Marines Regain Right to Roll up Their Sleeves

Saturday, March 01, 2014
Marine Commandant Gen. James Amos before he banned rolled-up sleeves (AP Photo)

The commandant of the Marine Corps on February 25 reversed a policy that had gotten some of his Marines hot under the collar.


Starting March 9, Marines not in a combat zone may once again roll up the sleeves of their desert camouflage utilities. Gen. James Amos prohibited the practice shortly after he assumed command of the Marine Corps in 2011. That move provoked grumbling from many Marines who believed the rolled-sleeve look of their uniforms set them apart from other members of the armed forces.


Marine brass assumed the griping about the policy would settle down after a while. However, the policy continued to bother the rank and file.


 “As we have traveled throughout our Corps, many of you have let us know how important your identity as a Marine is to you and the Marines you lead. 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?’” Amos wrote Tuesday, according to the Marine Corps Times. “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.”


The reversal has been greeted with enthusiasm. “In the four years since we began using social media we haven't seen any post generate such an overwhelmingly positive reaction,” Marine Corps spokesman Lt. Col. David Nevers told The Wall Street Journal.


The ruling doesn’t apply to all circumstances, however. Marines must keep their sleeves rolled down in combat zones, in winter and during training.

-Steve Straehley


To Learn More:

Sleeves Up! Here’s Why the Commandant Reversed Unpopular Uniform Policy (by Hope Hodge Seck, Marine Corps Times)

Hello to Arms: Marines Reinstate A Corps Fashion Principle (by Ben Kesling, Wall Street Journal)

Marines Forbidden to Roll Up Sleeves (by Noel Brinkerhoff and David Wallechinsky, AllGov)


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