Marines 'Sleeves Up' Policy Reinstated, Unisex Caps Rejected

Thursday, 27 Feb 2014 08:08 AM

By Michael Mullins

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The Marines' "sleeves up" policy has been reinstated, after the Corps in 2009 decreed that rolling up one's sleeves was a violation of their uniform code and that all Marines were to wear their utility uniforms "sleeves down." The Corps also is saying no to unisex caps.

The restrictive sleeves rule was widely opposed by the majority of Marines. The branch's higher-ups reversed the policy this week.

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"The Commandant has been leaning into it for a while now, as he has taken to heart the many conversations he’s had with thousands of his [noncommissioned officers] in recent months," Lt. Col. David Nevers said in an email to the Marine Corps Times. "After speaking to a theater full of corporals and sergeants yesterday at Quantico, he decided it was time to announce the change."

Beginning March 9, Marines will once again be able to roll up their sleeves.


"That's what separated us from every other branch, our sleeves," First Sgt. Shawn Wright, a career Marine who was a drill instructor, told The Wall Street Journal.

The controversial rule had reportedly led to several petitions aimed at reversing the restrictive dress code. It was also a become a frequent topic of discussion during Q&A sessions between which enlisted personnel and high-ranking officers.

"I can't tell you how many times we have been asked the persistent question, 'Commandant, are we ever going to return to SLEEVES UP?'" General James Amos, Commandant of the Marine Corps, said Tuesday in a Facebook post on the Marines Corps' page. "I've thought a lot about this over the past 2.5 years; I realize that it's important to you. Sleeves up clearly and visually sets us apart. WE HEAR YOU MARINES!"

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The "sleeves up policy" does not extend to Marines serving in combat zones or in training exercises in the winter months. But for everyone else in the winter months, it was mandatory to keep the sleeves down.

In addition to the reinstatement of the "sleeves up" policy, the Commandant also squashed the proposed dress uniform change that would force Marines to wear unisex-style caps, or covers as they are known in the Corps, which many Marines rejected. The decision to reject the unisex-style caps was made last October.

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