Marines Sleeves Up: Longtime Fashion Returns

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A number of Marines are sighing in relief as they say goodbye to an unpopular policy over uniform sleeves.

First Sgt. Shawn Wright, a drill instructor and career Marine, said, "That's what separated us from every other branch, our sleeves."

The policy first appeared in 2007 when then-Commandant Gen. James Conway announced that Marines could only roll the sleeves up on their desert-brown camouflage utility uniforms during the summer months. In October of 2011, Commandment Gen. Amos declared all uniforms must have the sleeves rolled down, regardless of the time and place, all year long.

When the U.S. Marine Corps declared that Marines were no longer allowed to roll up their sleeves, the decree was met by complaints and numerous petition drives.

Amos later said of the response to his policy, "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?'"

The comment came via his Facebook page, which quickly garnered thousands of likes and a number of comments.

The policy lasted all of two and a half years before the U.S. Marine Corps realized that it was largely unpopular and decided to do away with the requirement.

According to Lt. Col. David Nevers, a Marines spokesman, the positive feedback following the repeal of the rule has been "deafening". "In the four years since we began using social media we haven't seen any post generate such an overwhelmingly positive reaction."

Not everyone was happy with the return to the old way of wearing uniforms. Said one unhappy comment, "This is why nobody takes the USMC seriously."

Regardless of whether or not this is the case, the Marines are extremely proud of their distinct nature. Even the camouflage they use has been patented—this means no other U.S military branch can copy it.

Marines must continue to wear their sleeves down in combat zones, during training, and in winter months. Leathernecks everywhere are allowed to resume rolling up their sleeves on March 9th.

Image via Wikimedia Commons

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