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Appropriate Wear of Uniform

Basic guidance (Active Duty/Reservist/Retiree and Former Marines)

Source Document - Chapter 11 MCO P1020.3G, Marine Corps Uniform Regulations

Grooming Standards.

Anyone who wears the Marine Corps Uniform must abide by the Marine Corps Grooming standards (paragraph 1004 and 8000.2 of the Uniform Regulations). Active duty/Reservists/Retirees and former Marines must also abide by the height and weight standards (paragraph 8000.2 of the Uniform Regulations).

Wear of Proper Insignia and Awards.

When wearing a Marine Corps uniform you may only wear your current rank, or the rank that you left the service with and may only wear the awards you rate per your personnel records. No deviations of this policy are authorized.

Activities where you may not wear the Uniform.

Paragraph 11002 of the Uniform Regulations provides a list of activities that you may not wear the uniform (i.e. to an event that brings discredit to the Corps, to events in support of political interests, private and/or commercial employment…).

Retiree/Reservist Wear of Uniforms.

As a Retiree/Reservist you may wear the uniform for basically any event that you wore the uniform while on active duty.

As a former Marine there are some restrictions:

You must have served during a time of war (i.e. earned the National Defense Medal during your time in service) and received an honorable discharge to wear the uniform.

Events you are restricted to wearing it to:

Military funerals, memorial services, weddings, and inaugurals.

Parades on national or state holidays; or other parades or ceremonies of a patriotic character in which any active or reserve United States military unit are taking part. ‘Wearing of the uniform or any part thereof at any other time or for any purpose is prohibited.’

Recipients of the Medal of Honor may wear the Marine Corps uniforms at their pleasure except for those specific occasions listed in paragraph 11002 of the Uniform Regulations

Civilian/Contractor wear of uniforms (paragraph 8005 of the Uniform Regs):

1. When authorized by CMC, U.S. civilian technicians serving with the Marine Corps may wear the Marine Corps service and utility uniforms except that no distinctive grade, corps device, or other Navy or Marine Corps insignia will be worn. Plain buttons of the approximate size and color of the buttons prescribed for the Marine Corps uniforms will be worn on all coats.

2. The insignia as described below will be worn on these uniforms by civilian technicians:

a. Breast insignia will be worn on the left-breast pocket of all coats and khaki shirts. The breast insignia will consist of an embroidered spread eagle facing dexter with a group of tools clutched in the left claw and an olive branch in the right claw. The lettering "U.S. TECHNICIAN" and “U.S. CONTRACTOR” will be centered immediately below the eagle. The insignia will be placed on a 3-1/4 -inch square background material of the same color as the coat or shirt, except on utility uniforms, which will utilize an olive drab fabric as background material for the emblem (for both combat and camouflage utilities, desert and woodland variations). When requisitioned, the breast insignia patch will already include the olive drab background and should be sewn directly over the existing eagle, globe and anchor. On the combat utility uniform, the insignia will be placed so that the eagle’s wings are parallel to the deck.

b. Cap insignia will be worn on the garrison cap. The insignia shall be worn on the left side 2 inches from the front edge and 1-1/2 inches from the bottom edge. The garrison cap insignia shall consist of a 5/8-inch by 3/4-inch gilt pin with the inscription "U.S. TECHNICIAN." Government civilians/contractors employed by the Marine Corps will wear the combat garrison cap without the Marine Corps emblem. One U.S. Technician pin-on collar insignia will be centered on the front center panel of the combat garrison cap, parallel to the deck.

c. Collar insignia will be worn on both sides of the collar of the khaki shirt and the utility coat, with the center of the insignia 1 inch from the front edge, and 1 inch from the upper edge of the collar. The collar insignia is identical to the garrison cap insignia described above.

d. Service/Nametapes. Government civilians/contractors employed by the Marine Corps will wear the service tapes, per paragraph 3033 of the Uniform Regulations, with the following text “U.S. Technician.” Nametapes may be utilized per MARADMIN 285/03.”

Awards Verification:
If you knowingly wear an award that you do not rate you can be prosecuted.
If you need to verify what awards you rate, please contact the Navy Personnel Center at:

Navy Personnel Command
Retired Records Section (PERS 312D2)
9700 Page Avenue Room 5409
St. Louis, MO 63132

How to Report Violations:
If you have a question on how to properly wear a Marine Corps uniform please contact the Marine Corps Uniform Board at (703)432-4607. If you identify someone who is improperly wearing a Marine Corps uniform/awards/rank insignia, please contact the Inspector General for the Marine Corps at (703)614-1349 or the Uniform Board at the aforementioned phone number.

Frequently Asked Questions:

What do I do if I suspect that someone is impersonating a Marine?
See “How to Report Violations” above.

What someone should I do if I suspect someone is wearing an unauthorized award?
See “How to Report Violations” above.

Can I wear my uniform to a wedding, funeral, or other special occasion?
As an active duty/retired Marine you may wear the dress blue “B,” blue-white “B” or service uniforms. As a former Marine who served during a time of war, see “As a former Marine there are some restrictions” in the chart above.

Can I wear utilities off base?
See Chapter 2 of the Uniform Regulations, paragraph 2005.2.

Can someone who was never in the Corps purchase and wear Marine Corps uniforms?
See “Civilian/Contractor Wear of Uniforms” above. Additionally, there are some occasions where actors may wear the uniform, but those occasions are strictly governed by U.S. Code, Title X. See Chapter 11 of the Uniform Regulations, paragraph 11004.3.d.

Can someone who was never in the Corps purchase and wear Marine Corps awards/medals?
No (unless you are an actor and meet the guidelines established in Chapter 11 of the Uniform Regulations, paragraph 11004.3.d).

What is my obligation as an active duty Marine to stop unauthorized wear of uniforms/medals?
Report the violators to your chain of command or to the Inspector General of the Marine Corps – See “How to Report Violations” above.

Where do I get proof of the awards I rate?
See “Awards Verification” above.

I am a contractor deployed with a Marine unit. Can I wear Marine Corps utilities?
See “Civilian/Contractor Wear of Uniforms” above

Can a retired Marine be buried in his uniform? If so, which uniform, and where can it be purchased?
Yes. You may buy uniforms via the Marine Corps Clothing Store. Make sure you have the individuals SSN or service number.

What is the proper uniform for a sailor attached to a Marine unit?
Sailors may wear the utility uniform or the service uniform. See Chapter 8 of the Uniform Regulations for specific guidance.

Where can I find regulations on the wearing of Marine uniforms?
MCO P1020.3G.


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July 18, 2001

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