SecNav’s ideas on uniformity are behind unisex wear-tests

(Marine Corps illustration)

(Marine Corps illustration)

The Corps’ tests on common uniform items for male and female Marines stemmed from the Navy secretary’s philosophy that all service members should look the same — regardless of gender.

Navy Secretary Ray Mabus said when he looks at a group of Marines, he shouldn’t see female and male Marines, just Marines.

“That’s the advantage of having one cover,” he told Defense Media Activity during an Oct. 31 interview. “We don’t ask any other group to wear a different uniform, and the whole term of uniform means, the same.”

Many Marines, unhappy with the proposed unisex covers, laid the blame squarely in the commandant’s lap, perhaps unfairly.

Marine Corps Times cover from July 22, depicting wear test for unisex dress blues.

Marine Corps Times cover from July 22, 2013, depicting wear test for unisex dress blues.

Mabus’ spokeswoman, Cmdr. Tamara Lawrence, said the secretary didn’t issue a directive to either of the branches about how to conduct the wear tests, but he shared his view on male and female service members looking the same during a meeting with Commandant Gen. Jim Amos and Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Jonathan Greenert.

“It started from a conversation that the secretary had with both the CNO and the commandant where he shared his philosophy on service members in uniform, that when you see two service members walking toward you, they should be indistinguishable,” Lawrence said.

The Marine Corps began wear tests for unisex uniform items this summer. Women at Marine Barracks Washington sported tailored versions of men’s dress blue jackets, with mandarin-style collars, during this year’s parade season. And last month, the Marine Corps Uniform Board met to discuss the adoption of a universal cover for men and women.

Female mids at the Naval Academy wear the male combination covers as part of their uniform.  (Naval Academy)

Female mids at the Naval Academy wear the male combination covers as part of their uniform. (Naval Academy)

The Navy conducted its own wear test on a common cover for sailors and officers.

None of the wear tests have been particularly popular among Marines or sailors. In fact, the outrage over a common “Dan Daly” style cap for male and female Marines made national headlines when it was unveiled last month.

Both Amos and President Obama were blamed for the unisex cover proposal, which prompted the commandant to release a statement assuring Marines that the commander in chief had nothing to do with the wear test. Amos also told Marines that the Corps had “zero intention of changing the male cover.”

When asked about the change to male covers by a Military Times reporter, Mabus echoed the commandant’s comments, but stopped short of taking credit for pushing the unisex look.

“I would just quote the commandant of the Marine Corps: That hat ain’t gonna happen,” Mabus said. “I mean, that’s what he said. I believe the commandant.”


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  1. Tristan McKenna on

    I understand uniformity but men should look like men nod women ahold look like women. What’s next? Men wearing skirts instead of pants?

  2. Mabus, Hagel, and Obama have turned the armed services into a sociology experiment gone crazy. They have shoved their extreme left-wing views down our throats. Their Marxist agenda threatens the security of the United States. This is pathetic.

  3. Pingback: SECNAV Mabus was behind unisex wear tests — OFFduty+

  4. So the SECNAV wants “uniformity” among service members? OK – how about all members utilizing the same PFT? And females in combat? Sounds good to me. Uniformity? I’m sure the SECNAV will soon be asking Congress to require young women to register for the Draft when they turn 18, just like their male counterparts. “Uniformity” and “Equality” among male and female service members? I’ll believe it when I see one standard in all aspects of training and performance for our military service members. Until then, this is just another waste of the tax payers’ tax dollars. The SECNAV must not have much to do these days. And frankly, until females are allowed to be in any combat arms or combat MOS, they are just taking up space in our military academies – space that should be allocated to service members who will lead troops in combat, because at the end of the day that is really what our military is for – closing with and killing an enemy.

  5. The Olympics and professional sport you have men and women at the peek of their physical fitness. You have running, jumping, boxing, swimming, football all the physical contact and non contact sports, where do you see men and women competing against each other in sport? Combat is the ultimate contact sport, whether bullet, bayonet or hand to hand it is kill or be killed. Why does sport recognise that men and women are equal but different and yet idiots are trying to force the military to accept that women are equal to men in the ultimate competition combat. Why is it only Presidents and others who think they are too good to serve in the military pushing all these radical changes on the military. Bradley Manning is another example of what can be expected in the future with all these hare brained ideas.

  6. I have said it before and I will say it again….men and women are different. They are built differently, born differently and look different. They should remain different. Men should look like men and women should look like women. Man are stronger than women. Its just life. Its just how mature intended it. Just like women having babies. Men are just not built to have babies. Are we forcing them to find a way to do this so we can all be “equal??” Get over the whole equality issue. There are just some things women can do and some things men can do. The faster we all accept that, the quicker we can all move on. To much time and discussion is being spent on this issue. It want until there was an “outrage” on this cover issue that the CMC and President are all pointing the blame to someone else. Leave it alone. Women should look like women and wear skirts and men should wear trousers…
    I am waiting for “co-ed” Marine Corps bootcamp and the requirement for all women Marines to cut their hair short like the men. Hell, the SecNav wants to look at Marines and see “just” Marines and not female and male Marines?? He will still see female Marines because our hair is different. And since when does the SecNav have the right to dictate how we look as genders? This is getting old…..

  7. Is this what the Obama Administration sees fit to waste time and money on with the economy in shambles. If women want equality in the Marine Corp then the must be required to attend the same training and pass at the same level as male Marines. Hasn’t been done, can’t be done. We are different and there is nothing wrong with that. I don’t want to look like a man, I’m a woman. Why can’t some people just leave well enough alone. Its a man’s world as far as I’m concerned and I’m sick of trying to placate these morons while it is undermining the strength and security of an elite fighting force.

  8. This is really rich. Google Mabus and look at his service picture as an Ensign. He looks like a hippie instead of a Naval Officer. You have the Marxist in the WH, a hippie as SECNAV, and a fellow traveler as CMC. God help us all.

  9. Maybus is a dipwad – and Amos just runs around with his lips pressed against the dipwads butt. Then the LIE about this whole thing with their first press releases saying there was never any discussion of anything to change the male cover – just the female because of a contract ending. Horse puckey… Maybry wanted to put his liberal crap in the military – and Amos was only too willing to kiss butt and try to do so.

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