Marines Say New Uniform Orders on the Way Amid Shortages

U.S. Marine Corps utility uniforms hang up.
U.S. Marine Corps utility uniforms hang up while Young Marines participate in basic Marine training events at Marine Corps Base Camp Pendlton, Calif., July 28, 2018. (U.S. Marine Corps Photo by Lance Cpl. Audrey M. C. Rampton)

The Marine Corps is still facing shortages of military uniforms, including the commonly worn combat utility blouse, but the service says relief is on the way.

The Corps says that its uniform supplier will be shipping more blouses soon.

Posts on social media have claimed the Marine Corps Exchange at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, has had a notice about a shortage of MARPAT -- the term for the uniform's distinct pattern -- up for months. When asked about the reports, Marine Corps spokesman Maj. Jim Stenger confirmed in an email Monday that availability of some service uniform items has been curtailed due to supply chain issues.

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"In the case of the combat utility blouse, our vendor is currently shipping thousands more coats from its facility, which should alleviate some of the supply chain issues for that item," Stenger wrote.

This is not the only uniform item that has been affected by problems with the supply chain. In December, Marine Corps Times reported that the branch was forced to push back the required wear date of the new female dress blue coat because of shortages.

Stenger told Marine Corps Times last month that the running suit, the men's long and short-sleeved khaki shirt, and the all-weather coat were also suffering supply shortages.

The Corps is not the only branch dealing with a lack of uniform items in its stores.

In late September and early October, sailors faced shortages of the Navy's recently mandated black rank tabs in stores, leading to reports of scalping and a run on the small cloth loops.

Both the Army and Air Force ran out of hot weather uniforms for women last summer after a contract dispute with one manufacturer brought production to a standstill.

In 2021, the Air Force was forced to issue fewer uniforms to airmen graduating from basic training because of a lack of inventory.

The Marine Corps rolled out the combat utility uniform -- easily recognizable by its two camouflage patterns that are derived from pixilated or fractal designs -- in 2002. Since then, it has been relatively popular with Marines for its low maintenance cost and overall comfort, in contrast to the dressier service uniform.

-- Konstantin Toropin can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @ktoropin.

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