Marine Corps Reverses Ban on Rolled Sleeves

Rolled SleeveMarines can go back to rolling their sleeves after a three-year ban on the practice following an announcement this week by Marine Corps headquarters.

Marines had rolled the sleeves of their desert camouflage utilities in non-combat areas up until October 2011 when Marine Commandant Gen. James Amos ordered sleeves down year-round. The change will go into effect on March 9 when the Marine Corps switches to the tan desert uniform.

When Amos first announced the ban in 2011, he received quite a bit of push back from unhappy Marines. We’re wondering what you think about the decision now to reverse the order and allow Marines to bare their arms in the warm weather months.

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67 Comments on "Marine Corps Reverses Ban on Rolled Sleeves"

  1. It's right there in the Constitution for god's sakes, the right to bare arms!

  2. The army way looked better, maybe they'll bring that back too.….

  3. I have to wonder about the men/women who may have gotten tatts during the ban…..

  4. Let the gun show commence!!!!!!!!!! OOH RAH

  5. Some of the rules and regulations for the military uniforms are ABSOLUTELY RIDICULOUS!! Like a ban on rolled up sleeves… Where did that come from and what was the reason it was instituded in the first place? Back in the 80's we were not allowed to wear our wooly pully in flight overseas. I was not about to freeze in the airplane so i wore my full dress greens. Until I got to Okinawa and almost past out from the heat. Luckily some high ranking officer saw that people were freezing on the flights and said we could wear the woolies in flight.

  6. This all began when the Marines started wearing their sleeves mid-forearm as a fashion trend on the battlefield, likely inspired by SOF… . This came back to the US and in garrison I saw Marines up to MGySgt doing it. Multiple verbal and written warnings were issued from HQMC and CMC to the field to roll the sleeves up correctly, The fact the leadership in the field could not seem to make this happen consistently was the first real confirmation of my theory regarding the shift from NCOs, SNCOs and Os practicing leadership to what I call "buddy aid". Too many people confused being liked with being respected. Multiple SgtsMaj in my unit were more like everybody's grandpa than their Sgt Maj, and they just couldn't seem to bring themselves to consistently correct Marines' mid forearm wear of sleeves, holes in T shirts, dirty clothing, etc. Hopefully things have changed in the intervening years and the sleeve rule will be enforced to the regulation and the day of the mid-forearm sleeve are over. Step up to it NCOs and SNCOs – if an O has to do this someone is not doing their job.

  7. The rolled sleeves is part of the Marine Corps, it SHOULD have never changed.

  8. I wonder if this is damage control by the Commandant. His reputation has taken a beating for trying to suppress Marine Corps Times for their coverage of his role in persecuting the Marines involved in the urination video and shutting up whistle blowers…

  9. Old news came out last week.

  10. I do not care what the reason was, safety should always be your first priority and rolled sleeves should never have been a problem. Long sleeves can get caught in machinery and equipment and can be a real hazard depending upon what you are expected to be doing.

  11. fivetechnotes | March 4, 2014 at 6:21 pm | Reply

    This is a big reason why I got out of the USMC. It's easy to be hard but hard to be smart.

  12. MGYSGT Spanky | March 4, 2014 at 6:53 pm | Reply

    Who gives a schit how the navy, army or coastie do it! That was NOT a question!

  13. As an old WWII Marine vet, I find it amusing that rolled up sleeves is a topic of discussing. Back then we could do it except in assembly when all were expected to look alike in dress.

    Once a Marine always a Marine – even at my age 84 years.
    Cpl J. T. Price, USMC

  14. Yeah now if they could only do away with the stupid rule on tattoo's! I went in the Corps in 95 with my left arm sleeved, was a damn good Marine, got out and tried comming back in after about a year and ahalf and they said no. Crazy! You would think with all the PC people out there they would think it a form of discrimination. Every time i went to a new post got the ussual looks, but once they knew I was squared away they had no issues!

  15. I wasn’t aware of the change. Heck I’m really out of the loop! Marines have rolled their sleeves up as long as I can remember. My dad was a Marine and 20 years later I was, too. The Marine Corps needs to stop trying to go mainstream and like the Army. Stick to what makes us unique and different from the rest!

