The Marine Corps Is Wondering If Cloth Rank Insignia Is The Way To Go

U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Jonathan R. Waldman

Here’s a familiar scenario for most enlisted Marines: You’re walking along when you see an older Marine barreling toward you with an immaculate eight-point and a shit-ton of black stripes and rockers on his collar. As you get ready to greet the fast-approaching staff NCO, you realize you can’t read his rank. The black chevrons have perfect concealment among the foliage of his woodland MARPAT uniform. He’s 15 feet away, then 10, then five. Oh shit, is he a first sergeant, no a gunny, no a master serg— Too late, so you spit out the first words that come to mind: “Good morning first sergeant.” Phew, nailed it.

Wrong. “Oh really devil dog? You don’t know a master sergeant when you see one?” Cue the predictable ass chewing.

It’s a common experience for most junior enlisted Marines. But it looks like someone higher up the chain has their backs. The Marine Corps is looking into replacing its standard metal rank insignia with cloth chevrons — a move calculated mostly to avoid rank confusion, according to Marine Corps Times.

Related: Everything You Know About The Marine Corps Uniform Is Wrong »

“That’s why the commandant is looking at cloth chevrons,” Sgt. Maj. of the Marine Corps Ronald Green told the Times on July 24. “A lot of young Marines say: ‘Hey, can we do something to make the rank insignia more visible?’ So we’re taking a look at that.”

The Marine Corps is evaluating a set "embroidered subdued rank insignia" and comparing them to the current metal rank based on visibility, durability, and compatibility, according to a Marine Corps Systems Command statement. The proposed cloth rank is being tested in different locations on the uniform, from the collar, to the upper sleeve pocket flap, and whether the chevrons will be pinned, sewn, Velcroed or affixed with a hook and loop.

Given how much it sucks to get chewed out for no reason other than not having perfect 20/20 vision, I get the idea of making rank a bit more visible, but cloth chevrons are sure to rub some devil dogs the wrong way. The Army and the Air Force use cloth rank. If there’s one thing Marines take pride in, it’s being as distinct from the other services as possible, even when the other services decide to copy the Corps’ style.

UPDATE: 7/25/17; 3:17 pm: This article has been updated with a statement from Marine Corps Systems Command.


(Associated Press/Tom Williams)

Ronny Jackson, the former White House physician and retired Navy rear admiral who had a short run as the nominee for the Department of Veterans Affairs in 2018, now plans to run for a seat in Congress.

Read More Show Less

The Pentagon will implement an "operational pause" on the training of foreign students inside the United States as the military undergoes a review of screening procedures, according to senior defense officials.

Read More Show Less
In this Nov 24, 2009, file photo, a University of Phoenix billboard is shown in Chandler, Ariz. The University of Phoenix for-profit college and its parent company will pay $50 million and cancel $141 million in student debt to settle allegations of deceptive advertisement brought by the Federal Trade Commission. (AP Photo/Matt York)

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The University of Phoenix, which is owned by Apollo Education Group, has agreed to pay $191 million to settle charges that it falsely advertised close ties with major U.S. companies that could lead to jobs for students, the Federal Trade Commission said on Tuesday.

The University of Phoenix will pay $50 million to the FTC to return to consumers and cancel $141 million in student debt.

Some of the advertisements targeted military and Hispanic students, the FTC said.

Read More Show Less
Shane Reynolds, UCF Research Associate demonstrates an AR/VR system to train soldiers and Marines on how to improve their ability to detect improvised explosive devices. (Orlando Sentinel/Ricardo Ramirez Buxeda)

As UCF research associate Shane Reynolds guides his avatar over a virtual minefield using his iPad, small beeps and whistles reveal the location of the scourge of the modern war zone: Improvised Explosive Devices, or IEDs. He must take his time to sweep every last inch of the playing field to make sure his character doesn't miss any of the often-deadly bombs.

Despite his slow pace, Reynolds makes a small misstep and with a kaboom! a bomb blows up his player, graphically scattering body parts.

Read More Show Less
US Navy

The Navy has posthumously awarded aviator and aircrewman wings to three sailors killed in last week's shooting at Naval Air Station Pensacola.

"The selfless acts of heroism displayed by these young Sailors the morning of Dec. 6 are nothing short of incredible," Chief of Naval Air Training Rear Adm. Daniel Dwyer said in a statement.

Read More Show Less