MARINE CORPS UNIFORM BOARD
AWARDS (MEDALS & RIBBONS)
Question: Where can I find updated information on my awards status?
Answer: The Awards Branch. Regulations for wear of ribbons and medals with the uniform may be viewed in Chapter 5 of the Marine Corps Uniform Regulations, but awards administration is handled by the Awards Branch. They may be contacted at (703) 784-9210/9204 (DSN 278-).
BAGS IN UNIFORM
Question: I have been told that we can wear backpacks/computer bags/gym bags... with cammies, as long as they are a camouflage color (like brown, black or green). I always thought we could not wear them. I can't find anything that says specifically that we are not allowed to wear them. I've also seen a new type of backpack that you can get through the Exchange or supply system. What kinds of backpacks can we wear, if any?
Answer: Marines are not allowed to wear bags while in uniform, except as detailed in paragraph 1004.4 of the Uniform Regs. You may wear organizationally issued packs (this includes Alice Packs, camera bags and hydration systems) with the uniform the items were designed for. Personally owned camera bags and hydration systems are not authorized for wear with any uniform. You may hand carry these bags, though.
Question: Can I talk on a cell phone or wear electronic devices in uniform?
Answer: As long as you are not in motion. If you have to take the call, you need to stop to take the call - no more walking and talking on the cell phone in uniform. The local area regulations will address what you can wear and use when driving a motor vehicle. All electronic devices (to include earbuds and blue tooth technology) should be removed when getting out of your vehicle, leaving your desk... You may wear electronic devices on your uniform as long as they are not visible. If you have a cell phone on your belt, when you take off your utility blouse or service coat the device will be exposed and should be removed.
BLUE-WHITES FOR SNCOs
Question:: Can I wear the dress blue uniform with blue trousers during the summer (I'm a SNCO)?
Answer: Think of the blue white uniform as the officer/SNCO summer dress uniform. If you are a SNCO and wear the dress uniform in the summer you will wear the blue-white variation. The entire blue dress uniform is optional for enlisted Marines, and cannot be prescribed (unless issued). If you choose not to purchase the white trousers, you will not wear the dress uniform during the summer, and instead will wear the service uniform. SNCOs should use paragraphs 2003.1&2 as guidance on regulations for blue-white dress. White trousers, slacks or skirts are not worn with blue dress "C" or "D".
Question: I was on I&I duty 3 years ago and got a supplemental uniform allowance (as a SNCO), but never got the payment for the white trousers. My current billet does not rate a supplemental dress blue allowance. Can I be back-paid for the white trousers.
Answer: No back payment was approved for this allowance. Since you are no longer in a qualifying billet you do not rate payment.
BLUE-WHITES FOR ENLISTED
Question: I'm getting married in a few months, but it will be over the Christmas holidays (I am a Cpl). I would like to wear white trousers with my blues so I will stand out from the rest of the wedding party. Am I allowed to wear them for this special occasion?
Answer: Per paragraph 2003.1 of the Uniform Regulations, the blue-white dress uniform is an officer/SNCO uniform. Sergeants and below are authorized to wear the blue-white dress uniform for official military ceremonies if the uniform is issued by the command and they are part of a special ceremonial detail (i.e. command color guard, band, funeral detail - being a member of a wedding party does not count). It is not a liberty uniform for sergeants and below. So, the answer to your question is that you should not wear the blue-white dress uniform.
BRACELETS (POW/MIA/RUBBER "SUPPORT OUR TROOPS")
Question:: Are POW/MIA bracelets authorized? I can't find anything in the regulations that specifically addresses them. I've seen Marines for years wearing them, and I am pretty sure they are authorized, but I can't find the reference to back that up.
Answer: POW/MIA bracelets are authorized by
the Secretary of the Navy as per SecNav message dated
19 Sep 72: "Wearing of POW/MIA bracelets is authorized for Navy and Marine
Corps personnel -- at any time they desire, including while in uniform -- as an
expression of concern for their fellow servicemen who are prisoners of war or
missing in action. This bracelet shall be of simple design, not more than
one-half inch wide and containing rank/rate, name of the POW/MIA and date of
capture or date missing"
Question: Can I wear the rubber "Support the Troops" bracelet in uniform?
Answer: No. The only authorized bracelet is the official POW/MIA bracelet.
Question: In the past few years I have been seeing Marines slowly implementing coveralls (blue, green, etc) as the uniform of the day. Some chowhalls have even been allowing Marines to dine in coveralls. Before I tear out what little hair I have, could you tell me if there is some regulation, order or bulletin that directs the intended use of the garment?
