Uniform Purses: Appropriate or Disrespectful?


I'll be the first to admit, maybe I'm old school in my thinking. There, it's out there. 

The other day I got an email from the wives email circuit at our base passing on a request from the other unit here. The email requested "unserviceable" uniforms to make purses with them to be sold at a fundraiser for the Marine Corps Ball. I thought I was going to spray my drink through my nose when I read that. Then I remembered that we were on our second computer monitor in a year and a half and I kept all liquid properly where it should be... in my mouth.

Now, I know they are asking for unserviceable uniforms but still, uniforms are uniforms and shouldn't be cut up for scraps to make purses. I mean, in the interest of full disclosure I really am not a fan of the uniform purse to begin with.  Add your husband's rank to it and I really can't stand them.

They weren't asking for old mech's coveralls, or one of my husband's flight suits that's so broken in it looks like its been dragged behind the airplane. They want to take uniforms that my husband has earned the right to wear, and cut them up.

Really folks, I am appalled. 

I get that after a while cammies aren't in such great shape, but uniforms mean something. Or they should. And that meaning carries on even after the unifroms are past their prime.

Do you know what the red stripe on a Marine's dress blue trousers stands for?  It's not just there to provide a contrast against the blue. It's a blood stripe. It signifies the courage and fight that the Marines who battled at Chapultepec during the Mexican War demonstrated (granted this is actually one of the least bloodiest battles for the Marines and the blood stripe has taken on more of a broader meaning of the blood shed by Marines in battle but still, there's a meaning).

And there is more, there happen to be seven belt loops on their pants to signify the seven seas, and while khaki and blue look great on my husband, they weren't arbitrarily chosen, rather they represent the Marine Corps land and naval service.

Flyboy, if you read this, I know your wondering how I know this stuff, a.) I have picked up a thing or two in the past 12 years with you and b.) if you'll recall, I spent all last week with your mother. 'Nuff said....

And by the way, I saw one of these purses yesterday at the commissary. It was made from the new digital cammies. How in the world you can have a pair of those that are already unserviceable is beyond me.  And it had name tapes on it.  Personally, name tapes are up there with rank on a purse.

Again, maybe I'm old school, but there is a difference to me in wearing a USMC sweatshirt or t-shirt and wearing the official US Marine digital cammies made into a purse with name tape (or is that known as a service tape? See I'm not an endless beacon of knowledge. Just certain obscure facts).

Uniform cloth should be reserved for those who graduated from a charming little place known as Parris Island or OCS if that's how you roll. Yes, as wives we wear things supporting our husbands' service. Yes, as wives we serve, too.  And yes, as wives we like to keep our husbands "close" to us.  I have quite a few USMC sweatshirts and t-shirts. The boys have some adorable ones, but I don't rate to wear a uniform.

Even as a purse. That right goes to those who have EARNED it. Who have fought for it. Those who are willing to die for it. This rant has gone on long enough. Congrats to those who made it to the end, point being.... in my opinion, clearly these folks have lost their damn minds if they think my husband is letting them slice and dice his uniforms. 

And if I wasn't so spineless, I'd write a respectable email pointing out that I feel uniforms, no matter their serviceability, shouldn't be cut up for scraps. But really, why start something?


Although I'm probably alone in my thinking on this one, and that's okay, it takes all sorts to make the world go round. This post was originally posted in 2009 on my personal blog, I went back and changed the wording on a few things, after all in two years my writing has evolved some, but not my feelings on these purses.  Those haven't changed one bit.  When I originally posted this I was bombarded with comments. Shoot, I still am, this post has lived on.

Let me just take a minute to add a disclaimer of sorts here. While I don't like these purses, that's just my opinion.  When I see them in the commissary or PX I don't throw packs of hot dogs at the women using them, or run screaming to rip the purse off their shoulder. I just go about my business.  Just like we all do when we see someone wearing something we don't always like.

This post really is just my opinion on where I stand on these things. I understand that a lot of women feel that their purses allow them to keep their husbands close to them. I'm going on nine years of marriage to my Marine, I certainly understand wanting to have a piece of him with you.  I just don't agree that that's what the uniform is meant for.

I love reading the comments about what you guys think, like I said it takes all sorts to make the world go round.  What one person loves, the other hates.  So by all means, let the opinions flow, but while your comments might be passionate, lets keep them polite. We can disagree and still be reasonable about it.

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