  16. I used to love rolling up my sleeves… Who cares about tats…

  17. Maybe it was all about hiding the tattoos. Now that Gen. Amos has one, it's okay…..

  18. These new marine officers / commanders are making my marine weak they need to grab a hold of there nuts a get there head out there ass they are making us weaker and weaker sleeves rolled up makes you know that guy or female is a in the Marines we ain’t making marines now a days like we used to were making usmc look like army soldiers g

  19. "The Right To BARE Arms" …..Buford, you got it right!!! Now that's a damn good interpretation of the Constitution. It's good to know my Marine Corps still has a sense of humor. Having served from 1977 to 1992, I'm from the "sleeves up" camp. I spent a lot of time in "29 Stumps" and anyone else who has, knows that 120 degree heat will wear you out with sleeves down. Let's just welcome the backtrack and move on. Y'all know not every officer knows how to do that, even when it's the right choice.

    Respectfully to Everyone,

  20. If a uniform has long sleeves, roll 'em down. If a uniform has short sleeves, problem solved. It's one or the other.
    If the Corps wants to save money on uniforms, design them with short sleeves. Think of all the material not used
    which translates into lower cost. Heck, why not go with shorts for summer use when not in combat zones. Lower cost, more comfortable.

  21. If they want to change uniform stuff. Get rid of the name tapes. I was pissed when we had to start putting them on in 1993.

  22. As a former Marine, I think rolled is much "Cleaner" of a look. Good Job Marines!

  23. We were allowed to roll 'em up in the early 70's, I don't see much difference in the look now. I agree, it's a much cleaner look. Semper Fi.

  24. Used to love getting my sleeves just right, boots shined up, and having the best looking uniforms with clear pride and effort out in. That’s one of the things that has set us apart. Another is that we’re the ones who accept the the toughest, hardest, and most wanting to do something different from the herds outside of the Corps! Tattoos, scars, and general bad attitudes… Take em, turn em into Marines, and let eh do what they’d been trained for!
    It’s a shame. Our leaders either have too much time, or so much extra political crap.
    SEMPER FI MARINES! You do what you’ve been trained to do!

  25. I'm old school, 60-66. We followed orders. The least of our worries was sleeves up or down. The correct why is a Marine follows all lawful orders and wear the uniform as prescribed and with the pride of a Marine. Stop crying like some union member crying to the union steward because the boss made you mad.

  26. As I Have Said B4,Winter Sleeves Down-Summer Sleeves Up!! It's Very Simple!! That's The Way It Was When I Was In..Why Should Anything Have To Change? The Ole Story: KISS-Keep It Simple Stupid!! Semper Fi Men (Former) Gy Sgt G.L.Mitchell ,West Caldwell,New Jersey

  27. Sorry on the Ratting Trails; I was sending a thumbs up and hit thumbs down instead. Good Comment and Semper Fi.

  28. Marine's in the south Pacific, WWII, took off their shirts and got bit by the malaria bug. As soldiers there has to be some decorum but yet heat can siphon one's strength. The body should be covered so the weights of the fabric are the culprit. Hell, Marines in the frozen Chosen on Nov 27th to Dec 16th wore summer utilities. In the jungle you have to be covered. In garrison, dress should always be professional and the utilities are for the field. Rolled sleeves to me are a large pain in the rear. Semper Fidelis

  29. Hoorah! Sleeves up go Devil dogs. Tight rolls all around. Go Hard chargers!!! CHESTY would be proud.

  30. @Roger: I agree with you. I'm also "Old Corps", 1960-1966. There does seem to be a lot of whining nowadays about R&R's. Yeah, there were things we didn't like or necessarily agree with back then but you know what, we did them and got over it in a couple of days. Are people disgruntled over long sleeves because they can't display
    their tats? Move on, it's not a BFD.

  31. Do any of you remember dragging your khakis on a line behind the trasnsport? This prematurely aged the fine material that it was, and the longer the trip, the better the effect. It made something called "Shanghai khahis", and that proved you were more salty! Sometimes the line wore out before the treatment was done. Can you imagine today's regulations putting up with s–t like that. I'm 85. I roll the sleeves up whenever the hell I want._ Semper Fi

  32. It was rolled up sleeves when I was in the Fleet, years ago. There's been quite a few changes in just about everything since I've been out, almost 25 years now. Some changes for better, most for worse. Couple that with a percentage of self-serving senior enlisted ranks along with a large percentage of self serving officer corps and you get a not so effective leadership of the current day Corps..

  33. I was a Marine LT, but I started as enlisted in the 1990's. Rolled sleeves was dictated by climate and training ( not by a Corps wide common appearance)- and not really a major issue.

    What was the Commandant thinking by making such a superficial and petty order about sleeves Corps wide? It only goes to reinforce the troubling notion that today's USMC only cares about trivial superficiality over substance.

    All changes meet with some resistance, but the sheer pettiness and lack of thought in regard to this issue was disappointing. The Marine Corps needs to take a serious look at itself and its culture, and do away with dumb uniform regulations that have no grounding in common sense!

