In 2011, Marine Corps Commandant, General James Amos shocked Marines around the globe with the announcement that our combat utility uniform ("cammies") will be worn with sleeves down, year around, effective 24 October 2011. This change was to promote uniformity of appearance - Marines deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan with sleeves down, so the decision was made to wear them that way at home too. Also, sleeves protect Marines from the sun and insects even in a garrison environment. Many Marines agreed that not only does it look sharp, but it is something we've been doing for about a century. Above all, rolled sleeves sets Marines apart from soldiers, sailors and airmen.
On 25 February 2014, the web was abuzz with the release of the below message announcing sleeves up effective 9 March 2014.
Sgt. Maj. Barrett and I have now spoken to the majority of you about our efforts to "Reawaken the Soul of our Corps." Each time that we have talked with you, we come away with a strong belief that you "get it." You understand that our renewed focus on the four enduring principles of: DISCIPLINE; ADHERENCE TO STANDARDS; ENGAGED AND CONCERNED LEADERSHIP (24/7); and FAITHFUL OBEDIENCE TO ORDERS, is key to resetting the Corps and getting ready for tomorrow's fight. You understand that those 4 principles define what we have called "The Soul of the Corps." They have been with us for over 238 years...it's always been that way.
As we complete the mission in Afghanistan, it's critical to understand that there will be no "peace dividend" for America's Marines...there will be no operational pause for us. The world that we will live and operate in over the next two decades will be a dangerous one; there will be plenty of work for those who wear our cloth.
As we have travelled throughout our Corps, many of you have let us know how important your identity as a Marine is to you and the Marines you lead. I can't tell you how many times we have been asked the persistent question "Commandant, are we ever going to return to SLEEVES UP?" I've thought a lot about this over the past 2 .5 years; I realize that it's important to you. Sleeves up clearly and visually sets us apart.
WE HEAR YOU MARINES!
Because of the persistence of you, my Sergeants and Corporals, this evening I am publishing a MARADMIN that will return us to SLEEVES UP status when wearing our Desert CAMMIES in non-combat areas. This will take effect on 9 March when we transition to our summer warmer weather uniforms. Get the word out Marines.
Thank you for your leadership in some very challenging times!!!