Army and Marines clash over MARPAT

| June 9, 2011

The Army Times reports that the Army wants to change their duty uniforms again, so they’re looking at different patterns, three of them, including the Marines’ MARPAT design. So suddenly, the Marines, who by the way, borrowed the Army’s BDUs a few decades back are getting territorial about it with their Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps Carlton Kent pissing everywhere to mark his “proprietary” design;

The Corps owns the rights to MARPAT and wants to retain it for its own use, Kent said late last year. Marine officials said they have no beef with anyone researching and testing MARPAT, but they want Marines distinguished from other service members on the battlefield.

“The main concern for the Marine Corps when it comes to other services testing our patterns is that they don’t exactly mimic them,” said Kent, who is scheduled to retire June 9. “The MARPAT design is proprietary, and it’s important those designs are reserved for Marines. We just need to make sure each of our designs is unique to each service.”

That’s just petty. The best thing about being out of the Army, is that I get to tell sergeant majors (it’s not “sergeants major” by the way – some uber-pseudo-intellectual dink at the Sergeant Major Academy made that shit up) what I really think of them. SGM Kent; the DoD is cutting your troops medical care while they’re on active duty and they’re going to screw you out of yours when you retire next month…don’t you think it’s important for you to pick your battles?

Arguing over fashion decisions doesn’t serve your Marines well. If you were really that concerned about the uniforms, you would have spoke up during the BDU era about Marines rolling up their sleeves backwards so they all had white arm bands on both arms.

To quote COB6 who sent us the link; ” So aside from a couple of sniper rifles and useless landing craft, you can turn in every piece of equipment in the Marine Corps that was designed, tested and fielded by the US Army! Thank you for your service douche-bag, now retire.”

Operator Dan adds: Funny, I never saw Sgt Major Kent speak out about Iraqi soldiers and police officers wearing MARPAT:

In fact according to the Marine Corps Times:

Marine officials don’t seem overly concerned about the situation. The MarPat design is patented by the Corps and has not been licensed for use by anyone except Marines, said Capt. Geraldine Carey, a spokeswoman for Marine Corps Systems Command.

I would be more concerned about shady IPs wearing MARPAT than soldiers. But then again, this is the same Sgt Major who spent much of the last year spending a great deal of time fretting over a silly Facebook group started by former Marines called F’N Boot.

Category: Military issues

Comments (132)

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  1. Spc D says:

    I apologize to all fellow bloggers on this site…my wife has been having this urge to prove herself ever since she read something from a feminists site…she has lost her military bearing ever since she was discharged from the military, however I would just like to apologize . I myself, am going into the Marine Corps from the Army and have questions on what awards I am allowed to wear from other services..I have been searching google and the only definite answer that Ive come across is that state awards are not allowed…but what of my Arcom, AAM, GWOT etc….

  2. Anonymous says:

    I’m not trying to revive this but this article does not give complete information. The Iraqi soldier you see is actually a interpreter attached to a USMC unit. The same picture and article to go with it was featured on

  3. Anonymous says:

    @Spc D most awards transfer happened to my brother in law when he went navy to Marines

  4. Jack says:

    Cedo talks about tangents? I have not seen such a prolific name caller on any forum not run by 13 year olds.

    At Manassas the Marines did run; so too did the army, what is your point? In Korea the Marines did have the advantage of dedicated air support, they still do, is that something we should regret?

    The Marines ran rings around the army in Korea. Army generals almost universally recognized this. Colonel Hackworth wrote about it. General Walker, MacArthur and others all freely admitted it. Their superiority was not just about their air wing either. Marines were better trained and better led.

    The army did poorly at the Chosin and that is freely admitted in contemporary accounts by US Army officers as well as UK officers.

    The army today is filled with fat soldiers. Many have a ghetto attitude that pisses off professional soldiers to no end. ASVAB waivers became the norm in the last ten years. No hate, no name calling, just facts but how any of this has to do with MARPAT is beyond me and yet here we are.

