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Survey shows no desire to change SNCO evening dress uniform

By Gunnery Sgt. Bill Lisbon | | March 6, 2008

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After nearly five years, the push to develop a new evening dress uniform for male staff NCOs halted after Marines pushed back, the senior enlisted Marine declared March 1.

 In an e-mail addressed to sergeants major and master gunnery sergeants, Sgt. Maj. of the Marine Corps Carlton W. Kent wrote that a majority of Marines throughout the Corps didn't want to change.

 In November and December 2007, Marines were asked to participate in a Web-based survey in order to provide feedback on the proposed uniform for staff noncommissioned officers.

 According to Kent, the votes against the new design outnumbered those in favor of a change "by a wide margin."

 The proposed design eliminated the bow tie and waistcoat and replaced them with a coat resembling the officer's evening dress that fastened at the collar while the remainder hung open. The design would have increased the cost of the uniform by approximately $50; the current design costs approximately $500 new.

 The uniform is optional for staff NCOs. So even if the uniform was adopted, they would not be required to buy one.

 Uniform regulations state the outfit can be worn year-round in lieu of the standard blue dress uniform for black- or white-tie social functions, such as the Marine Corps birthday ball.

 The evening dress uniforms for female enlisted and officers already resemble each other.

 Kent asked his fellow senior enlisted to "get the word out to all Marines that we heard their voice."

 "We put it on the Web site to ensure we received feedback on what the Marines' thoughts were," wrote Kent.

 In 2003, Marine Corps Systems Command proposed changing the enlisted evening dress uniform. Over the last five years, though, the idea never made it to the commandant's desk for a final decision, said Mary Boyt with the Marine Corps Uniform Board in an Oct. 19, 2007, article in the Marine Corps Times.

 "It is time to put this issue to rest," wrote Kent.


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