Proposed Marine Unisex Service Caps Causing Controversy In The Ranks

Published: .
Updated: .

A new universal Marine cap for men and women, to be worn with their dress and service uniforms, is causing a stir in the ranks.

"The Marine dress blue uniform is the finest looking uniform in the military and is 'iconic' - so why would anyone want to change the current look is bizarre to say the least," said former Marine Corps Colonel Danny Bubp.

The Marines are considering changing to a style known as the "Dan Daly cap."

During World War I, 1st Sgt. Daly became famous after he leapt up to lead his outnumbered unit and yelled, "Come on, you sons of bitches, do you want to live forever!"

The style of cap that Daly wore was used by the Marines from 1904 to 1918.

But many who see the proposed style say it does not fit the times.

"I have gone through hundreds of messages on our Facebook page and I've not yet found a single positive comment and they are really spun up about it," said James Sanborn, staff reporter for the Marine Corps Times.  "The Marines hold their uniform as something sacred and are always resistant to change."

The New York Post trumpeted a headline on Wednesday, "Obama wants Marines to wear 'girly' hats."

Bubp, who is also a former Republican state representative, says the Obama administration is pushing to have the Marines adopt a "unisex" look.

The effort to make male and female uniforms more similar comes at the same time the military is debating more combat roles for women.

"While we are cutting the number of active duty forces, why would we want to spend money we don't have to buy new covers for troops who already have the best looking headgear in the services?" said Bubp.  "In a day when it seems everything that is right is wrong and everything that used to be wrong is now right, it doesn't surprise me that this administration would want to make changes to the Corps."

Sanborn says there is no evidence that the president or the administration is personally pushing the Marines to make a change.

"This is something that each service has a lot of latitude in how they design their uniform," Sanborn said.  "Certainly, the Army has made various revisions over the past couple of years.  Many people may make that connection because there are so many other changes going on currently that do come from the Secretary of Defense or even higher."

The Marine Uniform Board is collecting results from a survey from across the Corps.

The board will convene Oct. 29 and take the survey results into consideration.