Politics

Marines versus the girly hats

Marines versus the girly hats

Thank Heavens we’re past that horrible “shutdown” so our mega-government can get back to the really important issues, like sticking the U.S. Marines into odd-looking hats.  If you thought hats were not high on the list of things our beyond-broke federal government should be spending $8 million on, think again.  The New York Post tells the tale:

Thanks to a plan by President Obama to create a “unisex” look for the Corps, officials are on the verge of swapping out the Marines’ iconic caps – known as “covers” — with a new version that some have derided as so “girly” that they would make the French blush.

“We don’t even have enough funding to buy bullets, and the DoD is pushing to spend $8 million on covers that look like women’s hats!” one senior Marine source fumed to The Post. “The Marines deserve better. It makes them look ridiculous.”

The thin new covers have a feminine line that some officials think would make them look just as good on female marines as on males — in keeping with the Obama directive.

“The Marine Corps is being ‘encouraged’ by DoD to standardize on a unisex/universal dress and service cap,” Marine brass noted in an internal memo obtained by The Post.

I can see where that would be more important than buying bullets.  We must not have female Marines wearing different hats.  What would America’s enemies think?  Actually, our current global enemies seem to be strongly in favor of women wearing different headgear than men.

As the Post goes on to explain, it’s time to procure new hats anyway, so keeping the old designs would save an estimated $284,000, because “the current female caps are more expensive.”  That would suggest it’s possible to justify the new headgear over the long run as a cost savings, although it seems like it would take a while to reach the break-even point.

But the Marines evidently don’t like the new “girly hats” very much, particularly on men.  It’s similar to a design that was used long ago, and discarded.  The Corps is going to vote on the proposed redesign, and thus far opinion seems to be running negative:

The controversial covers have been dubbed the “Dan Daly” hat, after a World War I sergeant from Long Island who twice won the Medal of Honor.

But some Marines love the old hat, which has been in use since 1922 and think the new hat is a glorified “porter’s cap.” The new Daly model is based on a style the Marines used from 1904 to 1918 – and then jettisoned.

“The Dan Daly cap looks too French, and the last people we want to associate our Marines with would be the French military,” wrote one commenter on the Marine Times Web site.

Ouch.  Personally, I think the current hats look better on both men and women, but it really should be a decision left to the men and women who earned the right to wear them.

Update (10/25): I’ve seen a few references today to a response by the Marine Corps commandant, which as far as I can tell is authentic, and states that the original hat-change story was in error:

1. The President in no way, shape or form directed the Marine Corps to change our uniform cover.

2. We are looking for a new cover for our female Marines for one overriding reason:  the former manufacturer went out of business.

3. The Marine Corps has zero intention of changing the male cover.

Which makes it odd that photos of a male Marine wearing the new hat were part of every reference to the proposed change, but perhaps that was an idea briefly considered and rejected at some point.  Hopefully we are safely past the great hat crisis.

Update (10/25): Not so fast, says the New York Postpointing out that not only are their photos of male Marines wearing the girly hat, but the voting form they obtained “clearly instructs the troops – both male and female – to choose one cap: either the new, slim, female-friendly ‘Dan Daly’ style, or the traditional cover that Marines have sported since 1922.”

Supporting documentation with the voting form says the Corps “is being ‘encouraged’ by DoD to standardize on a unisex/universal dress and service cap,” with the word “encouraged” bracketed by scare quotes in the original.  This was meant as a “dig” to say “this isn’t our idea, it’s the Administration’s,” according to a Marine source for the Post.  And at least one Marine spokesman plainly stated to the Post that a survey of hat choices was being undertaken.

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