View Full Version : Civilians shouldn't wear Marine Corps uniforms

03-22-05, 07:05 PM
Civilians shouldn't wear Marine Corps uniforms
By Robert Gerbracht
Opinion ~ The Marine Corps Times

I have the good fortune of residing in the spirited vacation community of Camp Fallujah, Iraq. Recently, I saw an individual dressed in the Marine combat utility uniform smoking while walking near me.

When I approached this person, I noticed he was unshaven, slovenly and, put succinctly, fat. He wore his uniform in much the same way a camel might wear his fur - unknowingly, smeared with filth and conspicuously covered in drool.

Of course this person was no Marine. As it turned out, he was an American contractor who had been "gifted" with our uniform. He was wearing it, cover off and trousers unbloused, as if he were a fourth-grader prepping himself for a wild night of trick-or-treating.

I informed him, as my obligation dictates, that all individuals who wear Marine uniforms are subject to our regulations and should wear them with the pride befitting the traditions of our Corps. The man harrumphed, replied in a somewhat muffled affirmative and walked off into the Anbar twilight, probably wondering why I was being such a jerk.

This raises a question that has crossed the minds and lips of many infuriated Marines in Iraq over the past year: Why are American civilians, Iraqi contractors and third-country nationals allowed to wear our uniform?

One of the more obvious purposes of the new utility uniforms is to instill a sense of distinction and pride among modern Marine warriors. Where does that pride go when our uniforms are issued to every Tom, Dick and Harry deployed to the same environment as Marines?

Perhaps I'm a reactionary, but I think KBR employees, who earn seven times more than most Marines, can afford to buy their own nonpatented, unofficial uniforms from a stateside military surplus store or tactical outfitter.

And the use of our pixel-pattern cammies by Iraqi civilian translators should be reserved for tactical situations. Even then, the wearer should be provided appropriate instruction beforehand.

I find it completely objectionable that these breaches of uniform standards continue to take place. The Marine Corps order was changed recently - one might say softened - to allow civilian contractors to wear our cherished cammies as long as they do not wear the eagle, globe and anchor on their eight-point covers. This works out well, since most of these civilians don't wear their covers at all. In addition, the order states civilians must wear our utilities within Corps standards and adhere to our grooming policies.

While in this theater of operations, I have encountered dozens of civilians sporting our combat utilities, yet not one has been in full compliance with the regulations expected of those who have earned the uniform. Instead, the civilians wear bits and pieces of the uniform at their leisure or wear the entire uniform and are so ridiculously out of shape that they look as if they are smuggling pillows under their blouses.

This issue demonstrates a great disparity between doctrine and action. Doctrinally, civilian contractors are authorized to wear our utility uniforms if they feature the right accoutrements. Essentially, slap alternative name tapes and "coverup" patches on our utilities, and they become civilian fare. I call foul.

We allow our Navy brethren who serve with us to wear our uniforms because they share our sacrifices and our values. But civilian workers do not share those sacrifices. While they may share our values, they do not serve under an oath of fidelity in harm's way, but under a contract based on monetary gain.

One of my Marines recently told me he thinks of our uniforms in much the same way he does the American flag. I fully agree with that. As members of the military, we are inculcated from our earliest days of training to have a reverence for our national colors. We salute the flag, honor it as it rises and descends each day, and rush to catch it should it fall too far toward the earth.

As Marines, we carry the eagle, globe and anchor not only emblazoned on our uniforms, but in their very fabric - in much the same way our Corps values of honor, courage and commitment should be woven into the fabric of our souls.

To have this ethos sullied, either intentionally or by outright ignorance and disinterest, is reprehensible.

Marines are the elite. We stand out. It's easy to understand why someone would want to wear our uniforms.

But the last time I checked, that privilege is earned only in the sand pits of Parris Island, S.C.; the sun-baked parade decks of San Diego; and the winding trails of Quantico, Va.