Answer: Coveralls are considered organizational clothing. As explained by paragraph 7000, organizational clothing is prescribed by the commander, so you will have to look to your local regulations for wear. Organizational clothing is generally worn "on a temporary basis to accomplish assigned duties." If a Marine is not actively engaged in those duties, or is not in the work environment where those duties are performed (i.e., flight line, workshop, Motor T, etc), then that Marine should be in the appropriate uniform of the day (unless otherwise directed by the commanding officer).
"CAMEL BACK" HYDRATION SYSTEMS
Question:: I am seeing more and more Marines wearing camelbacks around base. I don't mind when we're in the field, but it seems common sense to me that it should be not worn in garrison. Is this in writing anywhere?
Answer: Yes, but you will not see any text that reads "camelbacks," we call them "hydration systems." Like coveralls, camelbacks may be worn if issued as organizational gear. Commanders that issue camelbacks should make it clear to Marines that they may be worn only for the purpose for which they were issued. See paragraph 7000 for more information.
MALE SHAVING OF HEADS
Question: I like to keep my hair shaved down to the scalp. Recently, I was told that this was not authorized. Since when were Marines not allowed to shave their heads?
Answer: Male Marines are allowed to shave
their heads, as authorized in paragraph 1004.5b(3). A few years ago,
a proposal to prohibit Marines from shaving their heads was reviewed by the
Commandant. He disapproved the proposal, thereby
reaffirming that male Marines could shave their heads. After boot camp a
Marine cannot be forced to shave his head.
Question: Paragraph 1005.4 talks about what is inappropriate for wear with civilian attire - shower shoes, beach or swim wear, tank tops, short shorts... Are Marines required to wear the civilian equivalent of service "C" uniforms off duty?
Answer: The paragraph you are referring to applies only to those Marines on board ship or aircraft. Uniform Board 209 provided more tools for commanding officers and Marines to use in determining what is and isn't appropriate civilian attire for leave and liberty. Unfortunately, the nature of civilian attire in itself prevents the Uniform Board (and the Regulations) from addressing individual clothing items, and instead we concentrated on unacceptable trends (e.g. midriff and undergarment exposure, low ride trousers...). You will need to look at paragraph 1005.2.a as it was changed by MARADMIN 504/07. To view the actual text, click here.
Question: What are the civilian clothing footwear regulations (can I wear sandals or flip flops)?
Answer: Footwear has been and will continue to be something that needs to be addressed at the local, vice the HQMC level, specifically when we are talking about sandals. By definition, flip flops, shower shoes, women's dress sandals... are all sandals. There is no reliable way to distinguish a shower shoe from a flip flop, as the high end flip flops can cost well over $40 and look exactly like what you would wear in the shower (yet you most likely wouldn't because of the high cost). Sandals have become so mainstream that they are no longer considered a fad. Ultimately it is the individual's responsibility to determine when it is acceptable to wear a certain type of footwear - it must be appropriate to the occasion. Wearing flip flops in Hawaii, California, Arizona is the norm and considered acceptable for almost every occasion, however, in the Washington Metro area it is viewed as a very casual footwear and should only be worn as such.
Question: I was looking for where I could find regulations on ballcaps, bandanas, or "doo rags" with little luck. Can you help?
Answer: This issue has gone back and forth several times, but the final guidance on the issue was published via President of the Uniform Board decision memorandum of 29 Jan 04 and MARADMIN 322/05. Paragraph 1005.2.a now states that while on a military installation civilian headgear will not be worn indoors, and bandannas/doo rags are not authorized for wear. Local commanders dictate who civilian headgear is worn (i.e. brim facing forward...).
IDENTIFICATION TAGS (DOG TAGS)
Question: I can't find anything in the uniform regulations that talks about dog tags. What is the correct way to wear them?
Answer: Identification tags serve an administrative function, so they are not addressed in the Marine Corps Uniform Regulations. Marines are required to have one tag suspended from the neck, and the other tag as the commander prescribes. Many commands dictate that the second tag be worn on the left boot, but check with your chain of command to be sure. Medical tags must be worn at all times. Specific regulations for identification tags may be found in Chapter 7 of MCO P1070.12, Individual Records Administration Manual (IRAM).
Question: I play bagpipes as a hobby, and I am frequently asked to play for Marine functions. I understand there is a Marine Corps tartan available for wear, but I would like to know the regulations on how it is worn with the uniform.
Answer: It's not. The tartan you mention is a corporate tartan and is not officially sanctioned by the Marine Corps. Kilts are not part of the Marine Corps uniform inventory and may not be worn with any Marine Corps uniform item.
Question: I've been away from the green side for a couple of years, but now that I'm back with a Marine platform, I've been corrected for wearing the wrong size rank insignia on my cammies. Did something change?
