Former Korea Marine Finally Gets Dress Blues

This was in one of the local papers today. I have known Mr. Lancing for years. Steadfast servant to the community, and just an all around nice guy who will take care of you the best that he knows how. And the new breed of Marines stepped up and took care of him.

LEOMINSTER — James Lancing thought he may never get the uniform.

The at-large city councilor served in the Marines during the Korean War, but he was never issued the Corps’ dress-blue uniform after his tour.

Lanciani said he considered approaching U.S. Rep. Jim McGovern to ask if he could help him get the formal outfit of the Marines.

But he never did.

“If it wasn’t meant to be, it wasn’t meant to be,” Lanciani said.

However, once the Leominster Fire Department got word that the councilor did not have the uniform and that it was something he felt was missing, the folks in the department made sure it was meant to be that Lanciani had the dress blues.

Deputy Chief Jeff Davis said that on a recent summer day, firefighters were gathered on the front bench outside the station when one of them mentioned that Lanciani did not have formal Marine wear and had an interest in getting it.

“The idea was born and the plan was set forward,” Davis said, adding that it took some work, “between researching what type of uniform, the medals Jimmy had on, where to buy it, what size he is and, most importantly, how to display it and how to present it.”

The Fire Department checked all the boxes off the idea Monday when they presented Lanciani with a framed uniform, bearing his Marine medals, in front of family, friends and local officials at the fire station.

As Lanciani was introduced and given the uniform, he fought back tears.

“I always prided myself, and still pride myself, as a proud Marine,” Lanciani said. “I can tell you I feel complimented and proud to be a United States Marine.”

Lt. Jonathan Campagna, a fellow Marine, presented Lanciani with the uniform. He said the councilor embodies the traits of a Marine: honor, courage and commitment.

“He served his community honorably, the same community that fostered the love of this country,” Campagna said. “We have been blessed to have him serve the city of Leominster as a council member for years. He has brought that first-to-fight mentality to the council’s chambers.”

Lanciani will step down from the City Council after his current term is up.

“It’s true that every Marine is proud to be a Marine,” Campagna said to Lanciani. “But Jim Lanciani, you are one of the few Marines that makes other Marines proud.”

Lanciani was given a standing ovation as he accepted the gift.

“From the bottom of my heart, thank you and God bless you,” he said.

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24 thoughts on “Former Korea Marine Finally Gets Dress Blues”

  1. As a Korean war vet, what’s this about being issued blues? I think blues cost over $75.00 at that time, that was over a months pay.

  2. I went in February ’53. Never knew of anyone who was issued Dress Blues at that time. I suppose that Sea Going Marines, Embassy Marines and some such units were issued them. I remember wishing that I had them but couldn’t afford them on my pay. Doesn’t matter though, I am still a Marine

  3. I was with FMF for two tours, nobody was issued Blues,because we were grunts. When I was transferred to to a Marine Barracks,I was issued a set of blues ,because needed for some of our duties.

  4. I was one of the lucky ones. Musicians were issued dress blues. I was a Field Music MOS # 5591. I always preferred being in an infantry company, including in the Korean War. The T/O weapon was a .45 Automatic, which I qualified with. Some years later, as a San Francisco Police Officer, it became necessary to shoot a man, with a large knife, about to attack some Fire Fighters. Due to the large crowd, I had to be precise, and was. The suspect survived. I credit my ability to do this to my Marine Corps training. Semper Fi!

  5. My brother was a Korean Veteran,Was at the Chosin. I was in from 55 to 59, him or me were never issued Dress Blues. I was in the FMF my whole tour and never gave it a thought because we always wore our greens on liberty and our tropics and kacki’s for base events. Wore utilities most of the time.

  6. Good for those firefighters…….I joined in ’53 and had several duty assignments where my blues were needed. Got married in them and all the jarheads in the wedding party were in blues. Have kept mine in good shape and plan to be buried in them. Can’t guard them old gates in greens can I, needs to be the best for that assignment. Semper Fi brothers…………can’t be prouder than I am of being a Marine.

    1. a lot of us FMF type’s were never issued Dress Blues we did not need them. I am sure they will be issued when we guard the gates.

  7. In from June 1955 until June 1959 and never had “Dress Blues”. I think in 55 they cost $37 and I never had the extra money to spare. Don’t think I ever would have worn them any way. Maybe Marine Corps Birthday. I think we had about five guys wearing at Final Inspection. I was just as proud of our tropical and greens. Looked just as nice if worn right.

  8. I joined the Marine Corps 2/11/58. Still had 4 months of high school. Left for active duty on 6/9/58. Served at Camp Pendleton till 11/59 Then transferred to Hdq and Mike Battery 4th Bn 12th Marines for the rest of my 3 years. Always think those were the best days of my life. Never issued dress blues. We were issued the Gray Overcoat, Gray Blouse , and Gray Battle Jacket plus the tropicals and fatigues. Never wore the Grays out. Now they don’t fit any more!!! I wonder why Ha Ha Discharged a Corporal E4. Never been prouder!!!! Semper Fi to all!!!!!!

