Marine Corps Uniforms 101

Hi folks, since I've seen a few questions regarding the uniforms and what each of them are, I thought I would put out a quick primer on what Marines wear. (And more importantly, what we call them!) I’m not going to list ALL the uniform combinations, just the ones that recruits wear in training and those that your new Marines will be wearing as they head home for liberty and then on to SOI and out to the fleet.

Let’s start at the top, the dress blues that everybody knows about! There are actually FOUR different versions of this uniform in our wardrobe. They are:

Blue Dress “A” (or Blue Alphas) – this is the formal uniform with Blue coat w/sky blue trousers with medals. This is worn on formal occasions like the Marine Corps birthday ball, weddings and such. Ooh-rah!

Figure 1 Blue Dress "A" Uniform

Blue Dress “B” (Blue Bravos) – this is the same uniform but instead of the medals a Marine will wear the appropriate ribbon for the award. Slightly less “dressy” than the Alphas. (In the “old” Corps we used to wear Blue Bravos to Las Vegas as we got into the shows for free... just saying.)

Blue Dress “C” (Blue Charlies) – no blue jacket, but long sleeve Khaki shirt with necktie. This uniform may be optionally worn with a blue sweater.

Blue Dress “D” (Blue Deltas) – same as above but with a short-sleeve shirt. (Both this uniform and Blue Charlies above are typically the "uniform of the day" for recruiters.)

Ok, now let’s talk about the green “Service” uniform that your recruits will likely wear for MOST “dress up” occasions:

Service “A” (Service Alphas) – Green coat and trousers with ribbons (with badges, such as shooting badges, optional).

Figure 2 Service "A" Uniform

Service “B” (Service Bravos) – No green coat, but long-sleeve khaki shirt with necktie and ribbons. (Badges and/or green sweater optional.)

Figure 3 Service "B"  and  “C” Uniform

(Note: The Service “C” uniform is commonly just called wearing “Charlies”)

Service “C” (Service Charlies) – Same as above but with short-sleeve khaki shirt and ribbons. (Badges and/or green sweater optional.)

The Combat Utility Uniform (called “Cammies”, “Utilities” or simply “Utes”) (the camouflage uniform that you see so often in pictures of your recruits) has two different versions. One in darker green, called “Woodland” and the desert tan version called “Desert”. Generally Woodlands are worn during the winter months and Deserts during the summer, but this can be changed by the local commanders.

Figure 4 Utility Uniforms (Woodland and Desert)


Hope this helps. (All pictures are of my son! Proud Dad mode ON!) Let me know if you have any questions! 


Views: 1444

Tags: Blues, Charlies, Service, Uniforms


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Comment by 1973 Marine [Larry] on June 22, 2014 at 9:42am

My pleasure Mary

Comment by Alec428Mom (Mary) on June 22, 2014 at 9:21am

Thank you for sharing Larry!

Comment by 1973 Marine [Larry] on April 8, 2014 at 12:41pm

Hi Mair - thanks for the comment. 

Well, re: dog tags I don't think it's a requirement to wear them 24/7 unless you are in a combat theater but I'll have to check on that. 

>>> Edit to add: >>>

Ok, the regulation says: 

1. All personnel will wear one ID tag suspended around the neck and the other as prescribed by their commander, when:

a. In a combat area.
b. Participating in field training exercises.
c. On military operations.
d. Traveling aboard military aircraft.
e. Outside CONUS (unless otherwise directed).

Note that this refers to the "dog" tags. If you have a medical tag (allergic, etc.) you are required to wear that 24/7.

< end added text /p>

Yep, I know how you feel as I've got pride running over! 

Best regards to you and your honey,


Comment by raisedhimright on April 5, 2014 at 4:36pm

Las Vegas..........Larry............really:):)!  Seriously, the uniform educational course is terrific.  Question, dog tags: doesn't the recruit have ti keep them on 24/7?  Just curious.  Proud Dad is fine with this proud Grandma:).



Comment by 1973 Marine [Larry] on April 4, 2014 at 5:53am

My pleasure Latriece, thank you for the comment! 


Comment by Latriece on April 4, 2014 at 2:20am

Thanks Larry.  Good to know.

Comment by 1973 Marine [Larry] on March 23, 2014 at 9:49am

All Marines get their dress blues issued now Latriece.

The blues, like all their uniforms, are actually "purchased" by the Marine, but they are also paid a special uniform allowance which covers the cost, so it's just like they were given to them. (Kinda confusing but it's the government... what can you say? LOL)


Comment by Latriece on March 23, 2014 at 9:14am

Very helpful.  Are blues earned or purchased?

Comment by 1973 Marine [Larry] on March 4, 2014 at 2:45am

Hi ProudBigSis and thanks for the comment! I'm glad that this helped a bit, and believe me, regardless of whether he scolded you or not, I bet he was smiling HUGE on the inside. 

I've got two big older sisters of my own, and know how it feels to have your siblings so proud of your accomplishment! (Given that my accomplishment was a LONG time ago! haha)

Congratulations to him and you, and welcome to the Marine Corps family!


Comment by ProudBigSis3rdBatallion on March 3, 2014 at 9:46pm

YES! I needed this. My brother uses the "Military uniform language" all the time and it is all so foreign to me! I was attempting to help load his uniform bag in the car after graduation and I was scolded for not handling it with "care". Needless to say I dont even touch them now! :) Thannks for the info- very much appreciated.


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