Answer: Yes. The regulations were changed to be consistent with the Navy regulations. Now Sailors serving with Marine units wear the larger (1-1/4 inch) black metal CPO insignia of grade. See MARADMIN 199/01, paragraph 2.c, for the change.
Question: I know that the regulations have been changed so that Sailors can now wear their warfare insignia, but I've been corrected for wearing mine in their respective primary and secondary positions. Can we wear them or not?
Answer: Yes, Sailors can wear their breast insignia (as qualified by Navy regulations). But they will be worn in the same manner as Marines wear theirs: above the service tape. See paragraph 2.d of MARADMIN 200/01.
Question: I've read on your FAQs page different answers that keep going back to organizational clothing. But the questions have to do with clothing that are not discussed in the uniform regulations. If there are no regulations for things like fleece, coveralls, etc, then how do you know when and where they can be worn?
Answer: Organizational clothing and property is defined in paragraph 7000 as anything on the commander's unit allowance list that they issue to Marines in order to accomplish some specific duty. Some items of organizational clothing are specifically regulated by provisions of Chapter 7 of the Marine Corps Uniform Regulations; some are not, and it is the responsibility of the commander to provide local regulations. Either way, there are a few basic rules concerning all organizational clothing.
Organizational clothing is only worn for the purpose it was issued. As an example, a mechanic that is issued coveralls can wear them when working in a shop, but cannot wear them when making a quick run to the exchange or 7-day store (unless your local area regulations specifically allow it).
Organizational clothing cannot be marked in such a way that the next person issued the item cannot use it. A ECWCS parka should have name tape stitched to it in a manner that does not damage its integrity. Many units overcome this by having Marines place name tapes on the pocket flap instead of above the pocket. This allows the parka to maintain its water-proof integrity when the next Marine gets it.
Organizational clothing may not be worn with civilian attire. Some items issued by commanders may also be purchased as optional clothing that may be worn with civilian attire. The ECWCS parka, if purchased by the individual, may be worn in civilian attire (with rank insignia removed). However, issued ECWCS parkas may not be worn with civilian attire.
The Marine Corps is constantly introducing new items of organizational clothing or equipment, so it is impractical to have regulations for every item. The following list of organizational items is not addressed in the Uniform regulations, it is not all inclusive: Cold weather clothing (including fleece, watch caps), Coveralls, Nomex suits, Safety boots...
PHYSICAL TRAINING UNIFORM
Question: I've seen Marines at the gym wearing a hodge-podge of PT gear, from all civilian-type PT gear to issued gear to a mix of both. What can Marines wear when they PT?
Answer: Your question is in two parts, so here are two separate answers:
1) Wear of all civilian type workout clothing may be allowed by the commander for individual physical training. Some commands have different policies on what is appropriate for wear during duty hours, so be sure to check with your local regulations.
2) The Marine Corps PT uniform (standard or cold weather) is worn when participating in unit physical training. Commanders will prescribe which uniform should be worn. All of the Marine Corps PT uniform is authorized for wear as civilian attire, but it should be worn as appropriate to the occasion.
SWEATSHIRT WITH HOODS
Question: I've seen about three different sweatshirts worn by Marines - plain, with decal, and with hood. Which one can we wear?
Answer: The olive-green crew neck sweat shirt with emblem is the only sweatshirt commanders are allowed to prescribe for formations and unit PT activities. The sweatshirt with hood has not been approved as an optional uniform item, and as such should not be worn.
WEAR WITH CIVILIAN ATTIRE
Question: I've seen Marines wearing the olive-green PT sweatshirt with the Eagle, Globe & Anchor decal when out in town. Is this authorized?
Answer: Per paragraph 1005.2.e.1 and 2 of the Uniform Regulations, you may wear the cold weather PT uniform as civilian attire. It should be worn as appropriate to the occasion (i.e. wearing the sweatpants to the MC Exchange or to the club would not be appropriate).
UNDERSHIRTS (BROWN vs. GREEN)
Question: Can I wear a coyote brown undershirt instead of olive green?
Answer: Brown undershirts have been obsolete since September 2001 and cannot be worn with any variation of the utility uniform. The Marine Corps will be introducing fire-retardant undershirts in the near future, and at this time the plan is to make those shirts coyote brown, so it can be determined at a glance that a Marine going into combat has the correct shirt on.
PROPOSING A CHANGE TO THE UNIFORM REGULATIONS
If you would like to propose a change to MCO P1020.34, Marine Corps
Uniform Regulations, submit your recommendation, via your chain of command, in
Naval letter format to: CMC (MCUB),