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Old 10-19-2007, 05:56 PM   #1  
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Default Marine Corps As Fashion Police

From Associated Press:

OCEANSIDE, Calif. - The Marine Corps is taking on the role of fashion police.

Earlier this year, the Marine Corps commandant updated the regulations on what Marines can and cannot wear, on duty and off, in the United States. Among the fashion don’ts: No shiny metal or gems on your teeth, no designs carved in your hair, no flashy jewelry and no bare midriffs or excessive cleavage.

But it is Gen. James T. Conway’s ban on the wearing of camouflage uniforms, or “cammies,” off base that is getting the most attention, changing not only the appearance of the Marines, but also the look of their communities.

Under the new regulation, Marines in camouflage cannot get out of their vehicles to run an errand or grab a meal on their way to or from the base. No pumping gas, running into the post office or picking up a cup of joe, either.

Although Marines were always largely prohibited from wearing uniforms off base, they were allowed to make brief stops during their commutes. Now they can stop only for a medical emergency, a traffic accident or a breakdown.

Fast food drive-thrus packed
Around Oceanside, a community about 35 miles north of San Diego where Marines from neighboring Camp Pendleton are a common sight, the most noticeable effect is at fast food drive-thrus. Long lines are forming because Marines in uniform are not allowed to get out of their cars and go inside.

John Alexander, who works at GI Joe’s, a military surplus store, said customers don’t drop in during the middle of the day anymore, though business picks up in the late afternoon.

“There’s no such thing as a quick trip anymore,” he said.

Navy Senior Chief David Matthews, 39, said the scene is the same in Jacksonville, N.C., outside Camp Lejeune. Matthews said some Marines and Navy personnel have come up with creative ways to run errands during duty hours.

“They get a buddy who has civilian clothes on to go with them. They drive and wait while their buddy gets out of the car and runs the errand,” he said.

Strict punishments
Marines caught in uniform off base can get a warning; for repeat offenses, they can be restricted to their barracks and their pay can be docked.

While the military has always had strict guidelines for what service members can wear, even out of uniform, Conway said the updated regulations are about maintaining Marine “uniformity and pride in appearance.”

“It wasn’t that Marines were blatantly breaking the rules. It was more of a tradition, and we just needed to get it back in the box, put it in writing and say here’s the policy, here’s the rules,” said Staff Sgt. Jesse Lora, a spokesman at Camp Pendleton.

Earlier this year, the Marines banned extra-large tattoos below the elbow or the knee, saying such body art is harmful to the Corps’ spit-and-polish image.

Some businesses are getting creative to cope with the no-cammies-off-base rule, which was issued in July.

In Oceanside, the Colimas Mexican Restaurant, popular for its takeout lunch, now runs a sort of carhop service for Marines, who call in their orders and then wait in their cars for delivery out front.

Andrea Cerda, who works at Dorothy’s Military Shop, a tailor shop, said it is not uncommon to see Marines changing clothes in their car, wriggling out of their pants and boots and into civilian wear.

“You see them bending around their steering wheel or moving back and forth in the driver’s seat and you know what they are doing,” she said.

During a quick trip recently to drop off dry cleaning in Oceanside, Lance Cpl. Nicholas Doucakis, 20, had to change clothes on base. He said the regulation didn’t bother him.

“If you are a Marine, they want you to look a certain way,” he said. “I guess in a way they don’t want you to look like a disgrace to society.”

Looser rules for Army, Navy personnel
As for other branches of the military, Army soldiers can wear combat uniforms off base, and Navy personnel can wear some uniforms off base and off ship.

Under the updated Marine regulations, women are prohibited from baring their midriffs, wearing any lingerie-type clothing on the outside or wearing low-slung pants or blouses that show excessive cleavage.

“On the topic of wearing lingerie as outerwear, is the commandant kidding?” said TV style guru Tim Gunn of Bravo’s “Project Runway.” “Has this really been an issue? Surely, the Marines aren’t accepting Britney into their ranks.”
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Old 10-20-2007, 02:36 AM   #2  
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it is a good thing

it makes it a pain when you are leaving work and want to run into a store real quick but it is just one more thing that sets the Marines apart and I like it. For some reason it always irked me to see two soldiers cruising through the mall in their camis
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Old 10-20-2007, 05:56 AM   #3  
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I didn't realize that the ban on wearing cammies out in the civvie world was something new. When I was in, we couldn't wear cammies off base, except to commute to/from. When did they start allowing it? I was in 89-93, and maybe it was a local rule, as I was a grunt stationed in K-Bay Hawaii.