  9. I I listed in 1942 and did not get any Dress Blues only sea going got them . I went to the 2nd Marine Div.nson. 8 Reg 1first batt. Hq. Company. as a wire man. Like they say once a Marine always a Marine.Semper Fi

  10. I enlisted 10/04/48. We were issued Blues in Boot Camp, MCRD San Diego.I pulled duty at Kaneohe & Pearl Harbor. C/O was Col. L.B.Puller. In July ’50 we formed up as 1st Replacement draft, landing in Masan, S.K on 08/20/50. A/1/5 from Pusan, Inchon & Chosin. by the time i got out of the hospital at Santa Margarita aboard Pendleton i was issued all new uniforms. My Blues were never found. I have not a clue where all my gear went.

  11. Enlisted in late 1950. Went to Korea in early 1951. We were never issued Blues. We were proud to be Marines even though no Blues. Wore our Greens. Left our Sea Bags at Kobe Japan on our way to Korea. We were told that after we got Korea secured, we would go back by Kobe and pickup our Sea Bags, if the rats and mice hadn’t ruined them. Never got back to Kobe, because of spending a lot of time on Hospital Ship USS Repose in Pusan Harbor. Then eventually evacuated back to main land. Was issued a second set of Uniforms, but still no Blues. Always wondered what happened to that warehouse full of Sea Bags. Guess all the varmints had a nice cozy home in them, We were very proud of our Tropical Greens and to be a Marine!!!!! It’s a great thing that Mr. Lancing got his Blues after all this time. Enjoy them and Semper Fi to you!!

  12. Like Marine B. Gordon I hit MCRD Oct. 1950 and never saw a Marine in Dress Blues. Went to Korea F-2-1 and then 4 deuce 8th Marines and still no Blues. Think it’s great that Lancing received his in this manner. Very similar story as Grodons except we unload and left our seabags at Pusan and never saw them again. Semper Fi

  13. Dress blues were opitional if purchased, they were never issued. The only time we wore dress blues was when we had our formal boot camp picture taken and then it was only the top half handed to one Marine after another for the photo shoot. The reason why a lot of Marines didn’t have dress blues (and wanted them) was because of the cost. In the early 70’s I believe the cost was about $90 and back then we still could not afford them. Sgt. S.C. Guibord, 72-76

  14. Dress blues were opitional if purchased, they were never issued. The only time we wore dress blues was when we had our formal boot camp picture taken and then it was only the top half handed to one Marine after another for the photo shoot. The reason why a lot of Marines didn’t have dress blues (and wanted them) was because of the cost. In the early 70’s I believe the cost was about $90 and back then we still could not afford them. Sgt. S.C. Guibord, 72-76 (So, sad as every Marine should have access to a set of dress blues issued not purchased)!

  15. Dress Blues? We had Greens, Trops, and Kackis, oh of course Utilities, the saltier the better…I think the Sea Marines got Blues and boots fresh out of ITR bought a used set in Oceanside with Gunny Stripes for boot leave.

    1. Totally agree, a few Marine brothers went into Oceanside and purchased used ones. Maybe all of US need to unite and get the Corps to start issuing Dress Blues to our Marines instead of having to purchase them. Is there any other branch which makes their service members purchase dress uniforms????

  16. I am so familiar with that false front we had to wear for our boot camp picture…. My only regret is I didn’t buy it…. My son is also a Marine and I look at his and feel jealous…. I spent 5 1/2 yrs in the Corps and never wore a set of Blues…… Semper Fi… H. Young 0311/2311 RVN 65/66/69

  17. I went through MCRD San Diego from Apr to Jul 1964. I would have liked to have gotten a set of Dress Blues. The only one that did was the Platoon Honorman. Nowadays I see graduate pictures of the kids in tropical shirt and dress Blue trousers with white barracks cover. An old salt gave me his dress blue trousers when he mustered out. I bought the coat and belt with white gloves and white barrackcover. Only problem is I wore them to get married and it was scorching hot. The trousers were woolen like the bunk bed cover. I would appreciate it if someone would post to and let me know how much they would cost today. I sure would like to be buried in them.


    1. Semper Fi I was in platoon 168 2RTB PI Feb/May 51 At that time only Sea going received blues but I do , remember donation the $1 every pay day and the DI stand there making sure everyone donated, those that didn’t paid for it after returning to barracks.If I remember the pay was 32 dollars a month. great memories and guys—— have a great day Henry

  19. I am not very pleased to read the Marine had “No Formal Uniform” This is not true and it really pissed me off. We Marine’s are not issued Dress Blues. You will get a partial issue for Recruiter duty or career planner you get trousers and cover, If you are going to be a in special duty you will be issued a set of dress blues IE. embassy duty or 8th And I drill team. ALL other Marines which is over 95% are issued a dress Uniform which is the “Marine Green”. We have trousers, long sleeve shirt and tie with tie bar and a green blouse with belt and brass shined buckle. The occasion will call for Alpha, Bravo or Charlie categories of the uniform. The highest level would be Alpha with medals and ribbon and that is A FORMAL DRESS UNIFORM FOR ALL MARINES. When we had the Marine Corps Ball Many in the FMF will be wearing the Formal dress uniform of the Alpha Dress greens. The wanted to give him a gift that is fine, but to say he never had a formal Marine Uniform is false and disrespectful to my Marine Corps Uniform regulations. Capt Kerins US Marines (ret) Mustang Officer No. 762 in the Marine Corps Mustang Association.

  20. Never had them as a grunt Co. L 3rd Bat.8th Mar. Division. 1960 to 1963.on to supply until 1964. End of enlistment.

  21. I was in korea and spent three years in the marines, and I and the others in my company never had dress blues,wish I had one now but just to late…….

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