    The point, my counter point really, is that the Marines are better than the army but so what? With 200,000 men it should be. That does not mean there are not soldiers every bit as good as the best Marines and I have in fact served with quite a few great soldiers who could hold their own with any Marine. But most of them, including those who were not special ops or rangers, hated what they called “big army” with more passion than any marine ever could.

    But none of that has anything to do with MARPAT. I think the real issue (as to MARPAT) is why is it so hard for the army to design and stick with a uniform? Black berets, MARPAT??? Kent’s remarks, though dumb, are not near the level of stupid we see in the army’s consistent inability to get something so simple right. Kent did not pick the army’s uniform so do not blame that poor brain dead shit for any of this. In fact, this has been going on for a long time.

    The Marines have had a dress uniform that is little changed since the late 1850s. The ranks have pointed up since then (the army not until the early 1900s) and the emblem has been largely the same since 1868.

    By contrast the army had the great pink and greens of the 1940s only to eventually shit can them for some over badged puke green crap. Now it is blues. I do not think we have changed any uniform (save cammies and elimanting khaki, officer whites and the great coat) since 1957. To copy is fine but do so, make it army unique in some way and stick to it! Dont change the thing in ten years.

    Finally, I believe Marines were the first US troops to wear cammo patterns but I may be wrong.

    As to Kent, he is what most Marine Sergeant Majors are; idiots, useless tools with massive egos and very little time (if any) in an infantry battalion.

    @84. You seem ignorant of the fact taht it was Marine air that even allowed what was left of RCT 31 to escape and that the airstrike you mention was not errant but the result of nochoice as the RCT was about to be overwhelmed. Of the 2,500 soldiers of the RCT, slightly over 1,000 (not 385) made it back to US lines.

    As to Marines spreading tales about the army, that is only part of the story. I believe that the ADC for the 7th Inf Div said to the weaponless soldiers of RCT 31 “cant any of you do anything?”

    I know that Major General Frank Lowe (US ARMY) thought Marines were the finest fighting men in the world. Point is whatever telling of tales there were, many of those tales were told by soldiers of the time.

    You want to talk about Korea and what happened to RCT 31. Start and end with Almond. I think he was a soldier.

  5. Greg says:

    I think they borrowed it for testing the IR signature along with the navy AOR patts, they are going to choose a new “Family of Patterns” so i’ve herd.

  6. m16a4ish says:

    I’ve read about the chosin reservoir, and sad to say, the Army did suck back then. It was the marines who really saved the day for the UN.

  7. Ann says:

    SGT Female, you are an imbecile. Shut it before you embarrass yourself even more. I am more than a little skeptical of your claims, and if a walking advertisement for abortion such as yourself ever did actually serve then methinks a nice cushy nondeployable billet was involved. So do us all a favor and return to whatever rat hole you mistakenly crawled out of.

    What does the Korean War have to do with who gets to wear MARPAT? As a Marine I’m sympathetic to the Marine POV here to a point. Personally, I don’t want to see anyone who isn’t a Marine wearing MARPAT (the exception being Navy greensiders and SF personnel), but if it will save lives I think it should be allowed. The stipulation being that the Army raises their standards for acceptable wear, or that these uniforms are only worn by Army personnel with a combat arms MOS (I don’t think the uniform you wear would have any bearing on the safety of convoys, or even urban operations in general.)

    I respect the Army and anyone who chooses to serve, but I have seem some cringeworthy uniform standards. Particularly by the Guard and support services, and I would prefer to not see Marine uniforms worn in such a manner.

  8. Yat Yas 1833 says:

    Ann, Sister, let this go. A retard of this proportion isn’t worth your time or effort. We both wear the Eagle, Globe & Anchor. We both know what that means. She is so delusional as to not know reality from delusion. Semper Fi Sis! 🙂

  9. Ann says:

    But poking trolls in the eye with a stick is so much fun!

