Marines finally will see fully stocked shelves of camouflage uniforms in summer 2024.

That’s when the shortage of the Marine Corps combat utility uniform, the everyday outfit colloquially known as cammies, is set to be resolved, according to Marine spokesman Maj. John Parry.

In September 2023, the Corps loosened its uniform rules, authorizing unit leaders to allow desert-colored cammies or flame-resistant organizational gear in place of the standard woodland-colored cammies.

“What we cannot have is a situation where a Marine is wearing unserviceable cammies, because that looks bad for the Corps, and we can’t have a situation where that Marine is being given a hard time about those unserviceable cammies,” Commandant Gen. Eric Smith said.

Parry emphasized to Marine Corps Times that Marines can’t make the unilateral decision to wear a different uniform or civilian attire.

The website associated with the Marine Corps Exchange gave fall 2024 as its estimate for getting the uniform items back in stock. In an email to Marine Corps Times in October, Parry called fall 2024 “a colloquial estimate for when Marines can expect all uniform shortages to be alleviated” but said the camouflage uniform shortage was slated to end in July 2024.

The shortage has prompted Marines to get creative with tailoring or turn to the booming uniform resale market. Chuck Lambert, CEO of the uniform’s primary manufacturer, American Apparel Inc., told Marine Corps Times in August 2023 that the shortage happened thanks to inflation and a difficult labor market.

“McDonald’s and a lot of the fast food guys are paying $2 and $3 more an hour than we could afford to pay,” Lambert said. “Where they could go up on the price of the hamburger, we can’t go up on the price of a uniform.”

Since the shortage began in summer 2022, the Defense Department has awarded additional uniform contracts to American Apparel Inc. and two other manufacturers, according to Parry, Lambert and Pentagon records.

Irene Loewenson is a staff reporter for Marine Corps Times. She joined Military Times as an editorial fellow in August 2022. She is a graduate of Williams College, where she was the editor-in-chief of the student newspaper.

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