Uniforms of the Marine Corps
We offer a few bits of information about Marine Corps uniforms. For official information, please use the link below:
Official Marine Corps Uniform Regulations:
USMC Uniform Regulations
The Marine Corps has three different types of uniforms -- "field," "dress," and "service" (see link above for official regulations). The service uniforms include Alphas, Bravos and Charlies. The dress blues uniforms include Alphas, Bravos, Charlies and Deltas.
There are three field uniforms including Combat Utility, Flight Suit and Mountain Warfare. The most common is the Combat Utility, also known as MCCUU (Marine Corps Combat Utility Uniform) but it most commonly refered to as the "Utilities" or "Cammies". They are available for different uses in Forest Green and Desert Sand. The new "cammies" have a digital camouflage pattern suitable for "every clime and place".
We've included a chart below for your reference. Note: "A" is also known as Alphas, "B" as Bravos, "C" as Charlies, and "D" as Deltas.
Image info: Retired Sgt. Maj. James Snyder, an 82-year-old veteran of the Korean War and Vietnam, who served for 28 years, and a native of Dayton, Ohio, shakes hands with Marines dressed in uniforms from periods throughout Marine Corps history during the 2013 Marine Corps Base Hawaii birthday pageant at Dewey Square, Nov. 8, 2013. Each costume is a replica of a uniform worn during different historical eras, from the Revolutionary War high collar, or "Leatherneck," to the current camouflage utilities. Each uniform highlights the evolution of the Marine Corps from past to present, while also showing Marines still carry the same values and traditions today as when the Corps was established in 1775.
—U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Matthew Bragg
|Uniform||Description||Occasions for Wear||Leave/Liberty|
|Evening Dress ("A"/"B")||Dark blue w/black or dark blue trousers/skirt, enlisted wear sky blue trousers||Year-round for white tie/black tie social functions||No|
|Blue Dress "A"/"B"||Blue coat w/sky blue trousers/slacks, and dark blue skirt w/ medals ("A") or ribbons ("B")||Parades, ceremonies, formal/semi-formal social functions (winter season only unless uniformity is required)||"A" No
|Blue-White Dress "A"/"B"||Blue coat and white trousers/skirt/slacks w/medals ("A") or ribbons ("B")||Parades, ceremonies, formal or semi-formal social functions (summer season only)||"A" No
|Blue Dress "C"||Khaki long-sleeve shirt and tie/black necktab w/trousers/skirt/slacks, blue sweater optional||Parades, ceremonies and uniform of the day (blue sweater worn as uniform of the day only)||Yes|
|Blue Dress "D"||Khaki short-sleeve shirt w/blue trousers/skirt/slacks||Parades, ceremonies and uniform of the day||Yes|
|Service "A"||Green coat and trousers/skirt/slacks w/ribbons (badges optional)||Parades, ceremonies, social events and uniform of the day||Yes|
|Service "B"||Khaki long-sleeve shirt w/green trousers/skirt/slacks (badges optional) Green sweater optional||Parades, ceremonies, uniform of the day (green sweater worn as uniform of the day only)||Yes|
|Service "C"||Khaki short-sleeve shirt w/green trousers/skirt/slacks (badges optional) Green sweater optional||Parades, ceremonies, uniform of the day (green sweater worn as uniform of the day only)||Yes|
|Combat Utility Uniform||MARPAT desert and woodland coat and trousers (sweater or sweatshirt optional)||Working/field uniform only (woodland during winter/desert during summer season)||No|
|Physical Training Uniform||Olive green undershirt, shorts, sweatpants/shirt with a black Marine Corps emblem on the upper left trouser leg and over the left breast of the sweatshirt. Marine Corps green running suit (pants and jacket) with a silver emblem on the upper left trouser leg, scarlet and gold "USMC" on lower right pant leg, silver emblem over the breast and scarlet and gold "MARINES" across the back. (ALMAR 019/08)||Physical training (PT), field day, and limited leave and liberty occasions as detailed below:
Only the running suit jacket and sweat shirt may be worn for PT and non-PT leave and liberty situations. The bottoms (running suit pants, green undershirt, sweat pants and shorts) are restricted to PT situations only. (ALMAR 019/08)
|Yes, as detailed to the left. (ALMAR 019/08)|
Marine Uniforms Versus Army and Other Branches of the Service
Marines are often confused with soldiers, who are in the United States Army. Some differences in appearance are:
- Marines do not wear berets.
- Marines wear boots only with the utility uniform, not other uniforms.
- Marines do not salute unless they are wearing a hat (known as a "cover").
- Marines do not wear covers indoors, unless they are "under arms", i.e. carrying a weapon or wearing a duty belt.
- The Marine service uniform, roughly equivalent to business attire, has a khaki shirt. The equivalent Army uniform has a light-green shirt. Enlisted Marines wear their rank insignia on the sleeve of the service shirt, officers on the collar. Army soldiers wear their rank insignia on epaulets over the shoulder.
- The Marine class "A" service coat is olive green (as opposed to forest green for the Army) and has a waist-belt. The Marine service uniform is worn with either a barracks cover, which has a bill and a round top, or a garrison cover, which comes to a peak.
- Marines are less generous with awards and unit identification. For example, with the exception of breast insignia denoting a few specialized qualifications such as airborne (parachute), pilot or scuba qualification, or red patches sewn on the trouser legs and covers of some logistics Marines, Marines do not normally wear any insignia or device on their utility uniforms denoting their unit, MOS (military occupational specialty), or training.
- The hat (cover) of the utility uniform is constructed differently. Marine hats have eight sides and corners (hence the name "eight-point cover").
Differences in the utility uniform include:
- Marines wear green-colored "skivvie" undershirts with their utility uniform, even in the desert. Soldiers wear brown undershirts. (Note, as of 2004, the Marine Corps has announced the intention to switch to brown undershirts when desert camouflage is worn.)
- Marines "blouse" their boots. That is, they roll the cuffs of their trousers back inside and tighten them over the boots with a cord. Soldiers either blouse their boots or tuck their trousers directly into their boots.
- Marines do not wear any rank insignia or other device on the utility cover. The front of the cover has instead the Marine Corps Eagle, Globe and Anchor emblem.
- On their utility uniforms, Marine officers typically wear their rank insignia on both collars, while Army officers typically wear insignia on one collar and an insignia identifying their specific "combat arm" (i.e. infantry, artillery, armor) on the other. In a garrison environment, Marine officer's insignia is usually shiny metal, and is affixed in a manner similar to a pin, while Army officers usually wear a subdued stiched on insignia.
- Marines used to wear black combat boots with the utility uniform, as do the Army and Air Force. But in 2002, light-brown combat boots were introduced along with a new type of camouflage, the "MARPAT" uniform. Effective 1 October 2004, black combat boots were declared obsolete and no longer authorized for general wear by Marines. Exception is made for black safety boots worn for certain tasks, such as parachuting.
- As of 1 October 2006, the old-style camouflage utility uniform, also worn by the Army and Air Force, will be declared obsolete. The only utility uniform authorized for Marines be the MARPAT uniform.
- As of 2004, both the Army and the Air Force have announced plans to replace their old-style "pickle suit" camouflage utility uniforms with newer designs similar to the Marine Corps digital "MARPAT" pattern.