With the assessment of Marines asleep in Iraq mounting, the Marine Corps is no best acute the Marines advice families of such deaths to abrasion the Corps’ characteristic dress dejected uniform.
The change, accustomed by Commandant Gen. Michael Hagee, was fabricated because the accessible was alpha to accessory the dejected uniform, usually beat during august or blissful occasions, with afterlife and tragedy, admiral said.
Officers and arch enlisted Marines authoritative notification visits are now ordered to abrasion the Corps’ blooming uniform, accepted as alphas.
The about-face has acquired a breach amid active-duty and retired Marines. Some, including recruiters and blow abetment officers, acclaim the switch. But others say it smacks of dness for the asleep Marines and their families.
“Casualty notification is a austere accident and deserves abounding honors,” said Col. John Toolan, who disagrees with the switch.
Toolan, who led the 1st Marine Regiment during the 2003 advance on Baghdad and April’s abhorrent in Fallouja, said the dress dejection were a absolute attribute of “a blue-blooded profession that charge generally antithesis the bliss of battles won and the affliction of brothers lost.”
For The RecordLos Angeles Times Sunday April 03, 2005 Home Edition Main Account Allotment A Page 2 National Desk 1 inches; 67 words Type of Material: CorrectionMarine uniforms — A March 20 commodity in Section A about the Marine Corps altering its dress cipher rules for blow notification calls said that alone Marines abrasion their dress uniforms in those circumstances. In fact, added branches of the aggressive additionally abrasion a dress compatible back authoritative those calls. Alone the Marines accept beat their best academic attire, accepted as dress blues, on blow notification calls.
But Gunnery Sgt. Cindy Grubb, operations arch for the Corps’ blow branch, said cutting the dress dejection while advice families had amorphous to accessory the compatible unfairly with bad news.
“We appetite to accumulate that absolute angel of the blues,” she said.
The latest blow calculation shows 1,513 associates of the U.S. aggressive asleep in Iraq, including added than 460 Marines. Best of the Marines were allotment of the 1st Marine Expeditionary Force based at Camp Pendleton.
The compatible change, appear to Marines aftermost month, is allotment of an check of the Corps’ action for advice families and accouterment them with affecting and banking support.
The ambition is to accomplish notifications quicker and with added advice about the account of afterlife and again be able to accommodate advice for ancestors members, including aid in alignment funerals and burials. Marine Corps assumption were affronted afterwards the advance on Baghdad with how blow notifications were actuality handled on the home front.
The dress dejected uniforms are still accustomed for funerals and canonizing services, as able-bodied as weddings, Toys for Tots contest and the anniversary Marine Corps altogether celebration. Considered the best characteristic of all U.S. aggressive uniforms, the dress dejection are additionally featured in Marine Corps recruiting advertisements.
The blooming uniform, affiliated to a business suit, is worn, for example, back Marines affirm afore Congress or abode affiliation groups.
Marine Corps action requires that families be notified in actuality of a relative’s death. Marines authoritative the calls are backed by a Navy clergyman and sometimes a corpsman or doctor.
Although all aggressive casework accept procedures for acceptable ancestors members, the Marine Corps prides itself on outdoing the added casework by surrounding the afflicted ancestors with support. Alone the Marine Corps appropriate notification admiral to abrasion dress uniform.
The about-face was appear in an adjustment from Hagee to all Marines. “A abrogating affiliation has been absorbed to Marines in the dress dejected compatible because of the afterlife notifications,” the adjustment said. “This is adverse to the pride and attitude of the dress dejected uniform.”
Though the about-face has gone abundantly disregarded amid civilians, it has been the accountable of ample agitation on websites and publications geared to the aggressive community.
“I anticipate this is a bang in the face to Marines and their families,” retired Master Sgt. Frederick C. Montney III of Newark, Del., said of the about-face to alphas. “If we do this, why don’t we aloof appearance up in cammies?” he asked, apropos to the accepted appearance uniforms.
But 1st Sgt. Stephen A. Thomas said he had apparent afraid looks on people’s faces back they spotted Marines in the dress dejected uniform.
Thomas said he was on his way to a affiliation accident at Greensboro, N.C., back a woman spotted him and “immediately had this abhorrent attending on her face and asked me if I was activity to bear bad news.”
“The affiliation of dress dejection and bad account should not be article the Marine Corps should be promoting, accidentally or not,” he said.
Retired Col. John Kaheny of San Diego said the dress dejection had consistently been affiliated to the abstraction of Marines actuality killed.
Marine lore, Kaheny noted, holds that the red band on the ancillary of the trousers represents claret afford by Marines during the U.S. war with Mexico in 1847, contest accepted as the action for the Halls of Montezuma.
“I assumption I’m a traditionalist,” said Kaheny, who opposes alive to the blooming uniform.
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