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01-27-09, 07:17 AM
Marines in Japan try out new running gear

By Cindy Fisher, Stars and Stripes
Pacific edition, Wednesday, January 28, 2009

CAMP FOSTER, Okinawa — Japan-based Marines will soon sport a new look during physical training in cold weather.

In the past week, troops on Okinawa and at Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni in mainland Japan have been trying on and ordering the new running suit. Marines at Camp Fuji in mainland Japan began receiving their new gear Monday.

The lightweight, olive green trousers and zip up jacket with "Marines" blazoned in red across its back will supplement the cotton sweat suits troops wear over their T-shirts and shorts. The suit is water-resistant and quick-drying with an anti-microbial lining that deters bacteria and odor. The jacket has air vents under the arms and in the back, a fold-down collar, reflective piping and can be cleaned in a washing machine and dryer.

But what troops might like most is that the $112 suits are being issued free to all Marines.

It’s the first newly released gear that Marines aren’t paying for out of their own pockets, according to a Marine Corps release. Troops will be responsible for upkeep and replacement.

In November 2007, Marines deployed to Iraq were the first to see the suit and the Wounded Warrior Regiment in Bethesda, Md., was the first to be issued the suits in February 2008.

Troops in Japan seem to approve of the gear.

"It’s nice looking and more comfortable than the sweat suit," Master Gunnery Sgt. Joe Lewis, the S-4 supply officer at Camp Foster, said Monday. "It’s better because it has air pockets and everything."

Lewis’ supply team will get sizes of Marines at Okinawa camps in the next couple of weeks.Troops should check with their section leaders for when they are scheduled for fittings, Lewis said.

Most Camp Fuji Marines picked up their suits Monday and "they are sharp," said Maj. Monte S. Powell, Fuji’s executive officer.

Officials at Iwakuni expect to have most Marines outfitted with suits by Feb. 6, spokesman Maj. Guillermo Canedo said Monday.

The only complaint has been that Marines need to be sure they provide correct inseam measurements or the suits could chafe, Canedo said.

Suit sizes are on par with the Marines’ camouflage utilities sizes, according to the Marine Corps Uniform Board Web site.

Lewis said he has noticed the jackets seem to be running slightly smaller than the equivalent camouflage utilities blouse size.

Lewis said that because units are ordering the gear over the Internet, troops are receiving it within 10 days.

For regulations governing how the new suit may be worn, check out All Marine Message 019/08.



Cindy Fisher / S&S
The tags of the Corps' new running suits includes motivational statements of what it means to be a Marine.


Cindy Fisher / S&S
This will be a common look once all 1,200 Marines with Headquarters and Service Battalion, Marine Corps Bases Camp Butler, begin physical training in the Corps' new running suits.