New Uniform Rules To Take Effect For Marines

Marines in uniform may wear bracelets commemorating friends killed in action, but the wristbands might be hidden under a new rule ending the Corps' tradition of rolling up their sleeves.

Marine Gen. James Amos, Corps commandant, Tuesday announced approval of the KIA bracelets, usually thin rubber or metal bands, each bearing the name of a fallen comrade.

"We are acknowledging the close personal nature of our 10 years at war and the strong bonds of fidelity that Marines have for one another, especially for those fellow Marines who we have lost," Amos said.

The bracelet decision takes effect immediately.

However, beginning Oct. 24, the Marines' combat utility uniform must be worn with sleeves rolled down year round, according to a policy change issued Tuesday. Tightly rolled up sleeves have been a Corps' tradition.

The sleeves rule was made at the same symposium as the bracelet approval, but the decision were unrelated, officials told Stars and Stripes military newspaper.

The sleeves rule sparked an outrage in social media posts.

"This sleeves thing is frigin stupid," one person tweeted to the secretary of the Navy. "You need to step in and show some leadership."

"The ladies in my office are devastated that my biceps will now be hidden from their view," tweeted one person identifying himself as an officer.

"Pretty soon, our name tapes and rank will be Velcro too," said a tweeter who claimed to be a former Marine.

A Marine spokesman tweeted that sleeves down with "cuffs lightly against the wrist allows for increased air circulation in a hot weather environment." He also said sleeves down "protects against harmful sun rays, biting insects."

The bracelets were technically not allowed under Marine Corps uniform regulations. Nevertheless, some troops wear them while in uniform, and some but not all commanders had been telling them to stop.

That put some Marines in a dilemma: On one side was the Corps' tradition of good discipline and following orders. On the other, the searing emotions of a force hit with rising casualties as it helped reverse insurgent momentum in Afghanistan's southern Taliban stronghold.

Amos' decision also permits bracelets memorializing those missing in action and those who died of wounds or injuries sustained in a combat theater, the Corps said in an official statement.

Permission was granted after Amos met with senior leaders at a Marine Corps General Officer Symposium, a group that makes recommendations to the commandant, the Corps said.

The Marine Corps Times reported that a visit Monday by Amos and his top enlisted officer, Sgt. Maj. Mike Barrett, to Corps' Air Ground Combat Center in Twentynine Palms, Calif., sealed the deal.

Several Marines returning with a battalion that lost five members during heavy combat while deployed seven months in Afghanistan wore KIA bracelets, the Times said.

Amos asked the Marines about the bracelets and received "positive feedback," an official told the Times.

Details of standardization and uniformity will be issued by the end of the week, the Corps' said.

The regulation on Marine uniforms does not specifically mention the KIA bracelets among jewelry authorized for wear when in uniform. It says Marines can wear watches, but they must be inconspicuous; necklaces must be worn inside the uniform and not visible; men can't wear earrings, though women can wear one per ear. Both sexes can wear inconspicuous rings — one to a hand but not on their thumbs.

The bracelet prohibition has been the same for men and women in the Marine Corps, a force of some 202,000 that is only 6 percent female.

All the service branches have similar rules on jewelry, though they parted ways on some specifics, including on bracelets.

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All U.S. Marines will now be required to have their sleeves on their camouflage utility uniforms rolled down all year long, starting Monday.

A Marine Corps spokeswoman says that even though it will be hot in the summer, deployed marines under a sleeves down rule in Afghanistan are required to do the same thing.

Marines will still change from the summer desert uniform to the winter woodland pattern twice a year under the new order.

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  • by mike Location: jax on Nov 3, 2011 at 12:39 AM
    also they must wear pants when going to a convenience store.
  • by USMC retired Location: Beaufort county on Oct 22, 2011 at 04:42 AM
    Whoever thinks it is cooler with sleeves down has never rolled them down. As far as bugs and sun, etc. we always rolled sleeves down in the field.
  • by Anonymous on Oct 22, 2011 at 12:18 AM
    There have been a lot of crazy things going on since Barrack Obama became Commander in Chief.
  • by mom Location: nc on Oct 21, 2011 at 05:28 PM
    I saw 2 buses of marines today at a fast food rest. every one of them had their sleeves rolled up.
  • by Whazzup Location: Ayden on Oct 21, 2011 at 04:16 PM
    When I was a young trooper in the Corps, stationed at MCAS Yuma, AZ in 1969, USMC uniform regulations were to wear your utility blouse with the sleeves down. It was in the early 1970's when the 'tradition' of folding up the utility blouse sleeves. The civilian population must remember that the military is based on discipline, adhering to rules and regulations regardless if you feel they are just or not. In fact, if the civiliand started to adhere to rules and regulations and laws, it would be a better society.
  • by Earrings? on Oct 21, 2011 at 02:44 PM
    So are they gonna ban wearing earrings? Sometimes it's the only way to tell if a guy is gay.
  • by Patsy Cline on Oct 21, 2011 at 01:30 PM
    They allow homosexuals but not rolled up sleeves??? You have got to be kidding me. It's their tradition! More crazy politicians at work here. Obviously they don't have enough to think about with our troops overseas..... Madness is afoot.
  • by John Location: Richlands on Oct 21, 2011 at 01:16 PM
    Give this about two maybe three more CMC and it will change again. I have seen us put our rank in the center of our cover then that stopped, we at one time had to wear a V neck T-shirt supposedly because our CMC had a hair chest. Some wanted to see it because they felt it was sexy. We went with name tapes same as the other branches it is still around. In time some expert will come up with a short sleeve camo shirt and all will fall in love with it. I would like to see the cover changed a little so it would be a little cooler. Redesign it with some mesh to allow air flow.
  • by Anonymous on Oct 21, 2011 at 08:59 AM
    The Commadant has a reason for what he does. If you don't understand, work on it.
  • by The Original ENC Location: enc on Oct 21, 2011 at 08:57 AM
    I'm sure it is to hide the tats. Sorry, but in this one I agree. Soldiers all tattoo'ed up just makes them a little less professional looking to me. That being said: Thanks for all that our soldiers do.

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