A Marine Corps uniform board set to meet later this spring is considering at least eight changes this year ― and wants Marines to weigh in on the latest proposals.
Some of the changes include umbrellas for male Marines, ponytails for medium length hair, silver earrings in dress uniform, a standard dress blue waistplate for sergeants and below, and various adjustments to clothing allowances for recruiters, drill instructors and Marines on funeral detail.
Input provided by Marines from the Corps’ posted survey will have the eyes of the commandant as he gauges whether to approve recommended changes from the uniform board.
So, what’s the background on these potential uniform changes?
Women have always been authorized to carry or use a small black umbrella with their dress or service uniforms. Now the Corps is considering allowing men to do the same.
The Corps says there have been multiple requests seeking to amend the current regulation to allow men to carry or use an umbrella in their dress or service uniform. Now Marines have a chance to tell the top Marine whether they agree with that proposal.
On the issue of hair regulation changes for women, the Corps is considering a couple of changes: allowing women with medium length hair participating in organized fitness training to wear a half ponytail and requiring long hair to be “worn properly secured up” when the Marine is wearing the camouflage utility blouse, even for fitness or martial arts training.
The Corps says that “unsecured” ponytails are authorized for fitness training and that medium and short hair can be worn down. but that there’s been some confusion as to “whether or not medium hair length can be pulled back into a pony tail.”
The Corps says the half ponytail for medium length hair will help keep hair out of the face.
One of the changes also recommends allowing Marines with medium length hair who are wearing the utility blouse for fitness training to wear their hair in a half ponytail.
Another recommended change is to allow women to wear silver earrings in their service uniform.
Currently, women can wear gold earrings in their service and dress blue uniform, pearl earrings with the blue white dress uniform, and pearl or diamond earrings in the evening dress uniform.
And another major change being considered, the Corps is considering the standard non-commissioned officer waistplate for dress blue uniform that depicts the Eagle, Globe, and Anchor, or EGA for sergeants and below.
Currently, Marines in the ranks E1 to E3 wear a plain gold plate with their blues and corporals and sergeants wear a waistplate that depicts the EGA.
“Recruits ‘earn’ the title ‘Marine’ upon completion of the Crucible, when the Marine Corps emblem is placed in their hand. Why then do they have to wait until they are promoted to corporal to wear the emblem on their belt?” the Corps said in its survey.
The last three recommendations call for various changes to uniform allowances for recruiters, drill instructors and Marines on funeral detail.
Shawn Snow is the senior reporter for Marine Corps Times and a Marine Corps veteran.