  10. Yat Yas 1833 says:

    @110, Ann you gotta come to Phoenix so we can have a beer or 10!? Or since I’m on a leave of absence, I’ll go where you are!? You, dear heart, are a Jarhead which makes me proud! 🙂

  11. DJ says:

    OK, as a former Marine, I can say I agree with my chain of command. What the SgtMaj is trying to say, is if all the other idiots in the rest of the military use OUR uniform, then when all you guys act like idiots and wear your uniform in public, people will think it is US, and I mean the Marine Corps. Or when you retreat and run from a gun fight, people will think they have done the impossible, defeat the Marines!! not gonna happen. You wanna look like us, and be mistaken as us, but want the easy way out and not earn it. Sorry for your choice, should have chosen the best and not for who pays more for collage.

  12. CM USMC says:

    Being a Marine who has completed two combat tours in Iraq, I can ONLY agree with the SgtMaj! The enemy is afraid of Marines…not Army doggies!! We have earned our reputation and you have earned yours. But, who could blame you for desiring to be mistaken for the world’s greatest fighting force…if only by appearance. The USMC however has NO desire to be mistaken for the mediocre “product” that the Army displays in combat. We have earned the fear and respect of our enemies, and I for one would like to see the distinguishable features of the Marine Corps uniforms remain ours and ours alone. Hey Army…EARN YOUR OWN!!

  13. Green Thumb says:


    You served 15 years and only made SGT (E-5)?

    That explains alot.

  14. Jerry Springer says:

    113, you need to switch to decaf. There is a difference between good natured ribbing between services and coming off as an arrogant prick. I find your “my branch is better than your branch” crap childish. If all Marines had the maturity level that you just showed I am glad that I joined a different branch of service. Thankfully they don’t.

  15. Hondo says:

    I suppose the Army could tell the USMC that it couldn’t use any Army-developed equipment because the Army had developed it. Like SINCGARs, the M249, the M16A2 (though some might call that a blessing), the M1911A1, most tactical vehicles, the AH-1G and UH-60, and most other battlefield systems (the Army developed the vast majority of the battlefield systems currently in use). IMO that would make as much sense as what the USMC is saying here. And IMO, it would be also be a perfectly stupid thing to do.

    Then again, I always was a fan of doing what we could to reduce friendly casualties in combat so long as that was consistent with accomplishing the mission. Apparently some aren’t.

  16. Green Thumb says:


    As a former AD Army, Ranger qualified Infantryman (11V), I have always respected the USMC Infantry. Actaully, it is one of the few componets with whom we saw “eye to eye”.

  17. Green Thumb says:


  18. Twist says:

    I would also like to add…

    You know, at a time when Iraq just happened to be more dangerous than Afghanistan. Get over yourself, your branch is no better than any of the others, same as mine is no better than any other.

