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U.S. Marines Combat Utility Uniforms 2003, Full-Color Plate (2003), by John M. Carrillo

A 2003 drawing showcasing the Marine Corps Combat Utility Uniform in desert and woodland-camouflaged variants.


A U.S. Marine showcasing the MCCUU in woodland MARPAT in 2001.

The Marine Corps Combat Utility Uniform (MCCUU) is the current battledress uniform of the United States Marine Corps. It is also worn by Navy personnel (mostly corpsmen and chaplains) assigned to Marine Corps units (Fleet Marine Force). It replaced the Battle Dress Uniform, which the Marine Corps had shared with the Navy, Army and Air Force. However, both the MCCUU, and its distinctive camouflage pattern, MARPAT, are exclusive to the Marine Corps, which holds the patents to their design,[1] and are not available to the civilian market. MARPAT is available in two color schemes, woodland and desert. The uniforms are manufactured by Propper International Inc., American Apparel, E.A. Industries, American Power Source Inc., and Columbia Sewing Company. The MCCUU should not be confused with the similar looking FROG uniform.

The Army and Air Force then followed the USMC's lead, spending ten times as much in their own development efforts for uniforms that proved to be liabilities in combat.[2]


MARPAT MCCUU Prototypes Removable Sleeves

Two U.S. Marines test out early predecessors to the MCCUU in 2001. The two prototypes feature removable sleeves, a feature that was later abandoned on the finished production version.

Field testing of the MCCUU began in 2001 and was officially announced in June 2001.[3] Early prototypes had featured removeable sleeves, however, that design feature was later abandoned.[4] The patent for the MARPAT pattern was filed on June 19, 2001,[5] whereas the patent for the MCCUU uniform was filed on November 7, 2001.[6] The uniform made its official debut at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina on January 17, 2002,[7][8] and the changeover was completed on October 1, 2004, a year ahead of the original deadline date set in 2001, of October 1, 2005.[9][10][11]

Design featuresEdit

The MCCUU is intended for wear in the field or for working parties, but has become the typical working uniform for all deployed and most garrison U.S. Marines and U.S. Navy sailors.[12] The variety worn depends on the environment and season: Deployed Marines wear whichever color is more appropriate to the climate and terrain, Marines in garrison wear the woodland MCCUU with in winter months, and the desert MCCUU in summer months. Until recently, the sleeves of the blouse were normally worn rolled up while in garrison during summer months. However, the Uniform Board recently announced that as of October 24, 2011, this will no longer be allowed.

Unlike the previous BDU, the MCCUU was designed to be used with body armor, which previously restricted access to front pockets. To further distinguish the uniform, upon close examination, the Eagle, Globe, and Anchor can be found within the pattern. Its use as a combat uniform has led to some strict regulations for wear in garrison: the MCCUU may not be worn off base, although it may be worn when commuting to and from duty in a private vehicle. Dismounting for incidental stops en route off of a military installation is no longer permissible excepting legitimate emergencies only.


  • Two slanting chest pockets with velcro closure
  • Two shoulder sleeve pockets with button closure
  • Reinforced elbows
  • Internal pockets for elbow pads
  • Adjustable cuffs
  • Eagle, Globe, and Anchor embroidered on the left chest pocket


  • Two front slash style pockets
  • Two rear pockets with button closure
  • Two thigh level bellows cargo pockets with elastic closure
  • Button fly
  • Reinforced knees and seat
  • Partially elastic waistband
  • Internal pockets for kneepads

The trousers are worn bloused over the tops of the boots with the use of elastic bands (nicknamed "boot bands") or metal springs.


on the utility uniform a 8 point cover is worn

  • In the field, the boonie (floppy) cover is worn in non-combat environments.
  • The Marine Corps Lightweight Helmet and MICH is worn in combat and training with a reversible MARPAT cover
  • The Marine Corps Eagle, Globe, and Anchor is embroidered on both the boonie and utility covers.[13]


An olive green t-shirt, or skivvie shirt, without a logo is worn underneath the blouse.[14] Due to the intense heat in Iraq, moisture wicking t-shirts, such as those produced by Under Armour became very popular. However, due to concerns that the shirts would melt to the skin in the event of a fire or explosion, they were banned.[15] However, the Marine Corps has worked with Danskin to develop their own moisture wicking shirts under the "Elite Issue" line,[16] ultimately creating and issuing the Flame Resistant Organizational Gear to troops likely to be exposed to combat.


