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Encyclopedia > Uniforms of the United States Marine Corps

The Uniforms of the United States Marine Corps serve to distinguish Marines from members of other services. Among current uniforms in the U.S. military, theirs have been in service the longest. The Marine Dress Blue uniform has been worn in essentially its current form since the 19th century. The United States Marine Corps (USMC) is a branch of the U.S. military responsible for providing power projection from the sea,[1] utilizing the mobility of the U.S. Navy to rapidly deliver combined-arms task forces to global crises. ...

Contents

Dress Uniform

The Marine Corps Dress uniform is the most elaborate of the United States armed forces, worn for formal or ceremonial occasions. Its basic form of a blue jacket with red trim dates back to the 19th century[1]. It is the only U.S. Military uniform that incorporates all three colors of the U.S. Flag. There are three different forms of the Dress uniform: Evening Dress, Blue Dress, and Blue-White Dress; only officers and SNCO's are authorized to wear the Evening Dress. Until 2000, there was a mess dress uniform, and until 1992, a Dress White uniform. Dress uniform is the most formal military uniform, typically worn at ceremonies, official receptions, and other special occasions; with full size medals. ... The armed forces of the United States of America consist of the United States Army United States Navy United States Air Force United States Marine Corps United States Coast Guard Note: The United States Coast Guard has both military and law enforcement functions. ... Flag ratio: 10:19; nicknames: Stars and Stripes, Old Glory The flag of the United States of America consists of thirteen equal horizontal stripes of red (top and bottom) alternating with white; there is a blue rectangle in the upper hoist-side corner bearing 50 small, white, five-pointed stars... Three Canadian officers in shawl or rolled collar jacket and waistcoat style mess dress or mess kit. ...


Blue Dress

Officer Blue Dress Uniform. From left to right: "C","A","A","B","C"
Officer Blue Dress Uniform. From left to right: "C","A","A","B","C"
Enlisted Blue Dress Uniform. From left to right: "B","B","A","D","C"
Enlisted Blue Dress Uniform. From left to right: "B","B","A","D","C"

The most common dress uniform is the Blue Dress uniform, often seen in recruiting advertisements. It is often called "Dress Blues" or simply "Blues". It is equivalent in composition and use to black tie. The various designations are listed in descending order of formality: Image File history File links PlateIII_Officer_Dress_Uniform. ... Image File history File links PlateIII_Officer_Dress_Uniform. ... Image File history File links PlateIV_Enlisted_Dress_Uniform. ... Image File history File links PlateIV_Enlisted_Dress_Uniform. ... This article or section does not cite its references or sources. ...

  • Blue Dress "A" has a long-sleeved midnight blue coat with a standing collar, white barracks cover, plain white shirt, sky blue trousers with white web belt or suspenders, white gloves, and black shoes and socks. Large medals are worn on the left chest; ribbons on the right. Marksmanship badges are not worn. Females wear pumps in place of shoes, and may wear a skirt in place of slacks. For males, the dress coat is cut to be formfitting.
  • Blue Dress "B" is the same as "A", but ribbons are moved to the left chest, and medals are replaced with miniature ribbons. Marksmanship badges may be worn.
  • Blue Dress "C" is same as "B" but without the outer blue coat and white gloves. A khaki long sleeve button-up shirt and tie are worn instead. Ribbons and badges are normally worn on the shirt.
  • Blue Dress "D" is same as "C", but with a khaki short sleeve button-up shirt and no tie. This may be worn with a khaki waist-length jacket.

Officers have the option of wearing a Sam Browne belt, and the Mameluke Sword (for officers) or NCO's sword may be worn as prescribed. John J. Pershing wearing a Sam Browne belt. ... A Mameluke Sword is a cross hilted, curved scimitar-like sword. ...


Because the Blue Dress uniform is considered formal wear, Blue Dress "C" and "D" are rarely worn. The main exception are Marine Recruiters and Marine Corps Security Guards, which will wear the "C" and "D" in warm weather. Only the "B", "C", and "D" Blue Dress uniforms are authorized for leave and liberty wear; the "A" is not. Marine Security Guard students perform rapid-fire exercises on the Department of State pistol qualification course Feb. ...