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Old 10-20-2007, 06:10 AM   #4  
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Set's the USMC apart? How does the rule accomplish that? While I understand the need for uniformity and standardization let's make standard the wear of uniforms throughout the uniformed services. A properly worn and serviceable set of utilities or flight suit does not shed a negative light on the member nor the service. I get more questions and thank yous by stopping for gas in my flight suit than I do if I'm in civilian clothes. I never understood the Navy's policy on green nomex jackets and flight suits not being allowed in public off base except for those quick stops to and from work. It's just one more QOL issue that they choose to stick back in the eye's of the Sailors and Marines who do thier job so well. I hate to say it but the Army and the AF have this one right. According to the latest Navy uniform regulations, I can't even wear my green flight jacket to the NEX. How silly is that one?
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Old 10-20-2007, 06:49 AM   #5  
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Hell when I was in the AF I think I wore my "blues" less than ten times in 7 years..... owned ONE set of BDU's...... I went probably 3 years at one point only wearing flight suits...... in my opinion the AF has that right.
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Old 10-20-2007, 07:00 AM   #6  
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Thumbs up Sudden rule change

The Officers' Club at Patrick AFB used to have a ban on flight suits; (the membership was 90% retirees, few of whom were pilots). One day, a new General took over the Eastern Test Range and promptly went flying with us. Afterward, he suggested adjourning to the Club to "debrief" and was discreetly informed of the policy. He said: "Oh, yeah? We'll see about that!"
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Old 10-20-2007, 09:18 AM   #7  
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Two thoughts (1) "A *****ing Marine is a happy Marine")
(2) Don`t like the Marines dress code? Go join the Air Force.
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Old 10-20-2007, 09:54 AM   #8  
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Originally Posted by usmc-sgt View Post
it is a good thing

it makes it a pain when you are leaving work and want to run into a store real quick but it is just one more thing that sets the Marines apart and I like it. For some reason it always irked me to see two soldiers cruising through the mall in their camis
Yeah I totally agree here. I think it is completely ridiculous to wear cammies (BDU's) in public under any circumstances. As far as I'm concerned if you aren't a recruiter or you aren't participating in some sort of public function that requires your uniform you shouldn't wear it. The only time I ever wore my work uniform out in public was when I absolutely had to stop and get gas or I wouldn't make it home (Nine times out of ten I accomplished this at the on-base gas station).

I just don't see letting any Marine wear a uniform off-base for no reason to be a good idea. Any time I was on recruiter's assistance and I had to wear my uniform in public I felt like a target. Everybody and their mother wants to walk up and debate the war or the current administrations policies with you. I've had people tell me that what I did over there was a complete waste and nobody wanted to waste more money on this "pointless war" (Never mind lives). It's just not worth the risk to have a bunch of Privates and PFC's (Or strategic LCpl's) walking around just asking to be interviewed by the media, in uniform. To me (And it seems most of the Marines on this board) it is pointless and unprofessional to wear your work uniform in public.

P.S - The policy on this was always a little bit fuzzy and it was generally assumed that you couldn't wear utilities in public under any circumstances. I think it was about three years ago that they put it in writing that if you were either stopping to get gas, stopping for baby food or diapers, or a very select few other situations you could wear cammies off base. I think this new policy just erased the old one. However, the authorization for gas and baby food etc. might have been a MCAGCC (29 Palms) base thing and not Marine Corps wide.
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Old 10-20-2007, 09:55 AM   #9  
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Good thing the Corps has their eye on the ball during wartime...just like the AF, worried about uniform regs when there are still battles to be fought.
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Old 10-20-2007, 10:16 AM   #10  
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Well, I have a 2.5 hour drive to my stopping for gas, or a quick bite is just an everyday thing. I've had many of people ask me questions about where I'm base, what I do, etc. People have asked me for phone numbers to the unit, and I'll gladly give it to them...some call, some join, some toss them. When I was a loadmaster I was making this trip daily for a while, and people saw the flight suit and would ask me about it...especially being a female. Now as a crew chief I don't do it as much, but it still turns heads especially with the new ABU's. But if you are a mature enough person this can be a really good recruiting tool. Wearing it for a cruise through the mall for hours may be a bit excessive...but stopping for gas? Come on. This is kind of rediculous.
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