Joined: January 1st, 1970, 12:00 am

December 30th, 2006, 3:00 pm #1

by Dick Gaines Dick Gaines (Login Dick Gaines)
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I have long known that the Marine dress blues were redesigned in 1947, but I was not aware of the reasons behind this. But alas, there is a story here too. Myself, I have always thought that the old blues blouse w/o the pockets looked better than the new version. I have mentioned this before on my sites and forums, and received a few responses from old salts stating that they had been issued old style blues after 1947, and most disagreed with my opinion preferring the appearance of the new blouse w/pockets.

Once again, a few facts related to the above have come to my attention from the writings of Colonel Robert Debs Heinl USMC (Ret.), deceased.

Col Heinl writes in his book, Soldiers Of The Sea, that in the years immediately following World War II, and during that period the :unification battle" where the Marine Corps was threatened with being legislated out of existence and/or being absorbed into the army, the War department had convened a board to survey the post-war lot of the enlisted man. The recommendation of this board, which Col Heinl describes as "mischievous and insofar as the regular forces were concerned." It called for an almost complete leveling between officers and enlisted men, with a concomitant abandonment of disciplinary traditions proven in peace and war. Saluting was to be 'deemphasized; officer and enlisted uniforms were to be made alike; badges of rank made small and inconspicuous; officer and NCO priviliges slashed. "From the "egaltarian tenor of the Doolittle report, one had the impressions of the peasants and workers remolding the Tsarist armies of the 1917. Everything was there but political commissars and comrades."

Col Heinl goes on to say that Marine uniforms were then made to make it difficult to tell officers from enlisted men,; officer-style pockets were put on redesigned enlisted blues; enlisted chevrons were kept small, and; the salty and distinctive barracks cap was abolished in favor of a more conservative one like the officers.

The Corps was almost forced to accept the Army ranks of master sergeant, technical sergeant, and staff sergeant, but accept them we did. It had been recommended that the rank titles of chief sergeant, sergeant ist, 2d, and 3d class be adopted, and this nearly came to be. No wonder the CMC accepted the Army rank titles as a compromise.

"That this stroke created a new Corps without gunnery sergeants and abolished rank titles in some cases going back to 1798 (such as quartermaster sergeant) was seemingly overlooked."

I take note here that the Marine Corps had indeed used the rank titles of M/Sgt, T/Sgt, and S/Sgt (among many others) for some years, but all of these mentioned were originally Army ranks. It was the Marine Corps who combined two of these previously Army ranks to create the Marine Master Technical Sergeant. And, of course the Master Gunnery Sergeant was a variation of both the uniquely Marine gunnery sergeant rank which dates to 1898, and the (Army) master sergeant rank.

Surprising it is that these cases of political correctness, or just plain bullsh1t, depending upon your personal perception and choice of terms, seems to appear not only without end, but also almost without beginning--unless you would go back to the Garden of Eden.

Semper Fidelis
R.W. "Dick" Gaines
GySgt USMC (Ret.)

R.W. "D1ck" Gaines
The Original
"Gunny G"
GnySgt USMC (Ret.)
1952- (Plt #437PISC)-'72
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