance.

After the board concludes, recommendations will be forwarded in late fall for consideration by the commandant, who has ultimate authority over proposed uniform changes.

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