    As a proud civilian, I use an umbrella when it rains- because it keeps the rain off! Wish Marines would see this obvious fact!

  34. GradyPhilpott | March 5, 2014 at 12:39 am | Reply

    When I was in the Marine Corps (67-71), Marines on the west coast didn't roll up their utilities sleeves, as far as I know. We certainly didn't in boot camp, nor did we do so at Camp Pendleton or at the Defense Language Institute (West Coast Branch) at the Presidio of Monterey.

    When I got back from Vietnam, my first duty station was Camp Lejeune, where I saw Stateside Marines with rolled up sleeves for the first time.

    I didn't have a problem with long sleeves while in California, but I would have hated them on the east coast, with the heat and humidity.

    I, personally think General Amos made a big mistake with his initial order and I'm glad common sense has prevailed.

    Semper Fidelis

  35. It would be great if my beloved Corps would start focusing on the issues that matter like moral, pay, benefits, man power etc.

  36. VoiceofReason | March 5, 2014 at 2:09 pm | Reply

    It was never a BAN… It was to unify an organization that has built a reputation as being unified. The past ten years we've been in conflict as you all are aware. Marines in garrison stopped rolling sleeves to make it easier for Marines who were deployed upon their return as well as those Marines who deployed to replace them. As Marines now return from combat, we are returning to our unified garrison look of rolled sleeves. Semper Fi

  37. The marine corps shouldn’t have banned the sleeve rolling that’s our way of saying our guns are bigger than the other branches. Semper Fi.


  39. Armando Carbajal | March 5, 2014 at 3:37 pm | Reply

    Some officers and senior enlisted have few meaninful contributions others than those such as no rolled sleeves, NBC rolled sleeves (army style) USMC in 80's, chevron on the collar?? do something meaninful to make Marines, especially enlisted Marines more effective in and out of combat.

  40. Joseph Matisse | March 5, 2014 at 4:26 pm | Reply

    I grew up in the marine corps..and joined the brotherhood….I remember my father rolling his sleeves and unwilling them according to the season..I understood the reason…and when I became a marine I knew and understood that thete would be times when there was going to be changes to marine corps orders..its part of being a marine…you learn in bootcamp to suck it up and drive on…adapt and overcome…thats what I learned..and still stick to it. .if there are non hackers complaining about the wearing of a uniform and have problems following the regs then maybe they should get out…you signed up to SERVE AND PROTECT THE CONSTITUTION AND UNITED STATES. .that means following all orders issued over you with no complaints or question. ….

  41. Ventilation is important AND NECESSARY , WHICH IS COMMON SENSE.

  42. John Watson, RET | March 5, 2014 at 5:02 pm | Reply

    The rolled up sleeve can not inform in looks, because every has as different idea as to what is right when measuring the roll.

  43. Make a short shirt to be so r n on base only.

  44. Since when do d Marines question orders. You are a Marine do what you told, like it or not.I sure would like t o have some of you in a Fox vol err with me. Question t ion my orders and their will be a body bag with your name.

  45. If you have ten Marines and Two2() want to roll their sleeve will the all be in or out of uniform of the day?

  46. who will be in the uniforms if all do not roll their sleeve

  47. Marcus Roemelen | March 5, 2014 at 6:41 pm | Reply

    There are more important issues than rolled sleeves.

  48. I posted abiout an issue that could be addressed by Marines instead of rolling up the sleeves. It concerned cleaning up Politics, specifically, the White House.

  49. Roger, old school 60-66.

    You are corrrect Marine. My hitch 69-75.
    With that said there is now many social promotions, worthless political correct promotions with Corps being run like the army, a corporation. Feild grade officers who will state all is well on their watch no matter what is the real scope. False reports to DC on how the program is working because DC says so. Infantry females ?

  50. It gets hot outside. So when it is, roll them up but do it Army style so the light non camouflage inside fabric isn’t seen. Another smart thing the Army does right right up there with name tags sewn on.

  51. As long as I can roll my sleeves … other news……..

  52. As a current Marine we got bigger isses to deal with other than this ridiculous topic.

  53. I would hope the CMC has more importent issues , other than rolled sleves on utilities . USMC 67-90

  54. DAVID A. WRIGHT | March 6, 2014 at 11:51 am | Reply


  55. robert hughes | March 6, 2014 at 1:17 pm | Reply

    Depends on the weather;
    Up sleeves for hot and down for cold weather. MOVE ON!
    And don't forget to arm bears while you're at it! (there'll be a lot less hunting of them!)