General officers have a two-inch wide scarlet blood stripe down the outer seam of each leg of their blue dress trousers; field and company grade officers have a 1 1/2-inch wide scarlet stripe down the outer seam of each leg of their blue dress trousers; and Staff NCOs and NCOs have a 1 1/8-inch wide scarlet stripe down the outer seam of each leg of their blue dress trousers. Like the U.S. Army, General officers wear trousers that are the same color as the coat, while other officers, Staff NCOs, and NCO's wear medium (sky) blue trousers.


Blue-White Dress

Blue-White and Drum Corps Uniforms
Blue-White and Drum Corps Uniforms

Prior to 1998, the a "Blue-White" dress uniform was authorized to be worn for the Silent Drill Platoon, an elite platoon of Marines operating out of Marine Barracks ("8th & I" in Marine Corps talk), in Washington, D.C.. Since then, it has now become authorized summer dress uniform for all officers and SNCOs, unless they are in formation with NCOs and junior enlisted personnel, who are not authorized to wear the uniform outside of the Silent Drill Platoon. Image File history File links PlateVIII_Blue_White_and_Drum_Corps. ... Image File history File links PlateVIII_Blue_White_and_Drum_Corps. ... The United States Marine Corps Silent Drill Platoon is a 24-man rifle platoon that performs a unique precision drill exhibition. ... Marine Barracks, Washington, D.C. is located at 8th and I streets SE in Washington, D.C.. Established in 1801, it is a registered historical site, the oldest post in the United States Marine Corps and home to the Commandant of the Marine Corps. ... Nickname: DC, The District Motto: Justitia Omnibus (Justice for All) Location of Washington, D.C., in relation to the states Maryland and Virginia Coordinates: Federal District District of Columbia  - Mayor Adrian M. Fenty (D)  - City Council Chairperson: Vincent C. Gray (D) Ward 1: Jim Graham (D) Ward 2: Jack Evans...


The Blue-White Dress consists of uniforms "A" and "B", identical to Blue Dress "A" and "B" except the trousers, skirt, or slacks are white instead of blue. As with the Dress Blues, the "A" is not authorized for leave and liberty wear.


Evening Dress

Evening Dress. From left to right: SNCO, "A", "B"(General officer), "A" with boatcloak, "B"
Evening Dress. From left to right: SNCO, "A", "B"(General officer), "A" with boatcloak, "B"

The Evening Dress is the most formal of the Dress uniforms, and is the equivalent of white tie in civilian usage. It is only authorized for wear by officers and SNCO's, and only a required uniform item for senior officers. It comes in three varieties: Image File history File links PlateV_Evening_Dress. ... Image File history File links PlateV_Evening_Dress. ... Queen Elizabeth II with Commonwealth Prime Ministers, in the 1950s. ...

  • Evening dress "A" (for officers) is identical to Dress Blue "A", except an evening coat with strip collar, white waistcoat, and white shirt with pique placket is worn. The stripe on the trousers is a thin red stipe inside a gold stripe instead of scarlet. Females wear a long skirt.
  • Evening dress "B" is identical to Evening Dress "A" except males wear a scarlet waistcoat (General officers) or cummerbund (other officers), and females may wear a short skirt.
  • SNCO's Evening Dress for Staff Non-Commissioned Officers.

A blue and scarlet boatcloak is optional. Junior officers not required to possess Evening Dress may substitute Blue or Blue-White dress "A". It is appropriate for such occasions as State functions, inaugural receptions and dinners, and formal dinners. A cummerbund is a broad waist sash, usually pleated, which is often worn with black tie. ...


Service Uniform

Officer Service Uniform. From left to right: "C", Service with all-weather coat, "A", "A", Service with sweater
Officer Service Uniform. From left to right: "C", Service with all-weather coat, "A", "A", Service with sweater
Enlisted Service Uniform. From left to right: "C", Service with sweater, "B", "A", "B"
Enlisted Service Uniform. From left to right: "C", Service with sweater, "B", "A", "B"

The service uniform consists of olive green and khaki colors. It is roughly equivalent in function and composition to a business suit. It is the prescribed uniform when Image File history File links PlateI_Officer_Service_Uniform. ... Image File history File links PlateI_Officer_Service_Uniform. ... Image File history File links PlateII_Enlisted_Service_Uniform. ... Image File history File links PlateII_Enlisted_Service_Uniform. ... A suit, also known as a business suit, comprises a collection of matching clothing consisting of: a coat (commonly known as a jacket) a waistcoat (optional) (USA vest) a pair of trousers (USA pants) Though not part of a suit, a shirt and tie very frequently accompany it. ...

