Morale: Uniformly Silly Rules


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.


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