FORT CARSON, Colo. — In an effort to improve morale within his unit, Army Col. David Hodne has ordered his soldiers to eschew wearing traditional Army uniforms laden with combat patches, jump wings, and other insignia. They will instead spend their time wearing Marine Corps uniforms.
“It’s a culture thing,” said Hodne. “Ours sucks.”
At first, Hodne was just going to do away with traditional Army patches as he didn’t want any of his new, inexperienced soldiers to think there were any standards to live up to or that they should strive to emulate their leaders in any way. Then it dawned on him there was no reason to embrace traditional Army culture at all.
“We want our troops to experience true esprit, pride, and a sense of belonging,” Hodne says. “Dressing up like Marines is perfect way to do just that.”
Reaction among troops has been varied. Many are convinced the Army is going to order them to buy brand new uniforms anyway and see little distinction between Marine digital cammies and the whatever the next iteration of Battle Dress Uniforms will be. Others are excited.
“I finally get to wear a uniform that might get me laid,” said Norbert Samson, who wasn’t sure if he was still a private first class or a lance corporal.
The colonel explained the only way to build a sense of esprit de corps and integrate newcomers is to diminish unit pride and experienced soldiers should find it refreshing not to wear a uniform that is treated like a charm bracelet.
“The really important thing is the distinctive OER bullet I’m getting out of all this,” said Hodne.