  • serving on a court-martial
  • making official visits and calls on American and foreign dignitarires, officials, and Military officers.
  • vising the White House, except when in a tourist capacity, or on an occasion where another uniform is specified.
  • reporting for duty onshore

Like the Blue Dress uniform, the service uniform is authorized for wear while off-duty (on leave or liberty). A court-martial (plural courts-martial) is a military court that determines punishments for members of the military subject to military law. ...


The Service uniforms are designated:

  • Service "A" (or Alpha) is the base uniform. It consists of a green coat, green trousers with khaki web belt, khaki long-sleeve button-up shirt, khaki tie, tie clasp, and black shoes. The coat is cut to be semi-form fitting, with ribbons worn on the left chest of the coat. Females wear a green necktab in place of the tie, pumps instead of shoes, and have the option of wearing a skirt instead of slacks. It is appropriate to remove the jacket while indoors.
  • Service "B" (or Bravo) is identical to the "A" except the coat is removed. Ribbons may be worn on the shirt.
  • Service "C" (or Charlie) is identical to "B" except with a short-sleeve button-up shirt and no tie.

There are three types of authorized headwear for the service uniform. Both males and females may wear the green soft garrison cap, sometimes nicknamed "piss cutter". There is the option of wearing a hard-framed service cap(called a Barracks Cover), the design of which which differs between females and males. As on the Blue Dress uniform, officers wear rank insignia on the shoulder straps of their jackets and the collars of their shirts, while enlisted personnel wear rank insignia on their sleeves. Business shirt A shirt is a piece of clothing for the trunk of the body. ...


A crewneck sweater may be worn with the "B" and "C" uniforms, in which case enlisted personnel are required to wear rank insignia on their shoulders.


Utility Uniform

MARPAT Utility Uniform
MARPAT Utility Uniform

The utility uniform is intended for wear in the field or for working parties. It is rendered in MARPAT digital camouflage that breaks up the wearer's shape, and also serves to distinguish Marine uniforms from those of other services. Previously, Marines wore the same utility uniforms as the Army. It consists of MARPAT blouse and trousers, green undershirt, and tan (specifically "olive mojave") suede boots. There are two approved varieties of MARPAT, woodland (green/brown/black) and desert (tan/brown/grey). Image File history File links Download high-resolution version (865x505, 55 KB) Marine MARPAT Uniforms Source: http://www. ... Image File history File links Download high-resolution version (865x505, 55 KB) Marine MARPAT Uniforms Source: http://www. ... Woodland MARPAT uniform (shirt and boonie hat). ...


The approved headwear is the utility cover, an eight-pointed brimmed hat that is worn "blocked", that is, creased and peaked. In the field, a boonie cover is also authorized. The trouser legs are "bloused", that is, the cuffs are rolled inside and tightened over their boots with a spring or elastic band known as a boot band or blousing garter. Since the introduction of the Marine Corps Martial Arts Program(MCMAP), Marines have the option of substituting a color-coded rigger's belt for their web belt, indicating their level of proficiency in MCMAP. MCMAP logo The Marine Corps Martial Arts Program (MCMAP) is a combat system developed by the United States Marine Corps to combine existing and new hand-to-hand and close combat techniques with morale and team-building functions and instruction in what the Marine Corps calls the Warrior Ethos.[1...


In garrison, the sleeves of the blouse are tightly folded up to the biceps, exposing the lighter inside layer, and forming a neat cuff to present a crisper appearance to the otherwise formless uniform. In the past, when Marines wore the same utilities as the Army and Air Force, this served to distinguish them from the others, who folded the sleeves with the camo facing out.


Unlike the Dress and Service uniforms, utilities are generally not permitted for wear on liberty (while off-duty). Except for essential commuting tasks, e.g. picking up children from daycare or purchasing gas, the wear of utilities in public is prohibited.


Both officers and enlisted wear rank insignia on each collar, which is affixed like a pin and not sewn on as in the Army/Air Force. Enlisted insignia is always black, while officers wear bright metal insignia in garrison and subdued insignia (or none at all) in the field.


Comparison with the Army

Marines are often confused with U.S. Army soldiers. This was more prevalent when both services wore the same utilities, but with the introduction of digital camouflage (MARPAT for the Marines, ACU for the Army), this is no longer a point of confusion. However, there are several significant differences: The Army is the branch of the United States armed forces which has primary responsibility for land-based military operations. ...