The MCCUU is worn with a webbed rigger's belt earned through the Marine Corps Martial Arts Program. The belts are tan, grey, green, brown, or up to six degrees of black, depending on the Marine's proficiency. Uniform regulations still authorize a web belt for wear for Marines that have not qualified in MCMAP; however, the Commandant of the Marine Corps directed in 2008 that all Marines will qualify. This directive rendered the wear of the item on the MCCUU to new recruits in basic training or to those who have lost their MCMAP belt due to not being proficient in the MCMAP.[17]


The Marine Corps now requires tan rough-out combat boots, either hot weather or temperate weather versions. Commercial versions of this boot are authorized without limitation other than they must be at least 8 inches in height and bear the Eagle, Globe, and Anchor on the outer heel of each boot. Stains and damage to the boot make them unservicable for wear, as well as a heel with excessive wear.


Rank insignia is pinned onto the collar:

  • Enlisted Marines wear black insignia.
  • Officers wear polished insignia in garrison, subdued (flat black and brown to replace silver and gold, respectively) or none in the field.

Most badges and breast insignia are authorized for wear on the utility uniform, shined or subdued as appropriate. Landing Support Marines also wear the Red Patch insignia.

MARPAT patternsEdit


See alsoEdit


  1. US 6805957  "Camouflage U.S. Marine corps utility uniform: pattern, fabric, and design."
  2. "GAO: U.S. Military Camouflage Duplication Has Waisted Billions."
  3. Oliva, Mark; Childs, Jan Wesner (Tuesday, July 3, 2001). "Officials went to the source to ensure new Marine uniform pleased troops". Stars and Stripes. Retrieved July 25, 2001. 
  4. Starr, Barbara (June 20, 2001). "From Cammies to Pixies?: Marines Dump Old Wrinkled Duds for Permanent Press and Pixel Patterns". ABC News. ABC News Internet Ventures. Retrieved June 25, 2001. 
  5. "Camouflage pattern for sheet material and uniforms US D491372 S1". Retrieved September 24, 2013. 
  6. "Camouflage U.S. Marine corps utility uniform: pattern, fabric, and design US 6805957 B1". Retrieved September 24, 2013. 
  7. United States Marine Corps. "U.S. Marines Combat Utility Uniforms 2003". United States Department of the Navy. United States Department of Defense. Retrieved April 9, 2008. "The woodland pattern combat utility uniform was first made available to selected commands on 17 January 2002." 
  8. "New uniform debuts today". Around the Fleet. Marine Corps Base Quantico, Virginia. January 17, 2002. Retrieved September 19, 2013. 
  9. Jontz, Sandra (Saturday, February 24, 2001). "Marines' followed Canadians' example in use of digitally-designed 'cammies'". Stars and Stripes. Retrieved June 6, 2002. 
  10. Marine Corps Combat Utility Uniform
  11. Commandant of the United States Marine Corps (September 22, 2004). "MARADMIN 412/04: MANDATORY POSSESSION DATES FOR THE MARINE CORPS COMBAT UTILITY UNIFORMS (MCCUU) AND MARINE CORPS COMBAT BOOTS (MCCB)". United States Marine Corps. Retrieved September 29, 2004. 
  12. ALMAR 035/07 directing wear of the MCCUU
  13. United States Marine Corps
  14. Marine Corps Uniform Board
  15. Defense Tech: Marines Ban Under Armour
  16. Elite Issue – The Skivvie Shirt Evolved
  17. ALMAR 034/07 directing all Marines to earn at least a tan belt by CY 2008

External linksEdit

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