  19. LOL! I read all of the above and almost lost my mind laughing. I only include my insight because it is perhaps what can dissuade the smarter of the temporary imbeciles. Before I fire my viewpoint on the issue, 5 pre-combat checks:
    1. I went to The Citadel Military College and got to operate closely with Air Force, Navy, Army and Marine Corps personnel.
    2. As a heavy machine gun infantry squad leader and 2 Iraq deployments + 1 Afghanistan, I earned rank and file credentials to ooze some knowledge which is controversial and radical, yet is the truth
    3. Don’t hate me personally. Analyze the premise of my statements. I love freedom, the American way of life and I sincerely want the whole human race to be free to choose their own path to awesomeness. We need to stop wasting our time bumping heads. Performance is everything, and I believe the heart of this uniform controversy is mostly based on reputation protection vs identity issue / cosmetic inspirational loss.
    Consider this:so billions were wasted by the US Army with this digital pattern confusion. Throughout time there were similar deals with Rangers’ berets being highjack for widespread use (they ended up with a Tan one), etc, etc. The USMC is naturally protective of its combat reputation, and the regular army annoyed the Rangers as well in their hypocritical commandeering of the beret to raise their morale.
    The sadness of all this is the waste of money. That will be America’s doom, like it happened with all great civilization that was on top and started to mess up and run out of money (e.g. Romans, lol). The Army is huge, the Marine Corps is small. The budget of the Army is awesome, the USMC = abysmal. Somehow, this misery ensures the USMC does not fuck up as often, because simply, they literally can’t afford it. They are a bunch of paranoid SOBs and their survival from getting eating like a lesser amoeba relies on combat effectiveness relevance. There are surely a bunch of assholes in there, but they are mostly very effective warriors. Such reputation plays a game in the enemy’s mind. I wish all of America’s combat forces were badass. The Rangers, Army SOF, Delta, The Navy Seals and US Air Force SOF are all stellar performers. They want to set themselves apart from the big group of fat bodies and non-hackers. The Army’s attempt to make everyone look the same is… peculiar. Shortly thereafter, combat hard chargers are gonna do something to look cooler and set themselves apart. Again. And this vicious cycle will continue. Can’t anyone see this? From Vietnam, to BDUs, to sleeves, black USMC boots, MARPAT, ACU, AAAAARGH! Get zillions of dollars to make everyone uniquely awesome and the best at their jobs.
    This waste of money and time is absurd and has to stop. Disagree? Say the Army gets its way and wears MARPAT right the f now, will the be rendered more invisible on the battlefield than I was??? Come on people. Sure, some crazy SOF operator could possibly be 13%* more stealthy (**enter real nerdy computer algorithm generated result here) while sneaking deep behind enemy lines and knife Mister Towelhead in the hairy asterisk in the name of taxpayer America. All the same, during most of my time in the deserts of my life, I worked at my sandy office wanting to be seen. As a diplomat of our country and a guest in another dude’s land, I tried to be fair, friendly but professional and with a hard to kill attitude. It is all about the mindset, and unfortunately the Marine Corps forte is their high standards as a combat entity. Marine Gen. Mattis said: “Be courteous, be professional, but have a plan to kill everyone you meet.” That is poetry, and we need more of that.
    This issue is not about uniforms. I wore a shitload of gear on top of my frog suit, which leaves only the helmet, sleeves and legs visible. I was a Heavy Machine Gunner, I was sweaty and had to baby wipe my ass so I could smell like a baby and morale would still be high. I wanted to look sharp and be so insane as the hand that bites an enemy punch, that the enemy POGs are to blame (People Other than Grunts). While all POGs (People Other than Grunts) are necessary and not all bad, their combat standards are pitiful. One look over the The general Army is really a pain in the ass. As design, the SOF operators, motivated infantry and hardcore-minded combat arms are our nations door kickers and life takers. They are a pain in the ass to face in combat. Think like a scientist It would be unpleasant if I wa USMC MARSOCThat is the servicemembers under , and some good infantry units and motivated Combat arms. There are huge POGs with budget funds, a low sense of self-esteem and try their best at increasing morale, identity and other “awesomefication” ideals. Yet it systematically seeks to “look” or usurp the reputation of better others. I wish I could execute all these imbeciles with no repercussion. They are thieves of someone else’s thunder. I am sure such money could soon be rescued by some bright Army General, many of whom I admire, and put into proper use to make our country’s military even better. Now let us leave every sector of our DoD unique, proficient, and like all Divas, obsessed with themselves in a friendly competition to do more for the advancement of human free civilization and our lasting success as a species. It is mental quagmires like this that boggle down our group like a bunch of maggots in a pasty excrement. Semper Freedom to all, and please excuse my French. – Sincere Grunt for Mankind

  20. BAR says:

    The US Marines Corps “OWN” the rights to the camouflage “Pattern” and under US Patent Laws can allow others to “Wear” the uniform at their discretion.
    It’s the same as a NFL team giving the rights to a company like McDonald’s to use in it’s advertising.
    If your uniform is as shitty as the ARMY (Aren’t Ready for Marines Yet)…
    All I can say is, it SUCKs to be you.
    Gung Ho

  21. BAR says:

    PS: I “EFFIN” hate seeing the rag-heads in my UNIFORM !!!
    I’d let any US Soldier wear it before I gave it to them !!!
    HOOAH to my brothers in arms !!!