  56. GUBBINS ,PATRICK | March 6, 2014 at 3:15 pm | Reply

    I think that the Marine Corp should go back to the way they use to be back when MARINES looked like Marines. When you saw them off base they either wore civies or the Dress Uniform of the time. They didn't wear their utilities of base to go to the local beer joint like I see today.. Back then they looked sharp as a whistle not like they do today. Todays Marines may be a lot smarter but off base they look like bums. Lets go back to either wearing civilian clothes or the Dress Uniform with the Flying Saucer Cap. When I was in in 58 to 62 I loved the Corp. I got out because we started to get cry babies who couldn't take it. I do give all the Marines today who have to do the crucbiles we didn't not have them back then

  57. Sleeves up or down doesn’t matter they are still the worlds finest fighting force yut yut ooohrahh !!!

  58. I was USMC in the 70s in Hawaii rolled up sleeves were required.

  59. Rick at Kenitra | March 6, 2014 at 7:49 pm | Reply

    Who remembers wives lengthening trousers in a hurry because "short pants Pate" was coming for a visit?
    I was there in 1956 when CMC didn't like to see your socks. Why all the fuss about sleeves?

  60. Roll up sleeves look cool and neat, as long as your arms are free of tattoos.

  61. As a Ret Marine, 1992-2013, I have to say that the new look is a great look. Digital MarPat Cammies are good, they are Modern, Sleeves Up is the way it has been. Not Nessessarily bad or good, just the Traditional way for a long time. Shouldn't change a part of the Corps semi-recent history in my opinion. Semper Fi. But there will be other issues in the future.. We should be concentrating on Discipline of enforcement of the rules, and the future of those to serve and ones that already have.. Right.. Uniforms Change.. Service does NOT.

  62. Whoever thought of this was a feather merchant. Whoever enforced it was a dumbass feather merchant. I was a 0311/1833 from 1982-1990.

  63. I always wondered why the USMC rolled the sleeves the way the do? The Army and USAF had a more practical way of keeping the camouflage pattern in tact that can also be dropped to long sleeve in about 1-2 seconds.

  64. I think that every new "Big guy general" has to try and show the rest of us he's the boss. So he picks out some ridiculous little thing and changes it with their name stamped on it. In 1987 the new "Big guy" just up and said we couldn't wear our rank on our covers…. I didn't give a shit but that appears to be what they do to feel pseudo-immortal….Whatever… SEMPER FI!!!!! Hard chargers!!!!

  65. I agree with Roger. I had my sleeves rolled in 1951. It made it easier for the enemy to miss us. My brother had rolled sleeves in the 70s in Africa. My other brother his rolled sleeves in the 70s in Cherry point, NC.I don't know who ordered the change but I'll bet he never had been a true Marine. The Constitution states " The right to bare arms. We are obligated to protect the Constitution. nuff said
    SSGT Ed M

  66. I am in the Army and have been wearing the uniform ACU with sleeves down in 90-100 degree heat for the last 6 years. I am prior service Navy and was stationed with the Marines. Sleeves up in the hot summers in garrison makes to much sense. Sleeves down promotes dehydration and makes a Soldier miserable. The Army has brain washed these new Soldiers into thinking they are much cooler with sleeves up because their skin is not exposed to the sun, causing sunburn, or to dangerous bugs. Sleeves up gives you some relief and convection, (air passing over the skin to take away heat cooling the skin). Worried about sunburn? Then put on sunblock, worried about a mosquito bite? Insect repellent. A majority of us if honest, especially us prior service and us who knew the days of sleeves rolled up will say it is a very professional look, when done right, and comfortable. Why do we have to be miserable? Don't make sense.

  67. The reason the military (not the Army, Marines or any one group) made the decision to roll the sleeves down on the BDUs was for safety and to uphold the integrity of the 'radar dispersing' agent used in them. One earlier post suggests that sleeves up is safer than down because of machinery hazards – not true. While there are some potential dangers presented by the loose sleeve, since it buttons at the wrist, these are minimal. Much greater hazards are presented by poor camouflage of the arms, therefore being seen by the enemy, exposure to harmful sunburn, radiation and chemicals, infection from wounds caused by scrapes, cuts, insects, etc. Additionally, quite contrary to some beliefs, the soldier is actually cooler with sleeves down because circulation is easier with unrestricted bloodflow to and from the heart. I think the real issue was presented by another poster – why can't we just be Marines and different than everyone else? My response is why should you be? Actions speak, not uniforms. I've seen real heroes rise up from the ranks who didn't wear fancy berets or special boots or tattoos who fought just as bravely and accomplished just as much or more than anyone with a badge or tab.

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