July 30, 2007: The U.S.
Marine Corps has decided that it is not good for the image of the Marine Corps
for marines to wear their combat ("utility") uniform off base. New regulations
nullify many exceptions to this rule that had been established by the
commanders of many marine bases. The new rule allows marines to wear their
cammies (camouflage) uniform while driving form their off-base home to and from
work. But they may not get out of their vehicle while wearing cammies unless it
is an emergency (an accident, or some matter of life-and-death importance.)
Marines may not get out of their car to gas up their vehicle while wearing cammies.
If they run out of gas, they may then exit their car to deal with that. Marines
are advised to pay attention to the fuel status of their private vehicles, and
to carry a set of civilian clothes, or a marine service uniform, in their
vehicle, in case they have to get out. The only exception is for marines
driving military vehicles for long distances. Marines may exit their vehicles
to use the toilet, but this must be done as quickly as possible.
On the bright side, tax
advisors believe this new rule will allow marines to deduct the cost of their work uniforms from
their taxes. In the past, the IRS had ruled
that the cost of utilities, fatigues and BDUs were not deductible as
they could be worn off base. The IRS reasoned that, if you could go into a store or restaurant,
your uniform was not limited to the workplace, and was therefore not
deductible. The high tech camies worn today are not cheap, and a marine can go
through several hundred dollars worth a year.