OKINAWA, Japan - The blue dress uniform, worn by Marines, is steeped in history, with roots dating back to 1798 when the secretary of war authorized the wearing of a blue uniform with red trim. Blue was chosen to represent the Marine Corps’ naval ties, the red to express sentiment for the British Royal Marines’ traditional colors.
The collar resembles that of the Continental Marines who wore high leather collars during the American Revolutionary War to serve as protection from sword blows, birthing the Marines’ nickname Leathernecks.
The 13 buttons representing the 13 original colonies and emblazoned with the Eagle, Globe and Anchor have been part of the uniform since 1804, making it the oldest insignia still in use today.
The blood stripe worn on the trousers by non-commissioned officers, staff non-commissioned officers and officers originated in 1847, and was originally created to honor the bloodshed during the Battle of Chapultepec, but it now honors all fallen Marines.
If it were not for those Marines that came before us the Marine Corps wouldn’t be what it is today, said Capt. Greg Obar, commanding officer of Company B, Headquarters and Service Battalion, Marine Corps Base Camp Butler.
“I’m proud of what I’ve accomplished, I’m proud of what the people that have gone before us have accomplished,” said Obar.
The blue dress uniform is one-of-a-kind and well known throughout the world, according to Staff Sgt. Donald A. Bartlett, a mess hall manager with 4th Marine Regiment, 3rd Marine Division, III Marine Expeditionary Force.
The blue dress uniforms are almost unmistakable, not just for those in the armed forces but civilians as well, said Bartlett. “Before joining, I thought of the uniform as the vision of Marines, I saw it and immediately thought Marines, wearing it makes me feel the most amount of pride possible.”
Marines take pride in every uniform they wear, but there is something special about the blue dress uniform, said Lance Cpl. Andrew J. Scheibner, a legal clerk with HQSVC Battalion.
“When I earned my Eagle, Globe and Anchor, and the Blues I got issued at boot camp there was a sense of pride,” said Scheibner. “It is a very professional and clean-cut look.”
Until recently, the blue dress uniform was not a required item; however, with the release of Marine administrative message 504/07, the uniform will become mandatory for all Marines starting Oct. 1
All Marines are required to have the uniform. For those who were not issued the uniform, it is recommended to purchase it using their annual clothing allowance. Those needing to purchase the uniform can find everything they need at the military clothing store.
However, Marines are reminded that special orders for sizes not normally carried may take up to three months for shipment.
This work, Blue dress uniform represents Corps’ history, by LCpl Mike Granahan, identified by DVIDS, is free of known copyright restrictions under U.S. copyright law.