MARINE CORPS BASE QUANTICO, Va. –
Starting this month, pregnant Marine Corps officers in the National Capitol Region have access to maternity uniforms at no cost through a Defense Logistics Agency Maternity Uniform Pilot Program.
In October 2020, the National Defense Authorization Act recognized that maternity uniforms were costly for individuals. As a result, the Defense Logistics Agency, in concert with Service Secretaries, was tasked to develop a pilot program to issue pregnant service members maternity uniforms on a temporary basis at no cost to the individual.
Enlisted Marines receive a one-time issue for maternity uniforms whereas officers, by law, are responsible completely out-of-pocket, with an average cost of $500. This program allows the Corps to issue and recover particular maternity uniform items at no cost to the Marine.
The items included are Maternity Marine Corps Combat Utility Uniform, green tunic, short and long-sleeve service blouses, service maternity skirts and slacks and service tapes. Blue dress skirt and slacks will be available in fiscal year 2023.
When the Marine officer comes in, she can try them on quickly and say, ‘Hey, I need to go up or down,’ and work with the facility to determine the right sizes. Emily Madden, a U.S. Army’s Combat Capabilities Development Command Soldier Center clothing designer fully matrixed to MCSC
Considerations were made for clothing logistics and service standards when deciding which items to include in the Maternity Package said Emily Madden, a U.S. Army’s Combat Capabilities Development Command Soldier Center clothing designer fully matrixed to MCSC.
“The products we identified to go through this program were what would be the most beneficial to pregnant Marines,” Madden explained. “On the internal side of the Marine Corps, we considered servicing the items in regards to alterations, ribbons and cleaning. We also chose items that we were producing currently in the enlisted package for their 604 form.”
A NAVMC 604/604B form is used to approve and track individual clothing requests and keeps a centralized record of all issued uniforms. Using items already included on the form gave the program manager a good starting point for how many uniforms would be needed for the program. Unlike the enlisted package, however, the pilot program will have the uniforms come back to the issue facility. As Marines turn the uniforms in, they will be inspected just like any other piece of gear a Marine turns in.
“Much like many other items that go in and out of the hands of Marines, we have a serviceability standard,” Madden said. “It can be unserviceable in regards to stains, over wear and tear, the thinness of fabric, normal criteria that we use to evaluate other gear that goes in and out through the CSP [Consolidated Storage Program]. If it doesn't meet the specification when it's turned in, then it will become [retired]. And it still is at no cost to the Marine.”
Written authorization from a commanding officer is required to participate in this program. Female officers can make an appointment with Individual Issue Facility at Marine Corps Base Quantico for uniform issuance. A key point about the program is that it recognizes that pregnancy is not a one-size fits all experience, not just from person-to-person but also clothing piece-to-clothing piece. Madden explained that a great place for Marines to start with sizing is their pre-pregnancy clothing size. The issuance facility will help find the right fit for each uniform piece. This sizing data and feedback is valuable to the program office.
“Say I wear medium regular combat trouser in non-maternity, a same size will be a medium maternity combat trousers,” said Madden. “The issue facility will discuss this with them and pull that size set of all equivalent items together at once. When the Marine officer comes in, she can try them on quickly and say, ‘Hey, I need to go up or down,’ and work with the facility to determine the right sizes. Then we're gathering that feedback from the folks at the IIF and recording it.”
The program manager recognizes that pregnant bodies change often. If a Marine needs a different size component of the uniform throughout pregnancy, they can contact the office and coordinate swapping out for the correct size.
Currently, the program is targeting officers within the NCR and bases within 100 miles of MCB Quantico. However, if a Marine is attending a class within the region during the program period, they are also eligible. Madden said using the NCR as a test region is beneficial because with so many officers either stationed here or attending advanced service level schools, the test pool is broadened and has more wear of the service dress uniform.
“I think that's been one of our biggest complaints,” Madden explained. “Getting your service uniform ready for an event or for a meeting, whatever you need it for, and having it in the condition to wear. I think we will get a good read in this area.”
The only cost to Marines will be alterations, which will need to be within regulation. The program recommends tailor shops local to MCB Quantico or a tailor shop familiar with the TM 1020-15-1B Technical Manual for Uniform Fitting and Alteration.
The program requires participants to return uniforms within six months post-pregnancy. If a Marine receives new orders during her pregnancy, she can work with her local command’s mail facility to ship the package back. However, if a uniform piece does become unserviceable, there will be no cost to the Marine.
This pilot program runs through fiscal year 2025 with findings and conclusions being reported in Spring 2026. Madden encourages program participants and all Marines who use maternity uniforms to provide feedback on fit, longevity and availability to the program office.
To get more information on the Pilot Program for Issue of Maternity Uniform, visit https://www.marcorsyscom.marines.mil/maternity-uniform-pilot-program/
Editor's note: The original story can be viewed on the Marine Corps Systems Command website.