Marine Corps Relaxes Standards Over Shortage
The United States Marine Corps is currently facing a shortage of woodland-patterned camouflage uniforms, resulting in a significant decrease in inventory and availability for service members. This troubling issue, first reported in the summer of 2022, has been caused by ongoing manufacturing issues and disruptions due to the COVID-19 pandemic. As a result, local commanders have been given permission to allow Marines to wear alternate uniforms, despite the deviation from standard regulations.
In a recent Instagram video, Commandant Gen. Eric Smith addressed the concerns of service members regarding the lack of woodland cammies. He announced that the manufacturing backlog caused by the pandemic is expected to continue until the fall of 2024 when the manufacturer will be able to catch up with demand. In the meantime, local commanders, battalions, and squadrons are authorized to use FROG gear or desert-colored cammies to mitigate the shortage.
This temporary solution has been implemented to prevent Marines from wearing unserviceable cammies, which could reflect poorly on the Corps. Gen. Smith emphasized that service members should not be given a hard time for wearing alternate uniforms, as this is a temporary measure to address the current shortage. He also urged patience and understanding as efforts are being made to restock and solve the shortage.
Despite the permission to wear alternate uniforms, the desert cammies are also facing a shortage and are currently out of stock on the My Navy Exchange, the retail chain operated by the United States Navy. The website has also reported that the desert cammies will only be back in stock by fall 2024, adding to the frustration and inconvenience caused by the shortage.
This shortage has also affected new recruits, with reports of them receiving only two woodland and one desert uniform instead of the standard three woodland and two desert uniforms. Many new Marines are now training in FROG gear, which is designated for deployment issue only. Marine spokesman Maj. John Parry explained that local commanders are being guided to make decisions that uphold the high standards of the service while still maintaining mission readiness and minimizing the impact on daily operations.
The Marine Corps has emphasized that this does not give Marines the authority to wear any uniform of their choosing, and they are still expected to adhere to regulations. The seasonal uniform guidance has also been adjusted accordingly, with the woodland MCCUU (military camouflage utility uniform) to be worn with sleeves down during the winter season and rolled up during the summer season.
In conclusion, the shortage of woodland cammies in the Marine Corps is expected to continue until the fall of 2024. In the meantime, service members have been given permission to wear alternate uniforms to mitigate the effects of the shortage. Recruits are also receiving fewer uniforms, and the seasonal uniform guidance has been adjusted. The Marine Corps is working to restock and solve the shortage, and service members are urged to be patient and understanding during this time.