Recruits honored to wear U.S. Marine Corps uniform

Recruits honored to wear U.S. Marine Corps uniform

Recruits of Company B, 1st Recruit Training Battalion, turn in their camouflage utilities to have their name tapes sewn onto them aboard Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego March 29. The uniform fitting is also held to ensure recruits are correctly sized for their dress uniforms. Photo by LCpl Benjamin E. Woods.

MARINE CORPS RECRUIT DEPOT SAN DIEGO (April 11, 2013) - To be a U.S. Marine, one must go through a tough initiation process known as Marine Corps Recruit Training. Recruits strive to complete this training to earn the title and respect of being in an elite fighting force. Being able to wear the Marine Corps uniform during recruit training gives recruits a taste of what they are working toward.

Recruits of Company B, 1st Recruit Training Battalion, went through their final uniform fitting aboard Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego March 29 to ensure they have been altered to fit properly.

The history of Marine Corps uniforms date back to the founding of this nation. During that time, traditions developed and have left a lasting impression on the Corps. Among those traditions is the nickname ‘leatherneck' that has stuck around today, though the protective leather neck collar garment hasn't been worn since 1872. A lot of careful planning and slight adjustments have made Marine Corps uniforms what it is today due to changing battlefields and technology.

"There is a lot of attention to detail," said Sgt Justin E. Barnes, drill instructor, Platoon 1025, Co. B, 1st RTBn. "The uniforms are very distinct and have a unique look."

During the uniform fitting, recruits get to put on the Marine Corps dress and service uniforms to check for proper fit. This is one of the few times in recruit training they are allowed to wear their uniform, and for most, their first. Recruits finally get to see and feel what they've been working hard for during their few weeks of recruit training.

"It feels great putting on the uniform," said Recruit Shuo-en Lee, Plt. 1026, Co. B, 1st RTBn. "It's like finding your identity and who you are; you feel like somebody."

Recruits aren't the only ones that get a sense of pride when they are trying on the uniforms. Drill instructors who have dedicated themselves to recruits over the entire recruit training cycle feel it as well.

"I feel a lot of pride seeing recruits put on the uniforms because that's my product there," said Barnes, who is about to complete his second cycle as a drill instructor. "The recruits know how precious it is and it's as big of a deal to us as it is to them."

The tradition, honor, pride, and legacy of the Marine Corps uniform continues one recruit cycle at a time. They continue to be a selling point for those interested in joining.

"The uniforms were a part of what drew me in because I liked how people looked in them," said Lee. "They look very professional, tight, and very neat."

The recruits have learned about something that they will take pride in throughout the rest of their Marine Corps career. The drill instructors have made sure of it.

"We instill great pride in them," said Barnes. "That way they will then go out to the fleet and continue to maintain and carry the honor and tradition with them."

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