  • Marines do not wear berets, and wear boots only with the utility uniform, while Army Airborne and Air Assault units wear shined black boots with dress uniforms.
  • In the field, the Marine utility cover is an 8-pointed creased and peaked cover, the army field cover is the Army Combat Helmet--the replacement to the kevlar helmet or "k-pot". Unlike the Army, Marines do not wear rank insignia on the cover, instead there is an Eagle, Globe, and Anchor in the middle of the cap.
  • Marines now wear predominantly dark green or tan camouflage, while the Army ACU is a light green/gray uniform intended for all climates.
  • The Marine service uniform is an olive green coat with khaki shirt and tie, the Army uniform is a forest-green coat with light green shirt and black tie.
  • The Marine service uniform contains fewer decorations - only ribbons, marksmanship badges, and breast insignia (e.g. scuba bubble or aviator wings). The Army service uniform contains, in addition, breast combat insignia (e.g. Combat Infantryman Badge or Combat Medic Badge), arm patches denoting current and prior combat unit, and certification tabs above current unit shoulder sleeve insignia like the Ranger Tab or Sapper Tab.
  • Army officers wear branch insignia (e.g. infantry or engineering) on their left collar opposite their rank on the right collar where appropriate. Marines wear no branch (e.g. aviation or infantry) insignia, so instead, officers simply wear rank insignia on each collar. The single exception to this rule is a very small number of Chief Warrant Officers who are designated "Infantry Weapons Officer" (MOS 0306). These Officers, or "Gunners" as they are known wear a bursting bomb insignia on their left collar.

Traditionally, Marine officers eschew the wearing of rank insignia in combat, on the theory that it simply makes them targets (as in Vietnam) and do not allow saluting in these situations. Enlisted Marines are supposed to know who their leaders are, regardless of whether they are wearing rank insignia. This attitude supports the conduct of amphibious operations, the most complex of all military maneuvers. During such a maneuver, units are typically scattered and without a traditional command structure. Leaders are anyone who takes the initiative to lead, an attribute that is stressed throughout Marine Corps training and doctrine[citation needed]. The Army Combat Uniform, or ACU, is a new combat uniform (battledress) to be worn by the United States Army. ...


History

On 5 September, 1776, the Naval Committee published Continental Marine uniform regulations green coats with white facings(lapels, cuffs, and coat lining), with a leather high collar to protect against cutlass lashes and to keep a man's head erect. Its memory is preserved by the moniker "Leatherneck", and the high collar on Marine dress uniforms. Though legend attributes the green color to the traditional color of riflemen, Colonial Marines carried muskets. More likely, green cloth was simply plentiful in Philadelphia, and it served to distinguish Marines from the red of the British or the blue of the Continental Army and Navy. Also, Sam Nicholas's hunting club wore green uniforms, hence his recommendation to the committe was for green.[1]


At the founding of the United States Marine Corps in 1798, it was issued leftover uniforms from "Mad Anthony" Wayne's Legion, blue with red facings. It was the beginnings of the modern "dress blues". The uniforms also came with a round hat, edged in yellow.[2] In 1834, President Andrew Jackson reinstated the green and white jackets of the Colonial Marines, with gray trousers. However, the dye on these faded quickly and in 1841 the uniform was returned to the blue - this time with a dark blue coat and light blue trousers, with a scarlet stripe down the seam for officers and NCO's. In 1859, new dress uniform regulations were issued; the new uniform had a French-style shako with an unpopular pompom. There was also the option of a fatigue cap, fashinoned after the French k├ępi.[2] In the 1890's the Marines adopted some practical changes to the field uniform, adding a "campaign" cover with a large Marine emblem on the side. and canvas leggings.[1] For other uses, see Andrew Jackson (disambiguation). ...


See also

Badges of the United States Marine Corps are military decorations which are issued by the United States Department of the Navy to service members of the U.S. Marines to denote a variety of qualifications and accomplishments. ...

References

United States Marine Corps Portal
  1. ^ a b c Chenoweth, USMCR (Ret.), Col. H. Avery; Col. Brooke Nihart, USMC (ret) (2005). Semper fi: The Definitive Illustrated History of the U.S. Marines. New York: Main Street. ISBN 1-4027-3099-3. 
  2. ^ a b Simmons, Edwin Howard (2003). The United States Marines: A History, 4th Edition. Annapolis, Maryland: Naval Institute Press. ISBN 1-59114-790-5. 

 
 

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