A company of female Marines made history Friday after becoming the first group of new Marines to debut the Corps’ latest dress uniform.

The approximately 129 Marines of November Company, 4th Recruit Training Battalion were the first on the depot to graduate recruit training in the new version of the female Blue Dress Coat.

The new coat features the iconic mandarin collar, white belt and gold waist plate seen on male Marine uniforms. The current female coat is open collar with a neck tab and a white shirt underneath. The coat mostly resembles the current male version although it lacks pockets and lines on the uniform.

Mary Boyt, a member of the Marine Corps Uniform Board, said plans to introduce the coat began in 2013 when then-Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus instructed the Navy and Marine Corps to come up with ways to streamline uniforms and make them more unisex where possible. During a survey process, Boyt added many female Marines expressed that their current uniform wasn’t being recognized as belonging to the Marine Corps as civilians were more familiar with the more common male version of the coat.

“This has been an issue that has come up to the uniform board several times in the past,” said Boyt. “Female Marines have asked for the ability to wear the male uniform or something similar to the male uniform. We knew what the male uniform looked like, and we wanted to develop a female uniform that was similar to the males but met the unique design challenges of the female shape. So, we didn’t want to just throw a male coat on them and say this is it.”

For many drill instructors with November Company, the graduation was their first time publicly debuting their new blue dress coat. Many said the new uniform aligned them more with their male counterparts.

“Its very form fitting…it fits pretty well,” said November Company DI Sgt. Jazmin Penado, describing the new coat. “Now that we’re wearing the same uniform as male Marines, I feel like we are all equal. I know that’s what the Marine Corps is striving for, to make everything the same. I personally love the uniform.”

November Company Drill Instructor Staff Sgt. Kara Sykes, who serves as unit historian for 4th RTB, said the new uniform is a throwback to older female uniforms dating back to the World War II-era and is a return to form for the Marines; especially in light of the recent centennial marking 100 years of women serving in the Marine Corps.

“If you look back at history, when females first came into the Marine Corps, we had the high coats with the high neck collars and then we changed over the years to a different coat,” she said. “The coat we have now is similar to when we first started. We’re bringing it back. It’s a good time for us to actually wear the coat…to see the history, to see how far we’ve come and to come back to history.”

The new coat will gradually replace the current coat over the next several years and will become a mandatory uniform item in October 2022, at which time the current coat will become obsolete.

Last August, recruits with Papa Company, 4th RTB became the first recruits to be issued the new coat; however they did not graduate in the coat as it is only worn for graduation in winter months.

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    1. I guess they decided that since we’re handing out Dress Blues to everyone we might as well hand out rank and ribbons, too. Am I the only one who noticed that the Platoon Guide appears to be overweight?

        1. Negative! I spent three years on the grinder and not once, not once did my smokey or anyone else’s ever get worn canted nor did it get that way by a properly fitted and used sword! Especially during a parade or drill comparison. You must have been in another Marine a Corps, because you sure weren’t in mine. The picture that was used is somewhat demeaning to the female Marines, in that they do not appear to be fitted properly, nor do they represent the ladies have earned in a dignified manner. A lot more research and design, plus proper fitting of the uniform is needed before being put on display.

    1. One more question: I thought only the Senior Drill Instructor wore the black leather belt. In this picture, all of the Drill Instructors are wearing them. Is this a new thing?

  1. Tilted covers, military alignment, all PFC’s on graduation day? I don’t understand. Also 4 rows of ribbons, for what accomplishments?

    1. Well, she has been in for over 16 years. The WMs need to learn how to wear the uniform properly. No bottom button showing, no wrinkles up front

  2. 1958 MCRD issue was green dungarees, green class A, khakis blouse and trousers, trop worsted blouse and trousers, but no blues. They were issued only for certain MOS’s , not for 0311 like me. At a monthly pay of $85.00 I couldn’t afford them and after a while I decided I didn’t need them. Left instructions to be buried in my dungarees. Semper Fi.

    1. I remember that also. the only recruits issued Dress Blues were Sea Duty Marines or as we called them Sea Going Bellhops. Our pictures were taken with a phony jacket that fit over the front but had no back. Made it easy for them to go from one Marine to the next for pictures. Fun Times.

  3. As with all changes, it takes time to get used to seeing new uniforms. Come on, look how much the “male” dress blues have changed over 243 years. We Women Marines have come full circle with our 100 year history!!!!!

  4. I think it is a good picture of Marines, all you that run them down are probably just wana be’s. Vietnam Dec66 to Aug68 back in May 69 to Aug 69. Went with 1/9, 2/9, 3/9, 2/26 and others on many operations.

        1. Notice no reference to any combat units, that’s right I guess I remember their were garrison Marines and field Marines. Like I said Top wanna be’s. Most of these new Marines could kick our ass.

      1. Hey Sgt Sisson! Have not heard from you in a while. Doing OK? Getting ready to leave for PGH VA for Monday meeting. Will not be crowded today being first day of rifle deer season. Harry

    1. I do’nt understand all of the fuss! Old Corps, New Corps, Newer Corps big f’n deal. Things change deal with it! I will say though they could have looked a little more “Squared Away” for the debut.

  5. I don’t care one way or the other about female Marine blues. I love female Marines. After I retired, I worked for a jet engine overhaul contractor. My favorite former Marine Sylvia would walk in to the machine shop floor and in her best bellicose and obscene loud voice yell out “I’m looking for some squid!”. Sylvia could make the horniest guy go limp.

  6. Good move, except in the presentation. Sloppy, ill fitting, and alignment off on most of them, including the 16 yr Gunny. Needs a little more work in the tailor shop to get the blues right.

  7. It’s the cover that I dislike. The previous WM blues cover actually all their covers were the best. Change isn’t always an improvement. As for the ‘blouse’ maybe it could improve with a lot of tailoring. I’m old corps, 1965-85, retired CWO-3

  8. Bottom Line is “You get what you get and don’t throw a fit.” HQMC could care less about what old Marines think about changes to policy, tactics, gear, uniforms, personnel, etc. There were Marines who disliked changing from the 03 to the M1, from the M1 to the M14; some who loved the herringbones and hated the sateen utilities; some who never wanted the M422 Mighty MIte and hoped we could keep the M38A1 Jeep. As my beloved Gunny used to say, “I love change, I just don’t wanna be there when it happens.”

  9. Remember Marines, we have changed uniform, field utilities, boots, etc., over the years without making remarks. Give the female Marines time to adjust their uniforms and maybe they will conform and make them look sharper. Semper Fi.

  10. “Give that old Marine Corps Spirit“ you all know as well as I do, like our old DI’s whould say. You never know who’s looking that’s why your ass better be square a way…!! This pic proves this platoon is un sat…!! It doesn’t matter whether it’s old or new, they just don’t look squared away. Doesn’t matter about the uniform, it’s about how you wear it. A Marine can make a army uniform look a lot better if he was in it, not sure what happened here in this pic?? Semper-Fi till I Die 78-84 Beirut 1/8 RIP my fallen brothers OOH-RAH!

  11. in 88 it was the same, only the platoon top recruit got blues the rest of us were in greens the pic was probably the same pull over blues from the 50s,lol, as far as these uniforms, im ok with the idea, let our wms look the same, i always thought womens unis in the corps looked too cutsy kinda hard to take serious dont discriminate, and that includes the physical standards for combat units if a woman can pass the same standards as a man then she has the right to lead in combat.

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