PHILADELPHIA, Nov. 22, 2018 —
Defense Logistics Agency Troop Support Clothing and Textiles team members witnessed the fruits of their labor as Marines debuted the new female dress uniform during a recruit graduation ceremony at the Marine Corp Recruit Depot Parris Island, South Carolina Nov. 16.
“It was great seeing all of my team members’ hard work come to life,” Cynthia Merceron, supervisor of C&T’s Marine Corps recruit depots team said. “The Marines looked wonderful, and knowing we helped make that happen speaks volumes to the dedication and pride the whole C&T family takes in supporting the warfighter.”
C&T began planning for the new coats in 2016 with the Marines’ Program Manager Infantry Combat Equipment office. By December 2017, Merceron and her team received the official supply request package, and a contract was awarded in April, nearly four months quicker than normal.
“The award process was expedited to ensure that all of the sizes would be available at the recruit center for the first fitting in August,” said Ashley Liddle, supervisor of C&T’s dress uniform team.
The contracted vendor delivered more than 3,000 coats by the end of August to ensure MCRD Parris Island had enough stock on hand to issue during the first quarter of fiscal year 2019. Approximately 129 recruits were fitted and tailored for the new coat prior to the graduation, and ultimately wore them at the ceremony.
“I was very impressed with how quickly the [C&T] contracting team went from the Marine Corps saying they wanted [the coats] to the award going to the manufacturer, to getting them on our shelves and ready for issue,” said Maj. Mark Harris, MCRD Parris Island Depot Clothing, Supply and Services.
Female graduates, drill instructors, band members and other staff all debuted the updated dress coat, which is similar to the male version with a high collar, white belt and gold waist plate. Previously the women’s version featured an open collar coat with a white shirt underneath.
“It symbolizes that we are equal,” said Marine Private 1st Class Kaitlyn Reynolds, a graduate of the November Company, 4th Recruit Training Battalion. “There’s no such thing as a ‘female’ Marine, it’s just a Marine. And now we all have the same uniform.”
C&T will continue to monitor quality and stock levels of the new coats to ensure MCRD Parris Island is prepared for every company that comes through the issue line, Merceron said.
“Everyone in C&T takes great pride in the work they do in supporting the warfighter and seeing their own handy work in action is what it is all about,” Merceron said. “Sometimes we barely have time to see what all the hard work means but these type of moments remind us of the importance of what we do.”