  22. m16a4ish says:

    Though the Marines ( especially their sergeant major ) went a little bit overboard over Marpat, they do have a point, legally speaking. Having patented the design, they do have the rights to it.
    As for the whole ” it’s the taxpayers money anyway ” thing, let us not forget that while it is the US taxpayers who shoulder the expenses, the Marines ( and the Amy ) repay every single damned cent of it with their service and , sometimes, their lives.

  23. m16a4ish says:

    All this hooplah thrown against the Corps is nothing more than petty jealousy, really. The Army is just pissed because the Marines are more popular than them, whether deserved or not.
    In my opinion ( I am not an American, so I know I’m being objective ), all these accusations about the Marine PR machine being responsible for the current pop status of the Corp are plain dumb and ignorant, as if implying that ALL people who see the Marines as on another level than the doggies are stupid and naive. Give me a break.

  24. Hondo says:

    m16a4ish: obviously you don’t know much about US law, amigo – but since you’ve admitted you’re not an American, that stands to reason.

    Patents owned by any element or agency of the US Government are the property of the US Government – not that element or agency. See Executive Order 10096, 23 Jan 1950. In particular, the MARPAT patent is owned by the US Government, not the Department of the Navy or USMC. The Department of the Navy is merely the patent holder, and administers that patent on behalf of the US Government. They are not the owner.

    The only reason that MARPAT isn’t used DoD-wide is inter-service politics inside the 5-sided asylum, pure and simple.

  25. m16a4ish says:

    Thanks for the info, bro. Just wanna ask why the Corps was allowed to patent it as their own when it was against the law for an arm of the US government to do so?
    This whole brouhaha wouldn’t have happened in the first place if the powers that be flatly told the USMC they couldn’t own the rights to Marpat. Either way, doggies made a 5 Billion boo-boo, and then clutched at straws ( or Marpat ) to try and save face. What’s worse, they are now choosing what they discarded bcoz of pixel envy : MultiCam.
    So typical of the US Army.

  26. Jay1776 says:

    Marines share your camouflage if it is the most effective because you are concerned for the well being of your fellow American servicemen and the American taxpayer.
    Army, since you made a mistake by not being on board with the joint project in the beginning then the you can reimburse he Marine Corps for them shouldering the R&D costs.

    This way the a payer saves money, all the services get the most effective camo, and the Marines get some extra funding.

    We are all on the same side……the American side…..don’t we have enough trouble with the America haters that seem to be all over the place these days?

  27. PintoNag says:

    This thread just earned its keep. Post #120 just made my day, by golly! 🙂

  28. semper fi says:

    POINT HERE IS… JARHEADS EARN WHATEVER PATTERN THEY WANT. US ARMY( Undoubtedly Still Aren’t Really Marines Yet) backwards Yes My Retarded Ass Signed Up need to earn their own design.

  29. semper fi says:

    Another thing giving our design away is like giving our rifle away. It’s our life our earned stripes. Our disguise from the enemy our distinguished difference. Army has their own many patterns. Greedy is what you are. We shine because we blaze. You keep your head down & we keep our heads up. Hoorah!!

  30. Jay says:

    The Marines did not invent MARPAT
    The US Army was the first to use a pixelated camo almost exactly like MARPAT in the 1970’s that they experimented with on helicopters and tanks. This US Army experimental camo was called “Duel Texture” camo. The even investigated applying to clothing but the consensus among troops was that they didn’t like it. In the 1990’s the Canadians “borrowed” the concept and then after 2000 the US Marines “borrowed” it.

  31. Jay says:

    “Duel Texture” camo…….Google it.