The line has to be drawn here and now, before the Corps' culture slips closer to becoming a novelty item to be bought and sold rather than a precious treasure to be earned and cherished.

The writer is a first lieutenant with Combat Service Support Battalion 1 in Iraq.


03-22-05, 07:44 PM
I salute the Lt. I would have a difficult time to knowing that in a combat zone some bozo was walking around half dressed and out of shape. I guess round is a shape. Anyway good job Lt.

Semper Fidelis

03-22-05, 07:51 PM
Err. Unfortunately, while I whole heartedly agree with the sentiments here, the newest version of the MCO concerning Uniforms (MCO 1020.34G) is quite clear on allowing civilians attached to Marine Corps units to wear the uniforms, and not just the cammies... they go so far as to designate collar insignia for "US TECHNICIAN". Until we can convince the Marine Corps Uniform Board that it's time for this to end... they'll continue to allow this.

03-23-05, 04:15 AM
I also salute the Lt. The people in the military have earned the right to wear the uniform, the civilian hasn't! Also, on the streets you see civilians wearing uniforms and nothing is said, but what would happen if they were to start dressing like law enforcement?

03-23-05, 05:59 AM
This is yet another example of how our service to our country is taken for granted! Of how some in our society think that all they need to do is put on the mantle of our uniforms and suddenly they have somehow earned the priviledge of the honor of cloaking themselves in the honor paid for Marines who have died on foreign lands. How sad it is that they have no concept of what disgrace they are perpetrating. If they only knew what others have done for them they might show better respect for the uniform they aspire to wear.

03-23-05, 06:39 AM
Hard not to agree with the Lt's point of view here, I certainly agree. Sadly though as 'Livin So Free' point out current regs are OK with this. Might be a good challange to get the bureaucrats to change the regs.

I have from time to time, as I am sure we all have, come across non-Marines wearing our gear. What rankles me most of all is when I see the EGA on some punk ass kid in a disrespectful manner . That has on more than one occassion brought forth a comment from me to the kid. That can leave the offender stunned usually as they don't expect a hard comment.


03-23-05, 10:14 AM
Should not be allowed! Give them old "Chocolate Chip" cammies so they can be identified as non-military personnel.

03-23-05, 11:26 AM
As mentioned before. I have no problem with anyone that isn't in the military wearing military garments, even if they are authentic, as long as all rank ensignia, identifying patches, ribbons, awards etc. are taken off. (I draw the line with formal dress uniforms. I don't like anyone other than military personnel, active/in- active/retired, wearing them.) If ya didn't earn it - don't wear it!

03-23-05, 12:47 PM
you know what really chaps my ass have you seen the music people weather it be rappers or rock and role guys on the award shows wearing our Dress Blues. Yes there is no ribbions on it but I have seen one with chevrons on it. They where them un-buttoned with a t-shirt underneath. I think it is a disgrace your not supporting us by wearing it there wearing it as a fashion statement. I earned it through sweat and blood and you where it cause it looks cool. To me it's a slap in the face

03-24-05, 05:21 AM
I am currently finishing the hiring process with Blackwater (for the 2nd time, did a stint in 1996 in Yugoslavia and Czech. Considering the fact that I will most likely be in Iraq, I will be wearing uniform. Now, I feel that I have earned the right to wear it, and ofcourse, will wear it with pride as one should. But, its built for a warrior and its main function is that of battle dress, how ever you wear it.

Just my HO.

Semper Fidelis,


03-26-05, 08:41 AM
I too agree 100% . My units on our way home right now , and weve managed to stay at Stryker for almost 2 weeks now. It is not uncommon to see a fat nasty civy in Marine cammies. It disgusts me because too many men have , have given too much of themselves in order to wear this uniform. Were not the army.
Also since im Ranting, Id like to adress the issue of Notifacations not being done in Dress Blues. WTF OVER!!!
We pride ourselves in doing a better job, always being better than everyone else. Lets keep it this way!