This one order clearly explains every uniform regulation the Marine Corps has. It goes into to detail on everything from hair color to boots and utilities. From chevron placement to shaven faces. It not only explains the male uniform regulations, but female uniform regulations as well. In this essay, I will explain go over specifically grooming standards for both male and female marines, why the marine corps has uniform regulations in the first place, and what these uniform regulations mean to me as a lance corporal of marines. Let’s start out with grooming standards. What are they you ask? Well the grooming standards go into specific detail about how marines need to look. Hair has to be neat and closely trimmed. The hair may be clipped at the edges of the side and back and will be evenly graduated all the way around the head, from zero length at the hairline in the lower portion of the head to the upper portion of the head. Hair can not be over three inches in length fully extended on the top portion of the head. Extended hair, not the style of the hair, will determine its proper length.
It also states that no male marine No male marine will be required to have his entire hair length shaven to the scalp expect while he is undergoing recruit training or when such action is prescribed by a medical officer. This does not keep a male marine from having his hair clipped or shaved to the scalp if he so desires. As male marines, when we get a haircut is determined by what unit and command you are with, but it is usually once every weekend. That is almost universal in the Marine Corps, but while being deployed, everything changes and you could go a few weeks before getting a haircut. So it just depends on where you are. For females, they do not have to get a haircut once a week like the male marines. But they do still have to keep it looking professional. The order on female Marines’ hair is pretty long. It basically says that when they have short and medium hair, it can not fall below their collar in any uniform, but can still be worn loose at any time. They have other regulations on it but it honestly doesn’t apply to me.
They have an order on long hair too. It basically says that long hair will be neatly and inconspicuously fastened or pinned, except that bangs may be worn. The regulations for the wear of bangs detailed above are relevant. No portion of the bulk of the hair, as measured from the scalp, will exceed approximately 2 inches, except a bun, which may extend a maximum of 3 inches from the scalp, and no wider than the width of the head. Some females obviously disregard this order but that is on them. On to the face. The marine corps allows male marines to grow facial hair, but only in the form of a moustache. The perfect moustache for the military, believe it or not, is the Hitlerstache. It does not state that in the order specifically, but the order does state that the moustache has to be neatly trimmed. The individual length of a mustache hair fully extended must not exceed one half of an inch. I have always head it has to be one eighth of an inch above the lip and below the nose and can not exceed the sides of his lips, but when I looked up the order, I did not see that mentioned anywhere.
The rest of a male marines face has to be clean shaven at all times, unless determined by a medical officer to be dangerous to the marine’s health. Female marines are not prohibited to grow facial hair. It also talks about chest hair. It states that no marine will be forced to shave his or her chest hair, but it can not protrude over the green under shirt or the white undershirt in an unsightly manner while in uniform. The Marine Corps order talks about excessive eyebrow plucking as well. Marines, both male and female, are not allowed to do it unless prescribed by a medical officer. Fingernails have to be kept clean and neatly trimmed so as not to interfere with performance of duty, detract from military image or present a safety hazard. Fingernails shall not extend past the fingertips. I think this last part only applies to male marines, but the order does not state it. Nail polish is not authorized for male marines under any circumstance. Marines, both male and female, who are in the reserves have to comply with all of these regulations as well, except for they can wear wigs. The wigs can not be worn while drilling or while in active duty status.
The order goes into much more detail for female marines, since female marines are allowed to have hair. It talks about braids and hair color and everything, but if I typed it all, it would be well over the allotted space for my essay. Male marines are allowed to dye their hair as well, but it has to complement the person’s complexion tone. Color changes that detract from a professional image are prohibited. As male marines, we are also allowed different hair styles but our hair has to conform to the natural shape of our head. Which means no Mohawks, or intentionally changing the natural flow of hair. We also are not allowed to spike or twist our hair in any way shape or form. As stated before, female marines are allowed to braid their hair, which is one thing male marines are not allowed to do. Also, When used, hair gel/mousse should provide a conservative, natural appearance and can not go against the natural look of a person’s hair. These are the general basics to what the Marine Corps order on grooming standards is.
The next part of this essay is going to explain why the marine corps even has these grooming standards. The standards are put into place to make us look professional, not only while at work, but while on liberty. We take pride in calling ourselves marines. Only one present of people in the united states ever decided to take the step to become a marine, so why not act the part twenty four seven? If we were allowed to just grow our hair out and not shave, not a single person in the world would be able to tell us apart from a regular civilian. So what would be the point in even joining? We want to stand out, for the most part. We want people to know who we are. We earned the title, and so we should be proud of it. This also ties in to what these regulations mean to me. Our regulations are put into place for a reason, but at times can be broken or surpassed. For example, people in high profile areas are allowed to grow beards out and their hair out. Some elite members of the marine corps, for example snipers and other members of recon, need to be able to do this so they aren’t pin pointed to be killed overseas.
It kind of ties into the entire marine corps, in a way. Same as how officers overseas don’t wear shinny rank so they are harder to be spotted by the enemy snipers and enemy recon. Everything about our uniform order is put into place to heighten our likely hood of survival, or at least that is what I think. We shave to look professional, but also for sanitation reasons, which ties into the whole survival aspect I was talking about. The more hair someone has, the easier it is for bugs to live in it, example lice, and spread from one marine to the next. Which causes problems for everyone. Another reason I believe it heightens our chance for survival is the fact that these uniform regulations make everyone basically look like one another. It is called uniformity. We all look the same, how is our enemy supposed to pin point one single person to assassinate? They can still get the job done, as seen in past attacks on marines overseas and in America, but it makes their job that much harder. And as a marine, that is the least we can do to protect our lives, or the lives of those around us.
Even in garrison, we are at the risk of being attacked at any time. Now that isis is basically worldwide, we need to do anything and everything we can to make sure they can not find out who we are exactly or who we work for. As a lance corporal, these very basic things to do, go far beyond shaving before physical training, or getting a haircut on the weekend. It’s the basics to what the marine corps is founded on. The small things that make up a whole. As a lance corporal, I have one of the easiest job in the Marine Corps. All I have to do is make sure I am on time to where I need to be, be in the right uniform, and make sure I have a proper shave and haircut. If I can do those things, work is smooth sailing for me. If I can not even shave my face before I come to work, it means I am not only failing the myself to do the basics that is asked of me, but I am also failing the marine corps and what it thinks of me. If I fail the Marine Corps, what am I even doing in the service? This may seem extreme to some, but that is what it all boils down to.
Doing what is asked of me, especially the basic things. Obviously, this is not everything I have to do or worry about as a lance corporal of marines, but this is something that follows everyone in the Marine Corps. Even the sergeant major of the marine corps and the commandant of the marine corps have to shave their faces and get a haircut and keep their moustaches in regulations, and they do it on a daily basis. So if they do it, why can’t I? The marine corps tells you what you have to do and what you need to do, and it expects me to do them, whether I like it or not. As a lance corporal, even though I don’t have much rank, I still have to hold those below me to the same regulations as I am held to, which is exactly what my corporals to do me.
All in all, the uniform regulations are an important part of being a lance corporal because if I ever want to further my career in the Marine Corps and ever hope to pick up NCO, I need to follow these regulations. In closing, the Marine corps is very strict about how marines are going to look. We joined the best service and we are going to be held to higher standards than the rest. If you want to be a marine, you will obey these rules and regulation set before us. Thank you for reading and have a Semper Fidelis day!